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Tito and Tarantula

℗ 1997 Cockroach Records 1

Tito and Tarantula • 1997 • Tarantism

Dylan once hand-picked Tito Larriva's Plugz to back him up on Dave Letterman's show. But when the multi-culti-punk group morphed into the Cruzados, Larriva's rock career went off-road. Tarantism is his return — a blues-rock study on bugs and the angel of death. At its best, Tarantula sound like a dark, spaghetti western theme band, the Stones ("Slippin' & Slidin'"), Cream and the folky Led Zeppelin ("Sweet Cycle") all in one. When Larriva sings instead of screams, he sounds like Jack Bruce, as on "Back to the House" and "Jupiter." It's just okay, but Larriva is the kind you want to root for: audiences cheered bigtime when his Desperado character shot Quentin Tarrantino. As a bit-part actor and composer, you can't better his hip filmography — from Repo Man to Freeway to She's So Lovely. He also played Hammy in the original Pee Wee's Playhouse, and if you're not impressed by that, well, I don't know what to tell you. — Denise Sullivan.

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