Black Oak Arkansas tribute Mutant of the Monster 

Guest artists assembled for Mutants of the Monster, a tribute to Memphis wildman Jim Dandy and his band Black Oak Arkansas, are a heady mix of alt-country, Southern sleaze, and West Coast punk. The 17-track recording finds a clutch of Memphis performers and longtime members of BOA playing with and appearing alongside legacy outlaw Shooter Jennings, J.D. Pinkus from the Butthole Surfers, Greg Ginn from Black Flag, Jello Biafra from Dead Kennedys, Eddie Spaghetti from the Supersuckers, and Blaine Cartwright and Ruyter Suys from Nashville Pussy.

How did project organizer Joey Killingsworth, who plays locally in bands like Joecephus & the George Jonestown Massacre and Super Witch, pull together such an eclectic roster? "I worked under the premise that the answer's always 'no' if you don't ask," Killingsworth says. So he asked, and more often than not the answer was, "yes."

click to enlarge Tribute album assembles a roll call of musical legends.
  • Tribute album assembles a roll call of musical legends.

"Shooter was promoting it," says Killingsworth, giving organizational credit to project partner Dik LeDoux. "I really wanted to work with Greg Ginn, and he said yes. Then the more folks we asked, the easier it became to get people on board."

BOA only had one minor hit — a cover of LaVern Baker's "Jim Dandy." But the band sold out arenas, with groups like Black Sabbath and ELP in the opening slot. They are best known for the onstage washboard-humping antics of frontman Jim Dandy, who was famously a role model for Van Halen's David Lee Roth, but Killingsworth saw Mutants of the Monster as an opportunity to also pay tribute to the group's primary guitar slinger, Ricky Reynolds, and its ever-evolving roster of hotshot pickers.

"Jim's the face of the operation and a great front man, but those guitar players were on a whole other level," Killingsworth says.

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