Tom Holliston

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Tom Holliston And His Opportunists

Tom Holliston - Tom Holliston And His Opportunists ©2001 Incentive Records
1. Genetalia Issue
2. Other People
3. Trophy Wife
4. The Strong And Absent Type
5. Twenty More Years
6. I Don't Want To Take That Trip Alone
7. Fun, Games, Laughter
8. Hilly Sand's Testimonial
9. Family Values
10. Motor Mouth
11. There's A Man Outside The Apartment
12. Child Bride
13. Topical Death

If you're even slightly familiar with the transcendent career of Tom Holliston, you are most certainly aware that goofiness is the keyword surrounding his music. As his stint with the Show Business Giants demonstrated, there are few sacred cows he won't skewer and put on the barbeque. So now we find Mr. Holliston taking time away from double dating (by himself, no less!) to record a somewhat solo album. Billed as Tom Holliston and His Opportunists, this venture finds him teaming up with various fellow scene illuminaries such as John Wright (mostly known for his other surname, Hanson), Ford Pier (not known for the Contour or Focus, thankfully), Bill Johnston (who keeps losing his drummer to the Hanson Brothers) and a host of other characters most likely found in Vancouver's seedy districts. However, these Opportunists step away from the adjunct and freakish nature of Show Business records to create something a little more downhome and rollicking. One could almost say restrained, but the lyrics betray that entirely.

The most notable thing about this CD is that Tom has opted for a style that is fully entrenched in Americana, truckstops and classic tones. Although he's Canadian, this music might be quite at home in the heartland of the American midwest, assuming the country bumpkins don't pay too close attention to the lyrics. The songs on this CD skewer quite a few topics, such as family values, superficial men who need a bimbo to parade and other wholesome tales. To a degree, The Opportunists are on the same page as the last two Frank Black & the Catholics releases. The music seems to be inspired from eating at a few too many greasy truckstops in Utah. There is a slightly countrified edge throughout the disc as well as some old time rock'n'roll. If that's not enough, various Opportunists sing acapella on "Motor Mouth".

For the most part, Tom Holliston and His Opportunists is a rollicking fun time that is long on satire and wit. Any fan of the Show Business Giants will probably have a good time diving into this release. For the uninitiated, be forewarned that Tom's world is just a tad bit different than the average schmuck's.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 07/2003

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I Want You To Twist With Me

Tom Holliston - I Want You To Twist With Me ©2003 Spider Invasion
1. Talk - Action = A Good Dinner Party
2. A Hard Year For Me
3. I Need A Demographic
4. Fan Night
5. Pick Slide
6. Fussin With The 'tussin
7. Ernst Rohm Vs. The NFL
8. Second Rate
9. Chipmunk Jingo
10. Boxcars
11. Blues In A
12. I Want You To Twist With Me
13. The Fifty Best Albums Of All Time

During the midst of a little Nomeansno hiatus, guitarist Tom Holliston has kept himself quite busy. Along with metamorphosizing into thug and general goombah Tommy Hanson, Tom has gotten together his friends to record a second solo record, this time annointing his bandmates the Apologists. I Want You To Twist With Me, featuring the likes of Scott Henderson, Ford Pier and a host of other friends, family and loved ones, comes across as a bit more rocking than last year's heartland tinged Tom Holliston and His Opportunists. In fact, those wishing to have a little more Show Business Giants in their lives may find much to enjoy on this new CD.

As usual, Tom does cover nearly every genre on the planet outside of perhaps Satanic black metal, new age and Gregorian chants. However, everything else is fair game. For fans of Tom's first solo album, there are definitely a few more tunes straight from Americana, such as "Fussin with the 'Tussin". But those who wish to flat out rock, these Apologists can still tear things up, particularly in "Fan Night". Despite the amazing musical pedigree of his ensemble, the focus of any Tom Holliston outing is his entirely unusual lyrics. Who else would place Nazi SA chief Ernst Rohm in front of the TV on NFL Sunday? Tom also nudges D.O.A. in the ribs with "Talk - Action = A Good Dinner Party". For fans of Show Business Giants madness, the title track offers some very difficult listening to batter your poor head.

It's hard to say if Tom Holliston will find his "Demographic" with his second solo album, but the sheer fun of this record shines brighter than any thousand points of light from the Bush family. Like a good NASCAR event, the CD offers plenty of gear-shifting and wild left turns.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 01/2004

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Boy In Tub; Rabbit

Tom Holliston - Boy In Tub; Rabbit ©2005 Spider Invasion
1. Dross
2. I Spoke Too Soon
3. Ladies Man
4. Bill Lee
5. He's Our Man
6. Smart Money
7. No Impression
8. Celebrities On The Internet
9. Wallet Chains And Brylcream
10. If 9/26 Is Your Birthday
11. Entomologist Pondering

Now that Nomeansno's little hiatus has turned into a six year gap, guitarist and wrestling expert Tom Holliston has found plenty of time to churn out multiple solo records, all while solving world problems in his spare time. Boy in Tub; Rabbit, the third opus from the former Show Business Giant, is yet another splendid record of what we critics refer to as "music".

Again employing the services of Scott Henderson as well as Tolin McNeil and Torben Wilson, Tom Holliston veers away from the more esoteric and mystical music of his past for a bit more straight forward venture. This is to say that eight of the eleven tracks could be surreptitiously inserted into an FM radio playlist and not be totally out of place. Just partially. Whereas previous Show Business Giants and Tom Holliston albums had some wildly severe left turns, Boy in Tub; Rabbit is a much more to the point album. In fact, only "If 9/26 is Your Birthday" really exemplifies some of the infamous Holliston twitchiness. Songs such as "Ladies Man", "Celebrities on the Internet" and "I Spoke Too Soon" are immediately catchy. Better yet, they don't wear thin with repeated listens.

While Boy in Tub; Rabbit will not knock such rock gods as Keel, Helix or Hurricane off their perch, the CD provides plenty of great hair tugging and arm pinching moments. And in the meantime, DON'T GO NEAR THE WINDOW!

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 12/2005

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