Beck! Beck! Beck!

Beck Tribute

"Steppin' in the beefsteak"

Beck is rather strange, I'll admit. He has an apparent obsession with falic objects and things like robots (washing machines, etc.) having sexual tendancies. (Then there's of course the "Sexx Laws" video...)
He has a southern drawl that makes him sound like he's wasted and unable to form words properly. But then he picks up a guitar, harmonica, banjo, or whatever other instrument he can (and will) play and starts to sing, or do some of that crazy screaming he does so well you know this is what this guy was meant to do. Beck is the best part of modern music because his music cannot be categorized - it is a reflection of where music has been and where music is going and no other artist has the guts or the talent to do the stuff he has done.

My interest in Beck's music started when I first heard "Devil's Haircut" on the radio in 1996. When I discovered "Where It's At" was from Beck as well, it all started to grow on me.

I started listening to Odelay and then got a copy of Mellowgold. And I got the soundtrack to "A Life Less Ordinary".
Between interests in other bands I went to my very first rock concert on June 3rd, 1998 - BECK at the Molson Ampitheatre (Toronto). My sister had already seen him live at Varsity Arena (1997) and told me what the coolest live songs were. He played most of them. And some from the upcoming (at that time) Mutations. I remember "Nobody's Fault but My Own" being rather easy to eventually sing along to because of it's repetitiveness. I also seem to remember him playing harmonica for a long time (most likely "One Foot in the Grave"), and singing crazily high (probably "Debra"). It was the most entertaining evening I can remember! He changed his clothes halfway through, he took out a whip during "The New Pollution", I lost my voice singing (or just screaming when I didn't know the lyrics), and I bought a $30 T-shirt that is way too big! I was so sad when it was all over.

So, I continued with my occational Beck listening during my rotation of band listening. I was very excited to buy Mutations the week it came out (November 1998). It was a lot quieter and more profound than what I'd previously heard from him.

"Lets don't be like everyone else with the one trip rooms and the halfway house. Big black drums beating the night. Running away... thats what i like!"

When my English teacher (1999) requested that we bring in a poem that we liked, I brought in the lyrics to "We Live Again". Some people snapped when I was done reading them - like in a poetry cafe when someone has read something very profound (I found it kind of rude actually...).

"So give the finger to the folk-singer. I'm sure he'll appreciate it eventually."

So, the lyrics were interesting. I found other music had interesting lyrics - but never quite the same quality. These words of Beck were worth looking at; considering like eloquent poetry.

I did my final highschool English course during the summer (1999) and we had the choice of analizing any 5 poems by any poet we wanted. I did "The Poetry of Beck Hansen" ("Steal My Body Home", "Tropicalia", "Hotwax", "We Live Again", and "Sissyneck").

Though time consuming, it was a really fun assignment. I really got into a lot of the themes and further understood just how time consuming it must be to write good stuff. I got an A. (I've started a small page with some of the Beck lyrics I've analyzed. It's a bit unorganised and far from being done. It'll be my summer project though!)

"These withered hands have dug for a dream
Sifted through sand and leftover nightmares..."

After that assignment I bought Stereopathetic Soul Manure because it had "Rowboat" (a song I already had covered by Johnny Cash (on Unchained), which my sister gave me). It sort of evened out the differences in the albums I already had. SO MANY SONGS!

"I'll be home talking to nobody. You'll be strange. You'll be far away."

In October 1999 I came across a copy of One Foot in the Grave so I had to pick it up. I was listening to Beck more and more often in my listening rotation - to listen to lyrics and see what I could make of them, and because it's good music!

November 1999 was an exciting month - I taped the album premiere of Midnite Vultures - including interview clips - off Edge 102. On Novemeber 23rd I went straight to the music store after school and bought it.

Since then, I have listened to little else! Just BECK! BECK! BECK!

I especially like that "Mixed Bizness" (named after the liquor stores in Australia) has my name in it:

"I'm mixing business with leather
Christmas with Heather
Freaks flock together
And make all the b-boys scream."

My sister helps me a lot with the Spanish and occational German lyric translations. Whenever I really have to talk about Beck, she's always there to encourage me. Everyone else just looks at me like I'm crazy.

I feel inspired by the man's genious; taken in by his magical world of rhythm and funk. He doesn't fit into that whole stereotypical thing I may have described there. I have not yet discovered what he's all about, but I know he's just like everyone else and like no one.

Though I own relatively few of his recordings I have had an extra listen from various sources "out there". I have discovered a fondness for MP3s, though I haven't brought myself to download anything other than Beck...

"We vibrate. We reverberate. We are Beck. We are not a club, a committee or a subsidiary. We are a miasmic enterprise; a time zone synchronized in a crude experiment. Once fulfilled, this experiment cancels itself out, the only vestige left--these photographs. Let them warm you like the embers from a once noxious conflagration."
Oh yeah, don't forget - let the music do the same!



Dates I saw Beck in Toronto:

  • June 3rd, 1998, Molson Ampitheatre, Toronto.

  • February 6th, 2000, Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto (met Beck and got 2 autographs at the Edge 102 radio station before concert).

  • August 12, 2002, Ryerson Theatre, Toronto - read my review.

  • October 20, 2002, Massey Hall, Toronto - souvenirs! - review soon!

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