Mad Trucker Gone Mad's name might sound redundant, but it's a fitting description for music that starts out one shade of crazy and morphs into white-hot insanity. This is especially true of their latest love song, "That's That," the third track on their new album, Born To Be a Trucker.
"We like that it's a love song, the only love song on the record. It's the quintessential song about the poor person who is dating somebody who lives in the big house on the hill," says the local psychobilly trio's frontman, Del Monte Carlo (a.k.a. Isaac Schulze).
The band kicks off the tune with a bass lick that hints at the Batman theme, or perhaps a bit of James Bond, then launches into an out-of-control two-and-a-half-minute hoedown that reminds all who are listening that when you love somebody, it's your own damn business, not your mom's, your dad's or even your favorite bartender's.
When rattles off the song's motto and chorus -- "I want you, you want me, that's that" -- he's both a revival preacher and a locomotive engineer who's just stepped on the gas after the brakes have gone out. Bassist Chris Langkamp and drummer Dave Meuhlbauer (who cowpunk fans may recognize from the Milwaukee band American Death) keep the tempo fast and furious, even adding rumbles and cymbal clangs that sound train-like.
How to ride this train is a personal decision: At the band's shows, you're likely to find some folks moshing while others attempt a sweaty, adrenaline-fueled polka, spilling whiskey on their partners as they dodge barstools and bystanders. Dancing along is the ghost of New York City hardcore, especially during the shout-along chorus of "As long as I have your heart, you'll never! be! free!" And hollering with Del isn't just an amen to this song in particular or the idea of finding that special someone, but the latest in a long line of hoots and yelps that keep the spirit of punk alive.
When the last shout echoes from the microphone, an eerie buzz emerges, as if the band has broken your radio, crashed your car or -- you guessed it -- derailed a train headed straight for hell. In other words, it's great listening for the week before Halloween.
An MP3 of "That's That" is available in the related downloads at right. More music by Mad Trucker Gone Mad is available on MySpace. The band will perform selections from Born To Be a Trucker and more at a CD release party at the Frequency on Friday, October 30.
MadTracks highlights and provides MP3s of songs performed by local musicians. All tracks here are provided with permission of the artist. If you are a musician based in the Madison metro area and are interested in sharing your work as a MadTrack, please send a message.