This is a weird combination, though not a bad one. The Del-Lords play a generic brand of all-American rock, the kind that is often associated with Bruce Springsteen and the sound tracks of commercials for beer. In fact, a very bad beer company offered these boys a lot of bucks to pose with their product and mouth carefully scripted homilies about integrity and other heartfelt topics. Though the group badly needed the money, they declined the offer, and, if nothing else, that reinforces the impression I get from their fine albums: they play this stuff because they thoroughly believe in it, and they take the implied responsibilities of their belief seriously. Drawing their populist sound from Chuck Berry as heard through the Beach Boys, they apply their populist faith honestly and smartly to topics as diverse as living on love and failing at it ("Livin' on Love") and living on war and succeeding at it ("Mercenary"). Precious little all-American rock sounds as forthright and earnest, so even if their generic songs don't bowl you over, the band will get by on their get-tough attitude. I'm convinced Mojo Nixon and Skid Roper have just as much integrity, though no beer company will ever offer them anything because they channel it through genuinely dumb lowbrow humor. Skid Roper accompanies Mojo Nixon on hokey acoustic instruments while Nixon plays guitar and sings simple psychotic rants about such moral outrages as MTV, the minimum drinking age, stupid haircuts, and the Reagan administration. Their most popular song about meeting Jesus at McDonald's. I expect they'll get by on their cheerful obnoxiousness. Tonight, Cubby Bear, 1059 W. Addison; 327-1662.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Jeffrey Scales.