There has been some controversy over the recent rash of Beat Farmers concerts in OC and San Diego. Among the most fondly remembered SoCal roots-rock bands of the '80s and early '90s, the Beat Farmers—minus the late Country Dick Montana—have played several reunion shows in recent months. However, some old-timers who recall Montana as the driving force behind the group have branded the current band the "The Dickless Farmers." We assigned our fearless music critic, Buddy Seigal, to interview Beat Farmers singer/guitarist Buddy Blue to get to the bottom of the whole mess, even though Seigal and Blue are, coincidentally, the same person.
How dare you call yourselves the Beat Farmers without Dick on board?Buddy Blue:
Why should anyone today give a crap about some forgotten "cowpunk" group of the '80s?This reunion wasn't planned; it happened spontaneously. A couple of years ago, my band and Powerthud—Jerry and Joey's current band—were booked together on a New Year's Eve show in San Diego. The club took it upon itself, without our knowledge or approval, to bill the night as a Beat Farmers Reunion Jam. So at the end of the night, we all got together and played some of the old Farmers tunes, and people just went fuckin' nuts. That made us decide to test the waters a little—actually rehearse together and try a show or two as the Beat Farmers. So we've done a few shows now, and they've gone over great. The Farmers are basically back together on a part-time basis. We'll keep doing a few Farmers shows now and then, along with the regular gigs our full-time bands play. It's up to you whether or not you give a crap.Yeah, yeah, yeah, you're a great salesman, Blue. I'm real impressed. You know, you interviewed Billy Zoom a couple of years ago. He, at least, had the integrity to admit he was doing those X reunion shows strictly for the money.Yeah, we all enjoy making a decent payday. How 'bout you, asswipe? The journalism thing working out? But the fact is we're having a great time playing together again, too. Frankly, everyone's getting along better than we did in the old days. I think we're all improved musicians now, too. We're older, wiser and better now than we used to be.I'll have to agree with you on the older part. Anyway, it must be wonderful, this whole conflict-of-interest business you have going on between being a music writer and a working musician.That has been a problem for other people, not me. When I was writing for the LA Times, [music critic] Robert Hilburn made it his personal mission in life to destroy my writing career. I always wanted to hunt him down and kick his ass, but he's so decrepit he'd probably break a hip if I even ripped a fart in his direction. But I digress: How many other writer/musicians are out there? Henry Rollins, Mike Stax, Billy Vera, Al Kooper, Jim Carroll, Wynton Marsalis, Leonard Feather, just to name a few. It happens that I know my subject—music has been the driving force in my life since I was a kid. I write it, perform it, produce it, collect it, study it. . . . So who better to write about music than someone who actually knows what they're talking about?You once wrote inOC Weekly that Tom Jones' nut sack smelled like chlorine and mushrooms. Did you have a lot of first-hand experience with that subject, as well?No, Country Dick actually told me about that.There you go, running down Country Dick. Why don't you let him rest in peace with some dignity?Dick would have kicked you in the gonads if you ever suggested to his face that he had any dignity.The Beat Farmers with Big Stick Friday and Field of Vision at the Coach House, 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, (949) 496-8930. Fri., 8 p.m. $15. All ages. Dick is dead. We all miss him. He was obviously a big part of what the group did, and if we could bring him back somehow, we would. But Jerry Raney, Joey Harris and myself wrote and sang about 90 percent of the songs on the Beat Farmers' albums. This isn't to belittle Dick's contributions, but it's not like we're some bogus version of Creedence, either, going out with the original bassist and everyone else is a ringer. In fact, this is the first lineup of the Farmers that features both myself and Joey, so with this group, the fans get to hear songs from the early and later eras of the Farmers live for the first time. Jerry, bassist Rolle Love and myself were the founding members of the Farmers, along with Dick. Joey took my place in '86 and actually recorded many more albums with the Farmers than I did. The drummer, Joel Kmak, played with the Farmers when Dick was too sick to perform. This is legitimately the Beat Farmers, so fuck you.
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