Who is a serious fan who likes the Beat Farmers? Or at least Country Dick Montana?

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed
Actually, I honestly expect nobody outside of a certain age (mine or slightly older) or place (San Diego) to remember these guys, but for a while there in the eighties they were the hometown heroes of S.D. Sorta inadvertantly -- they semi-agglomerated from a couple of garage-punk revival bands and ended up taking a route towards reasonable but not always deathless bar-band rock. That's never been my favorite pseudo-genre anyway but I'd rather these guys over the Fabulous Thunderbirds, say, and they showed more range than most, about which more in a bit.

Anyway, they DID have a secret weapon -- occasionally singing drummer Country Dick Montana, big burly smarter-than-he-usually-let-on hell-raiser with a deep sing/speaking voice used to hilarious effect. Much like the Dead Milkmen, say, they ended up with a fluke novelty hit that brought them to the public eye if only in SoCal, "Happy Boy," with Montana burbling away gleefully with 'hubbahubbahubbahubba' after every line in the verse (which involved among other things dead dogs stuffed in drawers after being run over). Also known for a demolition of early Kenny Rogers' hit "Lucille," one of many such reworkings. Ended up being good pals with like-minded S.D. type Mojo Nixon, recorded a great live album with him and Dave Alvin called the Pleasure Barons, did some other collaborations along the way, wrote some fantastically funny pieces here and there. He's dead some years now -- partied without apology and with a gusto for life, but as the link above details, he was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer in 1990, fought back against that pretty damn well and lived for some years yet before passing suddenly onstage in the mid-nineties.

Dug out their live album Loud and Plowed and LIVE! for the first time in a while yesterday -- it was recorded at one of their legendary New Year's shows, which were for a time broadcast on the way-more-adventurous-than-such-a-station-had-a-right-to-be classic rock KGB, and were easily the equivalent of, say, Oingo Boingo's Halloween shows in LA/OC in terms of a yearly tradition, albeit on a much smaller scale. One year I remember hearing them do an a capella rip on Led Zeppelin's "Immigrant Song," with the rest of the band doing the wails and approximations of the music while Montana gleefully rumbled through the ridiculous lyrics. The live album here was from the following year, I think, and I shoulda listened in for the full show -- or taped it or something -- but this is still great, and again while the sung-by-the-other-guys originals are okay enough ("God Is Here Tonight" is a secret winner), it's hearing Country Dick have his hilarious way with things -- Neil Young's "Roll Another Number," complete with cop-trashing improvisation, band original "Big Ugly Wheels," Mojo's "King of Sleaze" as a closer -- and of course, both "Happy Boy" and "Lucille" -- which makes this disc.

John Reis/Speedo has been my SD god of choice since, for very good reason, but cheers to the big guy before him. Here's hoping this thread finds googlers or somebody else who remembers.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 9 March 2004 03:07 (fifteen years ago) link

Damn Ned. That's quite the testimonial. And thanks for getting that friggin' happy boy song lodged in my head now.

scott seward (scott seward), Tuesday, 9 March 2004 03:12 (fifteen years ago) link

I am a serious Beat Farmers fan. The first couple of albums are terrific, with Buddy Blue on guitar. Country Dick is one of the best people I ever met, but I must say his vocal contributions are not what keeps me playing those LPs.

Paul Eater (eater), Tuesday, 9 March 2004 04:19 (fifteen years ago) link

I saw them in college once (during my Mojo Nixon/Green on Red days) and became obsessed with them in an NME way (i.e. for about a week). My mom HATES them. God bless Country Dick, may he rest in peace.

Donna Brown (Donna Brown), Tuesday, 9 March 2004 04:41 (fifteen years ago) link

they made some excellently twangy roots rock on disc. but onstage, the one time i ever saw them in new jersey, it was all yawn, yawn, yawn while waiting for the country dick mini-set, then back to the bar while waiting for the next country dick mini-set. and it was well worth the wait. he was a force of nature.

fact checking cuz (fcc), Tuesday, 9 March 2004 06:03 (fifteen years ago) link

So-so records, but an experience live on stage. I do remember liking their studio recording of Tom Waits' "Rosie" and the Velvets' "There She Goes."
Saw them in the mid-80s in Providence, at a now-legendary show which got them banned from the club for life. After having played a filthy version of "Lucille," Country Dick decided to "ride" someone from the audience. One game concertgoer obliged and Montana got up on his shoulders. The guy gave way to Country Dick's considerable weight, however, and both came crashing down. Montana got up with fire in his eyes (it looked like he was about to slug somebody) and then jumped onto the bar. "You people need some discipline!" he screamed, while banging on some overhead lights with a riding stick. The evening dissolved into chaos and confusion.
He also managed to cut his hand on a Henikein bottle he was flipping around during one song. He went to a local emergency room, got stitched up and skipped out on the bill.
Years later, shortly before his death, the Beat Farmers opened for the Blasters at a different Providence club. The roof started leaking right above the drum kit. Country Dick kept bashing away while the water pounded his skins. He had a big shit-eating grin on his face. That's how I'll remember him.

Jazzbo (jmcgaw), Tuesday, 9 March 2004 13:47 (fifteen years ago) link

jazzbo's story reminded me of country dick's other great onstage talent - he could chug a bottle of beer without using his hands.

man knew how to put on a show.

fact checking cuz (fcc), Tuesday, 9 March 2004 15:02 (fifteen years ago) link

How timely -- a Rhino Handmade reissue of Tales of the New West, complete with bonus tracks etc.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Friday, 19 March 2004 02:46 (fifteen years ago) link

two years pass...
Bernard "Buddy" Seigal, a founder of the country-rock band the Beat Farmers and a fiery music journalist, has died. He was 48.

Seigal died Sunday of a heart attack at his home in the San Diego suburb of La Mesa, said Will Swaim, a colleague at the OC Weekly, for which Seigal had written features and music reviews since the mid-1990s.

http://www.nbcsandiego.com/entertainment/8460791/detail.html

James Mitchell (James Mitchell), Tuesday, 4 April 2006 18:13 (thirteen years ago) link

Buddy was...well, all right. Yeah, opinionated and everything, but still the type of guy that causes me to hate rock'n'roll. Regardless, RIP.

Ned Raggett (Ned), Tuesday, 4 April 2006 18:36 (thirteen years ago) link

I've tossed a view tunes on mix tapes over the years - they got some juice. Too bad.

christoff (christoff), Tuesday, 4 April 2006 18:40 (thirteen years ago) link

thirteen years pass...

Universal Amphitheater, December 1985. complete show!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JJxCNMGN17g

Elvis Telecom, Monday, 12 August 2019 04:44 (one week ago) link

Okay that’s cool!

Ned Raggett, Monday, 12 August 2019 05:13 (one week ago) link


You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.