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Reviews

Bill Hicks Flying Saucer Tour / Love Laughter & Truth

By Frank Meyer, Contributing Editor
Friday, November 22, 2002 @ 10:55 AM


(Rykodisc)

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"Think of me as Chomsky with dick jokes." – Bill Hicks

Bill Hicks died of Pancreatic cancer in 1994 at age 32 and, as proven and documented by these two discs, as well as his previous four releases, the world lost one it's best comedians and social commentators. Like Lenny Bruce before him and George Carlin in his prime, Hicks manages to make you laugh, make you think, make you angry and make you question your beliefs all in one set, sometimes within one joke. In fact, the word joke isn't really even applicable here, what he tells are more like elaborate conspiracy theories designed to make the audience aware that they are living a lie, that the media is conspiring against them and that all governments are evil. And, oh yeah, to make you laugh.

But laugh you will, man, 'cause his material is absolutely genius. He has a Zappa-like ability to skewer political figures and celebrities that is both cold and to the point, yet goofy and laughable at the same time. When he takes about Jesse Helms jerking off and pissing on Ronald Regan to achieve orgasm and then emitting a white gooey bubble from his penis in which a maggot emits, only to dash off and run for office, it's both gross and side-splittingly hilarious. When he makes observations about Christians -- "A lot of Christians wear crosses around their necks. Do you think when Jesus comes back he ever wants to see a fuckin' cross? It's kind of like going up to Jackie Onassis with a rifle pendant on." -- not only does he take the piss right out of 'em but he makes a damn good case at how ridiculous organized religion as a whole is in the process. Whether he's going off on a rant or just riffing, he weaves a powerful tale. He was that good...

Up until now the only way to get your Hicks fix has been through his four official albums -- the two released before he died, Relentless and Dangerous, and the two posthumous releases he worked on once he knew he was on his way out, Arizona Bay and Rant In E Minor. All of them are absolutely brilliant and I could not recommend them more enthusiastically. There's also a greatest hits collection called Philosophy that makes for a good introduction to the uninitiated. However, Flying Saucer Tour and Love Laughter & Truth are beasts of an entirely different nature and a real treat for hungry fans looking for more routines by this comedy maverick.

Love Laughter & Truth is a compilation of previously unreleased bits. Some are variations on classic Hicks routines such as "Children On Airplanes," "Drunk Driving" and some of his smoking bits ("Sir, how many packs do you go through a day? Two? Pussy. Dude, I go through three lighters a day!"), but most are all completely unreleased gems from various shows he recorded himself on the road in the early '90s. New classics include "Satiating The American Comedy Audience," "Speaking Of Homosexuality," and "My One Man Show," all of which showcase his unique ability to retool his material and attitude to the audience. Sometime he is an "Aww shucks" Texas good ol' boy, while other times he is a Sam Kinison-like fireball, screaming and yelling at the crowd and destroying them one by one. With Hicks the best shows were often the ones where the audience DIDN'T get him and were not enjoying the ride, as it drove him to new heights and pushed him to the brink. His longest sets were usually the ones where the crowd hated him and he would refuse to leave the stage, berating them and prodding them like the sheep he so obviously throught they were… which brings us to Flying Saucer Tour 1...

Like the Stooges violent live opus Metallic KO before it, Flying Saucer Tour 1 is the sound of one man taking on the world. Or in this case, a small night club. But whereas lead Stooge Iggy Pop literally attacked the crowd with his fists and drove them to fisticuffs, Hicks' jabs are verbal, spiritual and emotional.

Recorded in Pittsburgh, PA during one of his endlessly long comedy tours in 1991 Hicks calls it a "flying saucer" tour because only he and aliens are be sighted in the kind bumfuck, backwoods towns he's playing in. The no-smoking dive he plays in Pittsburgh this fateful is not exactly full of the kind of hip, well-read and informed audience that "gets" his humor and stare at him "like a dog that's just been shown a card trick." He gets about halfway through what is supposed to be a 45 minute set before he tales on the crowd and begins to wonder why they are not laughing, why he doesn't seem to be connecting with them. But rather than just bitch about it, he actually steps into the crowd and begins talking with folks one by one and the results are priceless. His chat with a wrestling manager leads to a riff on how gay the "sport" is. A guy receiving a cell phone call get hammered for not thinking to turn it off. A heckler gets chewed out for being the comedy equivalent of the guy yelling "Freebird" at a rock concert. And then he really gets started.

This is about the point where he completely abandons his set and just freestyles, pulling out improvisational bits and new and old routines with ease, completely working the angry vibe of the crowd and tailoring the set to their clashing moods. He ends up doing an 80-minute set, much to the chagrin of certain audience members, and the lucky few that stayed through the entire gig were treated to a comedy tour de force, history in the making. THIS is in-your-face comedy, folks, not that like that bullshit you see on Mad TV or SNL. It's a rare and raw treat and, at time, quite breathtaking.

Anyways, as I write this I realize it's kind of silly to try to review a comedy album as it's sooooo subjective and me blabbing on about it ain't really gonna give you any real flavor of how good or bad it is. So allow me to simply leave you with some random thoughts and observations by Mr. Hicks, many of which can be found on these latest two masterpieces.

Enjoy

* * * * *

It's great to be here. I thank you. Ah, I've been on the road doing comedy for ten years now, so bear with me while I plaster on a fake smile and plough through this shit one more time.

I'll tell ya how you can solve this abortion issue right now. Ready? Those unwanted babies that single moms leave in alleys and in dumpsters? Leave about 12 of those on the steps of The Supreme Court. This is over. Like that. "You guys said we had to have them? Then you guys...FUCKING RAISE 'EM."

I smoke. If this bothers anyone, I suggest you look around at the world in which we live and shut your fuckin' mouth.

One of my big fears in life is that I'm gonna die and my parents are going to come to clean out my apartment and find that porno wing I've been adding on to for years.

I don't mean to sound bitter, cold, or cruel, but I am, so that's how it comes out.

It's always funny until someone gets hurt. Then it's just hilarious.

Christianity has a built-in defense system: anything that questions a belief, no matter how logical the argument is, is the work of Satan by the very fact that it makes you question a belief. It's a very interesting defense mechanism and the only way to get by it -- and believe me, I was raised Southern Baptist -- is to take massive amounts of mushrooms, sit in a field, and just go, "Show me."

I can speak for every guy in this room here tonight. Guys, if you could blow yourselves, ladies, you'd be in this room alone right now. Watching an empty stage.

They lie about marijuana. Tell you pot smoking makes you unmotivated. Lie! When you're high, you can do everything you normally do, just as well. You just realize that it's not worth the fucking effort.

I love talking about the Kennedy assassination. The reason I do is because I'm fascinated by it. I'm fascinated that our government could lie to us so blatantly, so obviously for so long, and we do absolutely nothing about it. I think that's interesting in what is ostensibly a democracy. Sarcasm - come on in. People say "Bill, quit talking about Kennedy man. It was a long time ago, just let it go, alright? It's a long time ago, just forget it." I'm like, "alright, then don't bring up Jesus to me. As long as we're talking shelf life here..."

Your denial is beneath you, and thanks to the use of hallucinogenic drugs, I see through you.

Watching television is like taking black spray paint to your third eye.

Do you know that if you play New Kids on the Block albums backwards they sound better. "Oh come on, Bill, they're the New Kids, don't pick on them, they're so good and they're so clean cut and they're such a good image for the children." Fuck that! When did mediocrity and banality become a good image for your children? I want my children to listen to people who fucking ROCKED! I don't care if they died in puddles of their own vomit! I want someone who plays from his fucking HEART!

Supreme Court says pornography is anything without artistic merit that causes sexual thoughts, that's their definition, essentially. No artistic merit, causes sexual thoughts. Hmm... Sounds like...every commercial on television, doesn't it? You know, when I see those two twins on that Doublemint commercial? I'm not thinking of gum. I am thinking of chewing, so maybe that's the connection they're trying to make.

Why is marijuana against the law? It grows naturally upon our planet. Doesn't the idea of making nature against the law seem to you a bit... unnatural? You know what I mean? It's nature. How do you make nature against the fucking law? That's like saying God made a mistake.

I was in Nashville, Tennessee last year. After the show I went to a Waffle House. I'm not proud of it, I was hungry. And I'm alone, I'm eating and I'm reading a book, right? Waitress walks over to me: "Hey, whatchoo readin' for?" Isn't that the weirdest fucking question you've ever heard? Not what am I readING, but what am I reading "for?" Well, godammit, ya stumped me! Why do I read? Well... hmmm... I dunno... I guess I read for a lot of reasons, and the main one is so I don't end up being a fucking waffle waitress. Suddenly a big trucker overhears me and gets up. he says, "Weeeell, looks like we got ourselves a reader...."

People say "Iraq had the fourth largest army in the world". Yeah, maybe, but you know what, after the first 3 largest armies, there's a REAL big fucking drop-off. The Hare Krishnas are the 5th largest army in the world, and they've already got all our airports.

People are bringing shotguns to UFO sightings in Fife, Alabama. I asked a guy, "Why do you bring a gun to a UFO sighting?" Guy said, "Way-ul, we didn' wanna be ab-duc-ted." Dude, if I lived in Fife, Alabama, I would be on my hands and knees every night praying for abduction every day.

I don't do drugs anymore... than say, the average touring funk band.

The musicians today who don't do drugs and in fact speak out against it? "Rock Against Drugs"? BOY do they suck.

Childbirth is no more a miracle then eating food and a turd coming out of your ass.

What do atheists scream when they cum?"

The world is like a ride in an amusement park. And when you choose to go on it, you think it's real because that's how powerful our minds are. And the ride goes up and down and round and round. It has thrills and chills and it's very brightly coloured and it's very loud and it's fun, for a while. Some people have been on the ride for a long time and they begin to question, is this real, or is this just a ride? And other people have remembered, and they come back to us, they say, "Hey - don't worry, don't be afraid, ever, because, this is just a ride... Kill those people.

Obnoxious, self-righteous, whining little fucks. My biggest fear is that if I quit smoking, I'll become on of you. I have something to tell you non-smokers that I know for a fact that you don't know, and I feel it's my duty to pass on information at all times. Ready? Non-smokers die every day...Enjoy your evening. See, I know that you entertain this eternal life fantasy because you've chosen not to smoke, but let me be the 1st to POP that bubble and bring you hurtling back to reality....You're dead too.

Ever noticed that people who believe in Creationism look really unevolved?

If you're so pro-life, do me a favor: don't lock arms and block medical clinics. If you're so pro-life, lock arms and block cemeteries. "No one's getting in! We'll have no death on this planet!"

If you don't think drugs have done good things for us then take all of your records, tapes and CDs and burn them.

Fundamentalist Christianity - fascinating. These people actually believe that the world is 12,000 years old. Based on what? "Well we looked at all the people in the Bible and we added 'em up all the way back to Adam and Eve, their ages: 12,000 years." Well how fucking scientific, okay. I didn't know that you'd gone to so much trouble. That's good. You believe the world's 12,000 years old? "That's right." Okay, I got one word to ask you, a one-word question, ready? Dinosaurs.

Go back to bed, America, your government has figured out how it all transpired, your government is in control. Here's American Gladiators. Here is 56 channels of it! Watch this, shut up, go back to bed. Watch these pituitary retards bang their fucking skulls together and congratulate you on the living in the land of freedom. Here you go America - you are free to do what well tell you! You are free to do what we tell you!

By the way, if anyone here is in advertising or marketing, kill yourself. Just a little thought. I'm just trying to plant seeds. Maybe one day they'll take root. Kill yourselves. Seriously though, if you are, do. No really, there's no rationalization for what you do, and you are Satan's little helpers, OK? Kill yourselves, seriously. You're the ruiner of all things good. Seriously, no, this is not a joke. "There's gonna be a joke coming..." There's no fucking joke coming, you are Satan's spawn, filling the world with bile and garbage, you are fucked and you are fucking us, kill yourselves, it's the only way to save your fucking soul. Kill yourself, kill yourself, kill yourself now. Now, back to the show.

My final point about alcohol, about drugs, about pornography...What business is it of your's what I do, read, buy, see or take into my body as long as I don't harm another human being whilst on this planet? And for those of you having a little moral dilemma on how to answer this, I'll answer for you. NONE OF YOUR FUCKING BUSINESS! Take that to the bank, cash it and take it on a vacation outta my fucking life.


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