Here at RUST Magazine our history with Wooden Hez started about a year and a half ago when a chance encounter jumbled us together for a last-minute session and shoot at Jay Lou’s Restaurant in Gainesville, Georgia. Guitarist Dave Pitone, Bassist Alan Lee and drummer Tim Stevens showed up at 7 in the morning and we spent a few hours together having breakfast and rocking a tiny bacon-and-eggs diner. Jay Lou’s is a vintage industrial district style eatery that hasn’t changed in 50 years, and though the guys had been up driving all night, they mustered their groove and we recorded several excellent renditions of songs as baffled farmers and truck drivers walked in on the shoot. The rural Georgia crowd was not quite ready for Wooden Hez’s Philadelphia style heavy but we got to know them, they got to know us and we had a great shoot.
After the audio session we went out back and lit a stack of prop money on fire and we got some iconic shots of Timmy lighting up a smoke with the stack. It looked so realistic that several people actually messaged the band later in complete outrage at the waste. Really, it was a thing. But the fun was short lived as Timmy passed away in his sleep several months later from natural causes. For us the lesson was that, as documentarians, what we do at RUST Magazine can sometimes be the one and only record of bands like Wooden Hez and people like Timmy and that we needed to take our responsibilities much more seriously. That day perhaps had the single greatest effect on what direction RUST would take for the future.
Perhaps Dave and Alan felt a similar way as their new album Spew is a thorough and complete realization of the idea of what Wooden Hez is capable of being. Joined by E. Joseph Neenan on lead guitar and keyboards, and Ed Galang on drums, Spew is a strikingly excellent collection of nightmares and fever dreams, slowed down and torturously extended, exposing rich details and powerful emotions. This album is a classic. It’s a dark punk masterpiece. It’s music that sinks you deeper and deeper into a visionary paralysis. For us it’s not just good, it’s great and knowing what Dave and Allen have had to go through to make it happen, we appreciate it even more.
Wooden Hez has craftfully developed a niche territory with their sound unlike any other. They take a Low-esque vibe and electrify it with a focus on languid and tormentuous guitar phrasing. It’s captivating. There are half a dozen absolutely legendary tracks on this album with Sundown, Punk Rock Jack and Old Same Old topping our favorites. This is music made by true artists who will never surrender their originality. They will make the music they want the way they want no matter what.
Wooden Hez defies description. They are thoroughly original, and with Spew they have made some of the best, most fascinating audio art ever recorded anywhere. Spew is an amazing, intricate and intense. You can stream it for free at www.woodenhez.com/spew.htm and it’s available on Bandcamp for $5. Just get it.