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Entry date: 4-29-2024 – Another Magic Monday – Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,


What will today bring? Sweet relief, I hope. No more Suns.


It wasn’t a blowout. I guess there is that, but the Suns couldn’t even come up with a win when they kept it somewhat close. Brad Beal? What happened?




The weekend was a long one, but good. It felt nice to tackle something unfamiliar like drywall and come up with a result that I feel pretty good about. On to the next step, which will also be something new, too. When all is said and done, I will know how to redo a bathroom (as long as Ryan is around to do the plumbing).




Tiki people must like to spend money. I visited the Arizona Tiki Oasis for a bit to say hi to a few people who are involved with it and I couldn’t believe the prices of stuff that was being sold there. I found a really great mug I wanted to get for Rhondi, but the motherfucker was $175. Don’t they know I’ve been remodeling two bathrooms?




Another question of the day: Will the Cocaine Baby be there? We shall see.




Back in the day, especially for people who were into music that was not being played on the radio here in Phoenix, sometimes you took a chance on a record. In this case, I bought a record thinking it was another band I had heard on a mix tape that a friend of mine made for me in 1985. They must have had similar names, or I had gotten the names mixed up, which was definitely something I did a lot back then, pre-internet.


I found Beefeater’s Plays for Lovers for $2.99 at Zia Records early into my junior year. I spent some of my hard-earned Taco Bell money on it. When I got the record home, I was very disappointed. It was not the hardcore punk rock I thought it was going to be. In fact, it was nothing like what I was hoping for at all.


Even though I thought about taking it back, I let it play.


Plays for Lovers is a weird record. Even Liam, my now 16-year-old son, said as much when he heard “A Dog Day” through “Assholes Among Us” in the car when I picked him up from work yesterday. I wasn’t quite ready for this record in 1985, but I kept it. Every once in a while, I would take it out and listen to it. Sometimes, I would even share it with friends just to get their reaction.


Often, I would put a song from it on a mixed tape just to mess with someone’s head. It was usually either “Satyagraha” which ends side one or “Assholes Among Us” from side two. I gravitated towards those the fastest, although the overtly political nature of the record thanks to songs like “Reaganomix” and “Mr. Silverbird” also charmed me more and more over the years.


Now my ears hear a lot of interesting things going on with Beefeater.


First and foremost, I’m typically not a fan of slap bass. I like it when it is well done but I wouldn’t say that it is particularly well done on this record. It’s there, though, and even though it is a bit sloppy at times, It works for me. Plays for Lovers is probably not the best mixed or engineered record from the Dischord catalog so it might not be the bass player’s fault.


To my ears now, I hear bits of Minuteman, Bad Brains, and Red Hot Chili Peppers happening here, although I’m guessing the dudes in Beefeater were probably not listening to a lot of the Peppers in 1985. I don’t think many people were just yet, but it’s possible somebody in Beefeater had a copy of the band’s eponymous debut LP. 


The elements of each of the bands I mentioned that are there are all good qualities. Beefeater had a similar political vent to Minutemen and fans of that disjointed kind of jazz punk attack will probably enjoy this record. The Bad Brains connection is probably just the reggae/punk mix that is prevalent in a lot of songs, plus Beefeater plays really fast at times. I have no doubt those guys were digging on some Bad Brains.


I can only imagine how crazy a Beefeater show was back in the mid-1980s. I think the band only existed from like 1984 to 1986, so it was a fast-burning candle. Some of the dudes went on to other bands, of course, but the DC scene was ripe during those years, for sure.


As I’ve been driving around listening to the record again for the first time in years, I listen to the vocals and keep thinking that the Red Hot Chili Peppers would have been so much better if they had canned Anthony Kiedis and signed up Tomas Squip from Beefeater. There are a lot of similarities between the two, but Squip had better time and an expanded vocal range.


Eventually, Dischord put out a CD that had both of the full-length Beefeater albums on one disc. I happen to love the House Burning Down stuff a lot. I bought this right away, too.


The sound of House Burning Down is far superior to Plays for Lovers, although the energy is very similar. If you listen to them back-to-back, the only thing that is really super noticeable is the sound quality. The two records flow together really well.


The opener, “Just Things” is fantastic. So is “One Soul Down.” It reminds me a lot of Minutemen.


There are so many flavors on the CD. It’s a shame that more people aren’t listening to this stuff anymore. I think a lot of young folks would dig this record. It’s got energy, socially conscious lyrics, and you can hear the progression of the band.


One of the other highlights is a pretty killer cover of “Manic Depression” by Jimi Hendrix. They called it “Maniac D.” on the Plays for Lovers record cover, but it is pretty nicely done.


Check it out.




See you tomorrow.

Weird. This was "Two sardines in a can talking about sports." AI, you're weird.

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