Bongzilla - Amerijuanican - Relapse Records 2005
7 Tokes
Running Time: 42:51

I wasn't sure what to say at first. The mangy guy with the dreadlocks kicking back in one of the chairs on my front porch looked at me like he couldn't understand what was so difficult about the question. "I got what you need. You want some of this, or not?". That's what he'd said, and while living in Detroit, I'm often approached with anything from requests for spare change for a homeless person rattling a Starbucks mug to blow jobs from $3 hookers with less teeth than fingers, I really had no idea what this grunged-out throwback to the 70s could mean. "All right, whatcha got?", I said, unsure of what I was getting myself into. Reaching into his backpack, the guy pulled out a padded mailer, handed it to me with a conspiratorial grin, and, walking away, said "Pledge allegiance, man.".

Opening the package, the unmistakeable sweet smell of a half-ounce of the hairiest Wisconsin bud greeted me, and the new CD from the dairyland's finest dealers fell into my hand. Wasting no time, Bongzilla's latest stash found itself spinning in my stereo, and I found myself spinning into the shifting, ragged vortex that is Amerijuanican. Kicking things off with a revamped (and improved) pledge of allegiance, the title track is all boogie slowed to a crawl and blues-drenched solos. 'Kash Under Glass' ups the energy level, proving that not all that is weed-fuelled need be lethargic and boring. In the world of straight up rock and roll, one would be hard-pressed to find a more authentic vocal approach than the cottonmouthed, lung-shredding delivery of Muleboy. Spanky and Dixie are still present, and fucking things (and themselves) up as they ever were, and the locomotive drumming of Magma drives this whole train through the body hammering of 'Tri-Pack Master'. This ain't your frat brother's "stoner rock", that's for damn sure. Most fans of funboy desert rock ala Fu Manchu and recent unwilling poster band QOTSA may as well be shown the door at this point. Bongzilla is from the more aggro side of things. Let me put it in terms everyone can grasp. Amerijuanican isn't a toke or three on some skunk weed filched from your older brother's sock drawer. This is a gravity bong hit using a fifth of Jack Daniels as the bong, and a lugnut from a Peterbilt as the bowl. 'Cut Down' is the best example of this, as the vengeful lyrics spell the doom of those who plunder the Earth with no respect for life. Don't let the rollicking blues pattern here deceive you, 'zilla are Not Fucking Around. There had to be one planet-sized mindfuck of an instrumental here (it is Bongzilla, you know), and 'Stonesphere' is it. Fuzz-laden leads slither in and out of the greazy bassline, then bloom into bone-jarring stomp, which is sporadically punctuated with the song's only lyric. I'll leave the singular word up to your imagination, but it shouldn't be that difficult to decipher. Coming down off the musical high upon which 'Stonesphere' has placed you, you're dragged back into the juke joint for a binge-inducing cover of Muddy Waters' 'Champagne & Reefer' as only Bongzilla can. It's dirty, it's mean, and it's damned if it spends another minute sober.

So, thank you Mr. Unnamed Courier. Thank you, Wisconsin, for being boring enough to drive these four lawncare experts to create the gnarly music that they do. And thank you, Bongzilla, for reinforcing my pride in being an Ameriuanican "by the grace of God".

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