If you can imagine it, there once existed a bizarre cross between American punk's Legendary Stardust Cowboy, the author of the histrionic "Paralyzed," and rockabilly's the Phantom, who won our hearts with the mysterious "Love Me."
His name was the Dootz, and he singlehandedly created a stylistic blend that can only be described as mutant American primitivism. This radical sound, born in the early '80s, was downright psychotic to the point of being transcendental. It was the creation of one David Frey Johns, who had spent most of his life singing to records in his room and wailing in friends' showers, hoping one day to be heard in a social context.
As a child David Johns was called "Duke" by his father, a nickname that eventually evolved into "Dootz." "My dad and I used to sing together when we went to church," the Dootz once told me, "but we had our own version of 'Onward Christian Soldiers.' Everybody else was singing it the right way.
Johns' earliest musical influences were typical--Elvis, the Beatles, Buddy Holly--but he was especially devoted to James Brown and Jackie Wilson, two performers who possessed an intense emotional style both on record and in performance. At times, the future Dootz even considered himself more of a soul singer because he could reach deep down and pour himself inside out with feelings from real-life experience.
Let It Out (Verve/Forecast FTS-3036)
This is one of the great American garage albums that just don’t give a hoot. A Memphis combo, the Hombres opted for the lighter side of garage-punk. The Hombres’ album cover (which is their only album cover since no record label was brave enough to release another record by them) is an obvious reference to the Trashmen’s Surfin’ Bird LP, released in ’64, which shows the infamous surf band from Minneapolis clustered around a garbage truck.
Ironically, the Hombres had originally intended to be a surf band. In 1967, they traveled through Houston posing as a pop version of a West Coast surf group and somehow got tangled up with Texas producer Huey Meaux. In ’65, Meaux had already transformed a band of San Antonio punksters into an ersatz British Invasion act, the Sir Douglas Quintet (featuring a very young Doug Sahm). And so, with the Hombres, Meaux saw an opportunity for reshaping the rebellion of a garage band into a comedic sensibility.