The Beat Farmers
|The Beat Farmers|
|Origin||San Diego, CA|
|Labels||Rhino, Curb, Sector 2|
|Associated acts||The Penetrators, Shames, The Rockin' Roulettes, The Pleasure Barons, Country Dick & the Snuggle Bunnies, The Buddy Blue Tribute Band, The Farmers|
|Past members||Country Dick Montana
Rolle Dexter Love
The Beat Farmers were a cowpunk band which formed in San Diego, California, in August 1983, and enjoyed a cult following throughout into the early 1990s before the premature death of drummer and sometime lead singer Country Dick Montana. Their music has been described as an amalgamation of cow punk, jangle pop, roots rock, hard-twang Americana, country-rock, rockabilly, and swamp rock.
In 1983, the Beat Farmers were formed by Country Dick Montana, former drummer for San Diego bands The Penetrators and The Crawdaddys, and Jerry Raney, singer and guitarist with The Shames and formerly of 70s psychedelic band Glory. Singer-guitarist Bernard "Buddy Blue" Seigal and bassist Rolle Love from local rockabilly band The Rockin' Roulettes were recruited to round out the line-up. The band regularly played at the Spring Valley Inn and venues around San Diego State University. In 1984, they won the annual San Diego Battle of the Bands and gained a Southern California following.
The Beat Farmers were born out of an earlier band formed by McLain called Country Dick & the Snuggle Bunnies. That band included many San Diego musicians who would later play important roles in both the Beat Farmers and the Neo-Traditional Country and Cow Punk scenes. Country Dick & the Snuggle Bunnies were: Dan McLain (aka Country Dick Montana), drums/vocals; Richard Banke (aka Skid Roper), mandolin/washboard/vocals; Robin Jackson, guitar/vocals; Paul Kamanski, guitar/vocals; Joey Harris, guitar/vocals; and Nino Del Pesco, bass/vocals. 
Harris would later replace Buddy Blue in The Beat Farmers, Kamanski would go on to pen a number of Beat Farmer songs, Banke would go on to team up with Mojo Nixon, and Del Pesco would later form The Lonesome Strangers with bandmates Randy Weeks, Jeff Rymes, and Joe Nanini and Snake Farm with Barry McBride of The Plugz.
In 1984, they were signed to a one-off-deal record deal with Rhino Records. The first album, Tales of the New West, was produced by Blasters / Los Lobos saxophonist Steve Berlin and released in January, 1985. The album included cover songs "Reason to Believe" by Bruce Springsteen, and "There She Goes Again" by The Velvet Underground, and "Never Going Back by John Stewart. It also featured their most well known song, "Happy Boy", which gained national exposure through the Doctor Demento Radio Show, and was played as a novelty song across the country, notably by disc jockeys Jim McInnes and Pat Martin on San Diego radio station KGB-FM and on Pittsburgh station WDVE, where it has been played weekly for more than twenty years.
In 1985, they traveled to England to record Glad 'N' Greasy, a six-song EP for Demon Records. It was co-produced by Graham Parker and The Rumour keyboardist Bob Andrews and included a dancehall version of Neil Young's "Powderfinger" and Country Dick singing of "Beat Generation" with backing vocals from Dave Alvin, Nick Lowe, Gene Taylor[disambiguation needed], Dan Stuart, and Loudon Wainwright III. Their month-long tour of England drew praise from critics, particularly from Melody Maker, whose editor followed them around and subsequently compared them to The Beatles.
In 1986, the band continued to tour and signed a seven record deal with Curb Records. Fed up by working with Curb Records, Buddy Blue left the band. Their major-label debut Van Go was produced by Craig Leon and featured performances by both Blue and new member Joey Harris, who previously played with John Stewart, The Speedsters, and Country Dick and the Snuggle Bunnies.
The next year, The Pursuit of Happiness was released on Curb Records/MCA. The single "Make It Last" was briefly played on dozens of Country-Western stations across the nation, but the rest of the album was too rock n' roll oriented for the format, and the single was dropped from rotation. "Hideaway" was featured in the soundtrack to the film Major League and "Big Big Man" was featured in The Garbage Pail Kids Movie. Poor and Famous was released in 1989, and included "King of Sleaze", a collaboration by Montana and Mojo Nixon. Later in the year, Montana and Harris formed a side project with Nixon and Alvin called the Pleasure Barons, a group that specialized in lounge music. The Beat Farmers finished the year with a three night stand at San Diego's Bacchannal nightclub. The album Loud and Plowed and . . . LIVE!! was culled from these three nights and released the next year.
In 1991 Montana was treated for a thyroid condition and continued to visit the doctor's office for cancer treatments. The band appeared on Late Night with David Letterman on Friday, June 14, 1991 on NBC.
Over the years, the band grew increasingly dissatisfied with its relationship with Curb Records, and repeatedly attempted to get out of their seven-album contract. Finally succeeding in 1993, the group began to record Viking Lullabys in Vancouver, Canada. It was released in August 1994 by Sector 2, an Austin, Texas record label. In 1995, Curb/MCA released The Best of the Beat Farmers without the consent or involvement of the band. That same year, the Beat Farmers released Manifold, their second record for Sector 2. Paul Kamanski, who wrote several songs on previous Beat Farmers releases, appeared on vocals and guitar.
Death of Country Dick
On November 8, 1995, Country Dick Montana died of a heart attack while performing The Girl I Almost Married, three songs into the set at the Longhorn Saloon in Whistler, British Columbia. The remaining Beat Farmers decided to dissolve the band three days later.
In 1996, Bar None Records of Hoboken, N.J posthumously released The Devil Lied to Me, the Country Dick Montana solo album. The performers included members of the Farmers, Katy Moffatt, Rosie Flores, Nixon, and Alvin. The "fiery collection of roots rock, balls-out country, and hilarious snippets from Country Dick's twisted subconscious" included King of the Hobos, Dave Alvin's Rich Man's Town, Paul Kamanski's Indigo Rider, a cover of Tom Petty's Listen to Her Heart.
In 2002, Rhino Records digitally remastered and reissued the first CD release of Glad n' Greasy, now subtitled "The Lost Beat Farmers Recording", and an extended version of Tales of the New West.
The remaining members formed several new bands including Raney-Blue (Jerry Raney and Buddy Blue), Powerthud (Jerry Raney and Joey Harris), The Joey Show (Joey Harris), Joey Harris and The Mentals, The Flying Putos (Jerry Raney, Buddy Blue, & Rolle Love), and The Farmers (Jerry Raney, Rolle Love and Buddy Blue).
In 2006, Buddy Blue died of a heart attack on April 2 at his La Mesa home at the age of 48. Also that year, a live recording of an early show was released as The Beat Farmers Live at the Spring Valley Inn, 1983 on Clarence Records.
In January 7, 2013, the band put on the third in an annual series of reunion shows at the Belly Up Tavern in Solana Beach, California. This show featured Raney (playing with his band, The Farmers), Harris (playing with his band, Joey Harris and the Mentals) and Love (who now plays with Billy Joe & the Roosters) on stage once again as the Beat Farmers. They also played with Dave Alvin, Steve Berlin, Mojo Nixon, and Paul Kamanski as a tribute to Country Dick Montana and Buddy Blue. The show is called The Dick Blue Ball- a Beat Farmers Celebration of the Life and Times of Country Dick and Buddy Blue.
- Country Dick Montana (Dan McLain) (drums, guitar, vocals) 1983 to 1995
- Jerry Raney (guitar, vocals) 1983 to 1995
- Rolle Dexter Love (bass) 1983 to 1995
- Buddy Blue (guitar, vocals, drums) 1983 to 1986
- Joey Harris (guitar, vocals) 1986 to 1995
- Tales of the New West (1985)
- Glad 'N' Greasy (1986)
- Van Go (1986)
- Pursuit of Happiness (1987)
- Poor and Famous (1989)
- Loud and Plowed and . . . LIVE!! (1990)
- Viking Lullabys (1994)
- Manifold (1995)
- Best of the Beat Farmers (1995)
- Live at the Spring Valley Inn, 1983 (2003)
- Tales of the New West (re-released in an extended edition by Rhino Records in 2004)
Media occurrences of music
- "Happy Boy" is played on popular Pittsburgh classic rock station WDVE Fridays around 3pm to signal the traditional end of the work week. The station began playing the song shortly after the song hit the airwaves. "Happy Boy" also is played during the seventh-inning stretch at Fairbanks Goldpanners games.
- WRKI-FM in Brookfield, Connecticut plays "Happy Boy" (bookended by Todd Rundgren's "Bang The Drum All Day" and Jonathan Edwards' "Shanty") Fridays around 5pm.
- "Happy Boy" was played in the 2003 movie Dumb and Dumberer: When Harry Met Lloyd and the 1998 film Pecker.
- "Riverside" was played in the 1986 movie Rad. It was also used in a 1986 Budweiser (Anheuser-Busch) radio commercial. Montana also provided the voice over for the ad.
- "Hideaway" is featured in the soundtrack to the 1989 film Major League.
- "Big Big Man" was featured in The Garbage Pail Kids Movie.
- "Baby's Liquored Up" is featured in the film "Stag"
- "Deceiver" was featured in Teen Wolf Too.
- "Baby's Liquored Up" and "Gettin' Drunk" were played in the 1997 PC game "Redneck Rampage".
- "Big Ugly Wheels" was featured in an episode of the 21 Jumpstreet spinoff, Booker.
- Late Show with David Letterman, 1991