Were not dead yet

Beat Farmers survivors reunite without Country Dick

Recognizing that cowpunk would eventually come and go as quickly as any other fad of the day, like rockabilly, the Beat Farmers eventually grew into a more mainstream rock sound. That's about the time Blue split to form his own roots-rock band. Other members came and went over the years, and after his bouts with bad health, Country Dick had only returned to performing with the final incarnation of the Beat Farmers a year before his death.

This reunion came about when the Buddy Blue Band and Raney's Powerthud (which includes Blue's Beat Farmers' replacement, Joey Harris, on guitar; Blue and Raney also have a side band called the Flying Putos; please keep up) shared the bill for a New Year's Eve 2000 gig in San Diego. The promoter marketed the show as a "Beat Farmers jam," even though it wasn't. But it planted the seeds for formal Beat Farmers shows to mark special occasions, such as last year's Coach House gig to mark the seventh anniversary of Country Dick's death. Joel Kmak, who used to bang the drums for the Farmers when his best friend Country Dick was too ill to play, gets behind the kit for the reunions.

"In terms of the whole showmanship thing Dick did, we just don't even try doing it," Raney said. "The novelty part of the show is what Dick did, but there is so much material to choose from, we could probably do a four-hour set."

"A lot of people think it's fucked up that we're playing without Country Dick," Blue offered. "Dan's dead. What are you going to do? Obviously, he was a huge part of what we did, but there are still four Beat Farmers. Most of the material was written and sung by me, Jerry and Joey. We can't do what Country Dick did, and he couldn't do what we did. We miss him, sure, but it's sort of like the rest of us are not dead yet. We enjoy playing together."

The Beat Farmers 20th Reunion at the Coach House, 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, (949) 496-8930. Sat., 8 p.m. $15.
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