Woody Pistrich has been a rabid, supportive fan of Valley music since the late ’80s, and his face has been visible at hundreds of shows since then. His house is a veritable museum of flyers that bring back so many awesome memories of local rock shows, and the man has even built (with great skill I might add) a large hangout/performance space (sometimes called “The Woodrose Ballroom”) above his garage and hosted dozens of party-shows and random jam sessions that have often brought together the most unlikely of bandfellows. For this alone, he deserves a Valley Rock Medal.
In the past five or so years, Woody’s been putting out CDs of his own under the name “Waste King,” which incorporates the skills of many area musicians including a stable of drummers (Amy Sullivan, Joel Dundorf, Eddie Riel). The releases have been pretty ho-hum for the most part; Pistrich is no melodic genius, has lyrical skills up (or down) there with those of William Shatner or the Chicago Bears Shufflin’ Crew, and about as much natural rhythm as Frasier Crane after a few vodka & mineral waters.
Still, there’s something wonderfully authentic about his latest effort, “Halfway.” His guitar playing has improved considerably, and his skills as a recording engineer/producer have evolved as well (he records everything in the Woodrose Ballroom). The songs on this album have both the feel of old-school Valley-style alt-grunge in the vein of Sebadoh or The Supreme Dicks and a weird, ’60s garage rock vibe that almost approaches Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd.
If I were a major label A&R rep, I would probably spray out a mouthful of my double latte into the face of whomever suggested I sign this joker, BUT—if I were an awkward, angry teenager in a post-industrial shit town somewhere in the Midwest, I could see treasuring this record, especially if it was released on vinyl. Or 8-track, even. Check out Waste King at www.myspace/wasteking1