Rhino Bucket: Reissues

Don’t let their dodgy moniker put you off – take vat and party...

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After bassist Charlie Tumahai left Bill Nelson’s Be-Bop Deluxe in 1978, he went on to form a band with one of the worst names of all time: Tandoori Cassette. And talking about dodgy handles, here we have the equally appallingly titled Rhino Bucket.

But what these Californian scruffians didn’t tell us back in the day was that their name is actually pronounced ‘Reno Bouquet’ (ref. Hyacinth Bucket, star of TV’s Keeping Up Appearances). This moniker misconception undoubtedly hobbled their success, because what we have here are the two greatest albums AC/DC never recorded.

Rhino Bucket’s self-titled debut (710) came out in 1990 and is as close to a classic Bon Scott-era record as you can possibly get. Mainman Georg Dolivo has Scott’s lascivious rasp down pat and the band’s stuttering boogie has ‘Youngs’ written all over it – just to be clear, we’re talking Angus and Malcolm, not packs of frozen seafood.

Normally we’d kick such flagrant copyism into touch but the Bucket are just so damn good, so genuine-sounding and infectious, you can’t help but warm to their degenerate Xerox’n’roll.

Dolivo has always denied ripping off Acca Dacca – “It wasn’t as if anyone of us had said: ‘I tell you what, let’s start sounding like someone else and sell a lot of records,’” he says in the sleeve notes – but frankly, this is complete poppycock. Tracks such as Beg For Your Love, Blood On The Cross and Shot Down are so Powerage you can see the multicoloured electrical wires poking out of the sleeves of his blazer.

Pleasingly, the album gets increasingly frenzied, climaxing with the demented Ride The Rhino, Dolivo howling like Bon after a night down the Speakeasy spent quaffing Courvoisier – bottle and all.

Follow-up Get Used To It (810) was released in 1992 and is even rougher around the edges. Opener Beat To Death Like A Dog is a mange-infested masterwork; Scratch ’N’ Sniff is every bit as tacky at its title implies (‘Scratch ’n’ sniff, wave my stick/Scratch ’n’ sniff, bite don’t lick’); and just when you think matters couldn’t get any more sordid, up pops madhouse instrumental Stomp, with its orgasmic moans and backwards satanic messages.

Listening to these two albums makes you realise how dull and uninspiring AC/DC’s recent recorded output has been. Our advice? Ditch your copies of Black Ice and Rock Or Bust and put these two diamonds on your Bucket list instead.

Geoff Barton

Geoff Barton is a British journalist who founded the heavy metal magazine Kerrang! and was an editor of Sounds music magazine. He specialised in covering rock music and helped popularise the new wave of British heavy metal (NWOBHM) after using the term for the first time (after editor Alan Lewis coined it) in the May 1979 issue of Sounds.