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Members include Buddy Blue, guitar; Joey Harris,(Dick Everly), guitar and vocals; Paul Kamanski, (Everly Dick);Rollie Love, bass; Country Dick Montana (1955-1995), drum, vocals; Jerry Raney, (Shameful Dick),guitar, drum, vocals. Addresses: Record company- Curb Records 3907 West Alameda, Burbank, CA. 91505.Fan Club-D PO Box 2128 El Cajon, CA 92021.
From their beginnings in San Diego 1983 until the untimely death of founder Country DickMontana in 1995, the band would pack local Sand Diego watering holes with punkers, bikers,country fans, and rock and rollers. They became a cultural phenomanon with a huge followingeven though their albums never got any air play or support from the record companies. Formed tightly around the abilities and antics of front man Country Dick Montana, the band had areputation for being serious party animals. Punk music was just waiting to grab hold on societyand country music was alsoexperiencing a rebirth. The Beat Farmers were able to appease bothaudiences melding all these different sounds, sometimes referred to as cow-punk.
The Beat Framers began when front man Montana, or as known in high school as DanMcLain, took a break from the band The Penetrators. Always getting into problems in highschool, Montana was just as well-known for his musical talents as his loud mouth. Voted SanDiego1s top band, The Penetrators had a glorious following there. During time off betweenrecording, McLain formed Country Dick and the Snugglebunnies.
The stage show, which hadn't changed much from the beginning, usually consisted ofMontana taking regular swigs of beer while pounding out a crowd pumping song on his drums.Occasionally he would emerge from behind his drums and entertain the audience with hisaccordion, or his deep voice. According to Kevin Ranson in the Detroit News, Country Dick hada talent for "scatological lyrics, cheerful vulgarity and booming bullfrog vocals." He loved toentertain, pull practical jokes and put on a show. Some say he formed the band just to be able tothrow a party every night. According to Howard Owens at the Country Dick Montana memorialweb site "A Beat Farmers show was a party and the party always started early for Country Dick.He showed up at gigs before the sound check, arriving with the road crew. While the rest of theband lounged at the motel, Country did was drinking and joking around with fans. He signedautographs, posed for pictures, remembered birthdays and faces. He drank and laughed andhugged old acquaintances."
But it wasn't just his stage presence that brought people to see the show. The Beat Farmershad talent. They took turns playing different instruments throughout the show. They also took alead from Country Dick and took on pseudonyms. Joey Harris became Dick Everly and playedguitar, wrote lyrics and sang; Jerry Raney, became Shameful Dick, who also sang and played thedrums and guitar. Other members included Paul Kamanski as Everly Dick and Buddy Blue, aslide guitarist. Blue eventually left the Beat Farmers and had some solo success. The musicians were inspired by bands like the Kinks, Byrds, the Sex Pistols, Clash and the Ramones. Montanawas so influenced by the Kinks that early in his music career, he became president of the KinksPreservation Society. As the Beat Farmers began listening to performers like Elvis Presley, HankWilliams and Randy Newman, they began to blend country rock and rockabilly into their songs.
In 1984 the Beat Farmers officially became San Diego's favorite band, as decided in a Battleof the Bands. The Beat Farmers began playing larger and larger clubs. Their original haunt,Spring Valley Inn, in el Centro, Californis was just too small to fit their growing number of fans.They opened for Los Lobos and began talking with Rhino Records about a recording contract.With the album Tales of the New West released in 1985, the band was ready for an extended tour.After releasing two albums with Rhino Records, the band moved to Curb Records and recordedfour more albums, including a live album and a greatest hits collection. Their first album withCurb was Van Go, and according to a review in Melody Maker, "The unusual thing about theBeat Farmers is that they sound as if they actually did have a damned good time in the studiomaking this album." While the singles never received much air play and sold poorly, the albumswere considered a critical success, along the lines of Frank Zappa. All the while, the BeatFarmers constantly packed larger and larger bar clubs. "The Beat Farmers could pack any bar inthe world, but he couldn1t crack Billboard's Hot 100," mentioned a website dedicated to the BeatFarmers.
The band toured England in 1985 and recorded the EP Glad and Greasy for the British labelDemon. In 1986 the Beat Farmers found themselves opening for Elvis Costello in Belgium. Ayear later, they released The Pursuit of Happiness on Curb.The album included the song "Make It Last," which nearly received country readio airplay, but upon hearing the rest of the album,radio station executives decided it really didn't fit in with a country format. The Beat Farmersdecided to retour Europe, where they had enjoyed good support. The end of the tour almost camein 1990 when Montana was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. While undergoing surgery andtreatments for the disease, the Beat Farmers continued to amuse audiences, even though peoplewarned Montana to take it easy. But he was a musician that couldn1t rest. Montana began playingand recording with cow-punk prankster, Mojo Nixon, and anyone else who wanted to play. Healso continued his heavy drinking.
It was soon after the surgery that the Beat Farmers received a high compliment from thenKing of Late Night David Letterman. One night he told Paul Schaefer he wanted to quit the LateShow so he could go on the road with the Beat Farmers. In 1994, the band signed to a new recordcompany, Sector 2 Sector. They had not been in a recording studio for almost 10 years and theresult, Viking Lullabys, according to a website, "was critically acclaimed but failed to sell." Thelast album the band recorded together was Manifold, and it was released just before the Canadiantour that took Montana's life.When Country Dick Montana died on stage, playing his drums. Atthe age of 40, he left behind many fans, followers, some albums to be proud of and numerousunpaid beer tabs across the world. The people that saw a live show were changed forever. Whilenever experiencing true pop stardom, the Beat Farmers rarely had to worry about having fun.
by Gretchen Monette
Beat Farmers's Career
Group formed in 1983. Released debut album Tales of the New West, 1985; Glad N'Greasy, 1985, (originally released as EP on Demon Records in the U.K.); Van Go, 1986; ThePursuit of Happiness, 1987; Poor and Famous, 1989; Loud and Plowed and ... Live, 1990,Greatest Hits, 1995; and Viking Lullaby, 1994.
- Selected discography
- Tales of the New West , Rhino, 1985.
- Glad N' Greasy , Rhino, 1985.
- Van Go , Curb, 1986.
- The Pursuit of Happiness , Curb, 1987.
- Poor and Famous . Curb, 1989.
- Loud and Plowed and ... Live , Curb, 1990.
- Viking Lullabys , Sector 2 Sector, 1994.
- Greatest Hits , Curb, 1995.
- Detroit News , September 27, 1991.
- Melody Maker , July 20, 1985; July 19, 1986.
- Rolling Stone , May 23, 1985.
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