Published 1995, The Aquarian Weekly

Tramps, Oct. 7, 1995

The Beat Farmers

Montana invades New York

NYC - Rivaling the whereabouts of Jimmy Hoffa and D.B. Cooper and the logic behind "new" Coke; one of the greatest mysteries of the last 12 years is the complete lack of chart success for San Diego's lovable, oddly endearing Beat Farmers.

With respectable roots-rock, pop, bar-band, rock-a-billy, punk and country credentials; certifiable guitar heroes Joey Harris and Jerry Raney; twisted connections to Mojo Nixon, The Bangles, Los Lobos and Tom Jones; the fluid, slippery, punk-rockin' frenzy created by bassist Rolle Love; a fanatical, impressively large base of hard-drinkin', kazoo-bearin' fans willing to drive hours to see them play live; drummer/frontman/living-legend Country Dick Montana lurching, twitching and ranting with the wild-eyed, mouth-foaming fervor of a crazed televangelist at an out-of-control beer convention; and memorable, melodic songs about cars, girls, drinkin', unrequited love, God, country, more drinkin', trailer parks, lost weekends and Elvis' meeting with Nixon - why the masses haven't taken to The Beat Farmers still remains a puzzle.

Helping Tramp's celebrate 20-years of brilliant live music, Country Dick started the night off by thoroughly soaking both the stage and himself with vast amounts of brew as he twirled and danced spastically and roared-out a crowd-pleasing version of "Country Western Song" that set the table for the freewheelin' abandon that was to follow.

With Country Dick safely back behind his drum kit (either guitarists Harris or Raney or The Blaster's Jerry Angel fill in while Dick pontificates); the focus turned to the gritty, harder-edged songs of Raney ("Got It Bad," "Big Big Man," "Memphis To Nixon," "Bigger Stones," "Riverside,"); the more melodic, pop-based Harris ("Blue Radio," "Southern Cross," "Girl I Almost Married," "Make It Last," "Texas Heat," "Ridin'"); and the unique, awe-inspiring, intuitive, rootsy, scorching interplay between the two guitarists.

Working up a proper sweat and needing an occasional break from the rigors of drumming; Country Dick would belch, grab another beer, hitch up his pants and amble up to a microphone every now and then.

Warming up his voice by roundly insulting the crowd, the Yankees, Mojo Nixon's mother, God, Shane MacGowan, the Pogues, The Pope, fancy drinks and wusses who can't hold their liquor; a slurring Country Dick held sway over the crowd during bizarre mini-sets that included: a boozy rendition of Neil Young's "Roll Another Number (For The Road)," the appropriately titled, "Whale, Oil, Beef, Hooked," a perverse take on Kenny Rogers' "Lucille," rollicking Country Dick originals "Baby's Liquor'd Up," "Are You Drinkin' With Me Jesus?" and "Happy Boy"; beer spins, bottle twirls and demented Irish jigs; a brew-soaked Country Dick on his back, flopping fish-like as he guzzled a beer with his feet; a four-person, kazoo chorus; and a crowd-floating Country Dick cascading eight-foot streams of beer as he vanished head-first in mid-song.

Not so much a concert performance as it is an exercise in mass bonding; the loud, raw, over-the-top, don't-give-a-fuck exuberance of a Beat Farmers show has been known to convert frowns into smiles and first-timers into fervent, obsessive fans in just 90 short, joyously loud minutes.