Beanbag (band)

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For other uses, see Bean bag (disambiguation).
Origin Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Genres Christian pop rock
Years active 1995 (1995)–2002 (2002)
Past members
  • Phillip "Hirvy" Hirvela
  • Michael Mullins
  • Hans Van Vliet
  • Phil Usher
  • Steven Lewis-Driver
  • Jesse Palmer

Beanbag were an Australian Christian pop rock band which formed in 1995 in Brisbane and broke up in late 2002. They group comprised Phillip "Hirvy" Hirvela on bass guitar, Michael Mullins on lead guitar, Hans "Hunz" Van Vliet on lead vocals and Phil Usher on drums. In 1999 the group relocated to Nashville, Tennessee. Steven Lewis-Driver assumed the bass position when Hirvy left the band in early 2002. Jesse Palmer also filled in on guitar after Mullins returned to Australia a couple months before the band's demise. They released two albums on United States label, Inpop Records, Free Signal (2000) and Welladjusted (2001).


Beanbag formed in Brisbane in 1995 as a "hardcore Christian rock group" by Phil "Hirvy" Hirvela on bass guitar, Michael Mullins on lead guitar and Hans "Hunz" Van Vliet on lead vocals.[1][2] A year later Phil Usher joined on drums.[1]

Guttersnipe, a seven-track extended play, was released on independent Australian label Toupee Records in June 1998. It was recorded at Groundswell studio with co-production by the group and Mark McElligott, it was engineered at Sunshine Studios by McElligott.[3]

In mid-1999 they were the first act signed to United States label, Inpop Records, which was established in Nashville by Peter Furler (of Newsboys), his manager Wes Campbell and Brisbane-based businessman, Dale Bray.[4] Their debut album, Free Signal (2000) included five tracks from Guttersnipe and new material recorded at Sunshine Studios with McElligott co-producing.[1] Hirvy described how "Some of the newer songs are a bit more melodic but still intense. We've also got a bit of electronica, some Indian tablas (drums) and upright bass. We've always written music with groove in mind, so the new stuff is still old Beanbag, but with some new sounds and more melodic intensity."[1]

John Dibase of Jesus Freak Hideout rated Free Signal at three-and-a-half stars, and explained that it is "a solid album with intricate, and down-right intriguing songs that may seem unorganized and spontaneous at first, but further listens reveal the method behind the madness."[5]

During their time in the United States, Beanbag toured extensively (including touring with Newsboys and Sonicflood during the LoveLibertyDisco AirDome Tour), were nominated for two GMA Dove Awards, and had songs featured on several television soundtracks. Their second album for Inpop, Welladjusted (2001), was also produced by McElligott.

The band broke up after a van accident occurred while driving back to Nashville. The driver swerved to avoid a deer on the interstate, and the van and trailer filled with their gear ended up in a ditch. Van Vliet was hospitalised for three days with lung damage. With no vehicle, no gear, and no vocalist, they had decided to disband.[6]


  1. ^ a b c d "A Feature Article: Phillip Hirvela for Beanbag". The Phantom Tollbooth. Retrieved 2 November 2016. 
  2. ^ Dillon, Charlotte. "Beanbag | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved 2 November 2016. 
  3. ^ Beanbag (June 1998). Guttersnipe (liner notes). Toupee Records. T30113. 
  4. ^ Evans Price, Deborah (24 July 1999). "A Newsboy Joins Inpop Venture". Billboard: 8, 85. ISSN 0006-2510. 
  5. ^ Dibase, John (8 January 2000). "Beanbag, Free Signal Review". Jesus Freak Hideout. Retrieved 2 November 2016. 
  6. ^ "Beanbag Is Dead". HM Magazine. HM Magazine, LLC. 23 April 2003. Archived from the original on 3 June 2003. Retrieved 2 November 2016.