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deadhorse Cock Their Latest Loaded Gun

deadhorse Cock Their Latest Loaded Gun
Photos courtesy of deadhorse

Fittingly enough for a date on the calendar mostly set aside for loud, colorful explosions, today marks the release of the first new deadhorse music to be unleashed in 18 years or so. Following through on a threat they made nearly two years ago, the Houston thrash idols have delivered a new EP, Loaded Gun, that arrives fully cocked and ready to go off.

Longtime (and oftentimes long-suffering) fans will be pleased to know that the four new tracks on this record are a conscious return to the band's skate-tastic Horsecore era. Short, straightforward and speedy, the fresh material is characterized by the same head-banging riffs and whiplash-inducing tempo changes that kept hair flying and pits circling back in the day.

Vocalist Mike Argo, the new guy who seems to be winning over a few more skeptical old-timers with each gig, acquits himself very nicely on his first recording with the group, showcasing a throaty yowl with just a touch a twang that one requires from a deadhorse song. While there ain't no going back to 1989, Loaded Gun sounds undeniably like deadhorse. After nearly two decades of nothing, that's more than good enough for a lot of folks.

Of course, it wouldn't quite be deadhorse if everything had gone as planned. To hear the group's bassist/manager Allen "Alpo" Price tell it, this EP was never supposed to have been released at all.

deadhorse Cock Their Latest Loaded Gun

"Last spring, we played a show in Austin and a show in San Antonio, and we went in the studio between those two shows and laid down the songs for Loaded Gun: four new ones," Alpo says. "It originally was going to be a demo that we may have shopped to potential labels, but as good as it came out and as long as it's been since we had new songs out, we decided we need to get this to the fans and think about labels later.

"Because honestly, we're not pursuing labels that much as this point," he added with a laugh.

Never known for writing particularly quickly or efficiently, deadhorse didn't have the time to let the new songs marinate like they did in the old days. No longer young dudes getting together several times a week to hang out and bash away, the horsemen now must balance the demands of the band against those of their family and careers. When putting the EP together, every minute counted.

"The songs from Loaded Gun were basically put together in about five practices that we had solely for writing, and those were only one-day practices where we had four or five hours to coordinate the music," Alpo says. "So we kind of had to come in with our guns cocked, with a gameplan. Scott [guitarist Sevall] would bring in parts, and then I would bring in parts. We'd kind of review what we had and put a deadhorse spin on it. It's never anything that concrete until we throw it all together in a blender and let it smooth out until it turns into a song."

Planning ahead might just be growing on these guys. Price says that the new EP is intended as a prelude to a bigger, badder release tentatively scheduled for release sometime around New Year's.

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deadhorse Cock Their Latest Loaded Gun

"We probably have another four songs almost complete," he says. "They're pretty rough, but they're nearly there. We're really trying to come up with another six or seven songs to put out another record. We really were pushing to get it out by New Year's, but I've learned to wait for perfection instead of push for product."

After so many years of silence, possible two deadhorse releases in a single calendar year? It's almost unbelievable. What the hell has gotten into these guys that they're attempting a full-on comeback in the 21st century?

"A lot of it is the fans," Alpo says. "But a majority of it really is, every show that we play, we all get closer and closer like brothers. We're enjoying ourselves, where a lot of bands probably are stressed, trying to make it. It'd be nice to get bigger and bigger and bigger, sure. But for us, it's not going to take away from our fun."

It doesn't hurt that deadhorse is making better money playing shows now than they did back in the day, Price adds, putting his manager cap on. Now older and wiser, deadhorse is a lot better at handling business than they once were. Fans will have their first shot at hearing the new stuff live on October 18 at Grindfest at Acadia Bar and Grill.

No doubt there are still some old-timers who'd have preferred the 'horse to hang it up after the departure of guitarist/vocalist Mike Haaga in '94. But Alpo says the band are enjoying themselves far too much to give a shit.

"We've proved to ourselves that we can make good music again," he says. "That was a big matzo ball out there: whether or not we could put out music that people would enjoy like the old stuff. I hope to think, because of the fans' reaction, that we've accomplished it. And personally, I think these songs are fun as hell to play."

Loaded Gun is available at many local record stores, including Cactus Music, and at the band's Web site, www.horsecore.net.

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