Elvis Hitler

  • Elvis Hitler
  • Disgraceland (Wanghead) 1987  (Restless) 1988 
  • Hellbilly (Restless) 1989 
  • Supersadomasochisticexpialidocious (Restless) 1992 
  • Splatter
  • ... From Hell to Eternity (Sector 2) 1994 

Singer/guitarist Jim Leedy is the fiery Michigan rocker who calls himself Elvis Hitler; joined by the Defever brothers — guitarist John and bassist Warren, whose primary musical enterprise is His Name Is Alive — and a drummer, he roars through familiar-sounding originals that inbreed the Cramps, Mojo Nixon and the Stray Cats. Disgraceland has such convincingly obvious anthems to delinquency as “Hot Rod to Hell” and “Live Fast, Die Young,” a few numbers about another feller named Elvis and “Green Haze (Pt. I & II),” a bit of inspired dementia in which EH sings the Green Acres theme over the music of Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze.”

Hellbilly is louder and harder, a less stylized but still exciting dish of overamped guitars, raw vocals and drummer Damian Lang’s swampy backbeat. Besides covering “Ballad of the Green Berets” and borrowing “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky” (for “Showdown”), little Elvis pokes fun at glam-rockers (“Hang ‘Em High”), car-nuts (“Gear Jammin’ Hero” and “Crush, Kill, Destroy”), saving his least judgmental sentiments for vampires and other horror-movie monsters.

Supersadomasochisticexpialidocious (a title sure to be found atrocious) retools the band to play plain hard rhythm-guitar rock somewhere between ’70s lunkpunk and Brownsville Station, with a passing stylistic nod to Social Distortion. The lone ‘billy bop — “Shove That Sax” (“up your ass”) — and the hep instrumental “Dickweed” sound stranded on the wrong album. Otherwise, lurid lyrics like “Bury the Hatchet” (“right in your skull”), “Shotgun Shell,” “Bloody Bride” and “Ghouls” are entirely too obvious, as is the double bludgeoning of bubblegum standard “Yummy Yummy Yummy.” The only à la carte entree on this boring blue plate menu is a surprising (not good, just surprising) cover of Danielle Dax’s “Cathouse.”

Concocting a bizarre cover story, Elvis Hitler was finally laid to rest, freeing Leedy, John Defever and drummer Todd Glass to make a pit spot and re-emerge as Splatter. Pumping out a sizzling and massive rock sound, From Hell to Eternity suffers a little from Leedy’s punny lyrical conceits (“If you were me / You’d be the way I am”) but hits the highway in a frenzy of white line fever, cranking through souped-up twangin’ ravers like “I’m Dropping Out,” “Truck Driver,” “21st Century” and “Hard Rockin’ Daddy” with nary a backward glance.

[Ira Robbins]

See also: His Name Is Alive