this week in texas twang #8: Fear Snakeface
If the Johnny Cash Trio played punk, it would be Fear Snakeface, bottled and brewed into heartache and the gospel of tortured-driven blues.
Maybe it’s the simple drums, the hand raised, slamming down with an unstoppable driving beat sparred on by Phillip Luna or Antonio Ronconi decked out in cowboy boots riding a steady stream of fender basslines complimented by the raspy voice of Sid St. Onge that make them the quintessential punk ballad trio.
They’ve got the storytelling down. Then there’s the wacky jingle, but instead of a pieced together Caddy, it’s all about corn. But, for just one moment, forget the hi-jinx punk gimmicks and floor wailing that goes on at live shows because there’s a softer side always waiting to come through.
While St. Onge would claim Elliott Smith’s aching self-loathing melodies as his own rite of musical passage into songwriting, he gravitates toward the sunnier side of life’s tormented offerings.
There’s not a lot of hidden meaning, just the interior of one’s own personal love-capades set to tense musical verse and swashbuckling ride-a-longs. He’s wondering what’s taking you so long just like the rest of us.
It’s the perfect soundtrack for breakups, getting drunk, throwing neurotic fits and not hurting anybody but yourself, foot still tapping along of course.
Herein lies the genius of songs sung into the wee hours of the morning long after the band has left the stage.