Toadies - Rubberneck [Reissue] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Rubberneck [Reissue] (2014)


August 1994: Ft. Worth, Texas four-piece known as the Toadies drop Rubberneck, their seminal LP that–though not marketed as a concept album–narrates like the sinister soliloquy of a Southern sermonizer, awash with sin but assured of salvation.

April 1995: Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon, in conjunction with DC Vertigo Comics drop their iconic Preacher, the warped story of a Texas minister possessed by an angel-demon union on the hunt for morality and a God who has abandoned heaven.


Probably...but they invoke remarkably similar imagery. Either way, the creepy, crawling canticles of Rubberneck made their mark on music and the mainstream, as the hit single Possum Kingdom reached number four on Billboard's modern rock charts, bolstered by an equally unnerving video whose raw footage was mistaken for a real-life snuff film when investigated by Dallas police. Stories of kidnap ("Tyler"), murder-romance ("Possum Kingdom") and apostasy ("Backslider") interlace with requests for eternal salvation as "Possum Kingdom" begs "Help me Jesus", "Mister Love" asks "Are you gonna save me? Can you save me?" and "I Come from the Water" cries "I pray to live again."

Combining elements of hard, Southwest rock'n'roll, grunge, punk and fuzzed-out swamp boogie Rubberneck is both a product of its environment and the twisted creativity of its creators. Alongside the initial 11 songs of its 1994 release, the 2014 re-release adds a handful of new studio cuts and live takes of its two biggest songs, "Tyler" and "Possum Kingdom," the latter of which chronicles its first time ever being played live. The additional studio tracks were recorded in the same sessions and thus follow the same aesthetic but don't sound totally ripe as "Run in With Dad" tromps along before coming to an abrupt end, "Stop It" lacks a developed narrative, and "Rockfish" is devoid of vocals and lyrics altogether. They don't add much to an already acclaimed album, but they do help make it more complete.

Though the Toadies continued on with the similarly-themed (and equally evocative) follow-up Hell Below, Stars Above, nothing quite like Rubberneck has come along since. Sure, it's concurrently captivating and unsettling and I wouldn't recommend this record to the overimaginitive, but don't be afraid. I didn't mean to scare you. So help me Jesus.