Tag Archives: Coronavirus

Preaching The Gospel of Blues Trash with Reverend Beat-Man

Reverend Beat-Man

For over 30 years Reverend Beat-Man has practiced and preached the gospel of blues trash.  His gospel is not limited by the decadence of sex and drugs; rather it’s a philosophy that celebrates rock n’ roll and how it bridges cultural divides to connect people in a worldwide community. For Beat-Man, rock n’ roll music provides the same power of belonging that helped break down walls for American black and white teenagers in the mid-20th century. Furthermore, he believes that rock n’ roll is not just for the fashion rockers or mods. It’s for people who see that rock n roll was and still is a relevant, worldwide music revolution. Beat-Man says, “It’s a music for old and young, for black and white, for everybody and it’s not polka or Mozart. It’s now music.”

Throughout his life, Beat-Man has been a lifelong devotee to the musical world.  As a musician his relentless touring and out of this world performances leave a mark on all who witness them. Not only that, but he also runs his own label for like-minded music fanatics.   Beat-Man founded Voodoo Rhythm Records in 1992 and has since then provided a home for the strange and risky music not likely to air on the pop-centric controlled radio stations of the world.  Some impressive and unique acts to be found on Voodoo Rhythm Records include The Jackets, The Sex Organs, ET Explore Me, The Giant Robots ,and The Devils.

His passion for the weird and obscure also fuels his record collecting. Armed with a storied library of records, Beat-Man occasionally DJ;s at bars and venues.  His sets vary from Rhythm & Blues groovers to music more on the eclectic side. He hopes that his selections of music will introduce inspiring sounds to patrons looking to explore music through another dimension.  “I know people want to party and they want to dance, drink and get wasted, fuck on the toilette.” Beat-Man says, ““I’ve had that so many times I want something different.  So, I make strange music DJ sets.” During these DJ nights, one can hear bands such as The Shags, Yoko Ono, Free Jazz or even Talk records from the 1920’s. When not DJing venues, Beat-Man posts his sets on his Mixcloud.

Beat-Man’s talents for music really shines when he performs, such as playing as a solo artist, with the Monsters, collaborating with Nicole Isobel Garcia and more recently recording with the one-time project Reverend Beat-Man and The New Wave. With The New Wave, Beat-Man released the one time album Blues Trash in 2018 through Voodoo Rhythm Records.

Blues Trash combines many different sounds and genres within its grooves. Some tracks betray recognizable notions of primitive garage punk.  Other songs carry styles invoking a distinct layering of darkness with the emotional heaviness of the real folk-blues. 

The process for recording the new record provided a challenge for the musicians involved. Prior to recording, Beat-Man had all the songs written and ready to go.  All he needed to complete the project was a backing band.  To complete this album, he assembled a group comprised of some of his favorite musicians. They were Mario Batkovic, a classically trained accordionist, the drummer Julian Sartrius, and the multi-instrumentalist Resli Burri

The rest of the band were not privy to the material before recording.  Beat-Man wanted them to feel it out as they went along.  “I wanted to see what they do with what I give them,” Beat-Man says, “I gave ourselves two or three takes, but first I played it with my guitar only. I explained them what’s going on in this song and told them the feeling that you have to get if you hear that song.”

Songs like “I’ve Had Enough” and “Then We All Gonna Die” stand out on the album. “I’ve Had Enough” is a kind of political song.  Beat-Man was influenced by being fed up with the constant bombarded of ads from politicians and insurance companies trying to sell him something. Beat-Man says, “One day I just had enough. After over 53 years living in such a profit-oriented community as we are living in, one day you just see this is all a big lie.”

“Then We All Gonna Die” is a song Beat-Man spent 15 years writing and re-writing. It’s meant to be a kind of hymn sung from the perspective of Sensenmann. In the song, Sensenmann sings about what their victims did wrong in their lives. The mood of the song is heavy, with a kind of apocalyptic tone , mixing with a folk-blues trash feel.

To promote Blues Trash and Baile Bruja Muertoan album he worked on with Nicole Isobel Garcia—Beat-Man embarked on several tours between 2018 and 2019. Beat-Man is no stranger to hitting the road to perform. His dedication to his music has taken him beyond the snowy mountains of Switzerland and all over the word.  He says, “I want to explore, I want to see the world and the connections we all people have with each other.” Historically the Swiss are known for remaining isolated; however Beat-Man seeks to move past the limitations of national borders and meet others who are like-minded.

In April 2018, Beat-Man played Slovenly Recordings Debauch-A-Reno, as well as touring the United States. On April 22nd, 2018 Beat-Man and Isabel Nicole Garcia graced Salt Lake City, Utah. Beat-Man appreciated that Salt Lake City was kind of familiar to his home country. “I first thought, ‘I’m in Switzerland.’ It’s all very clean and people are pretty organized—even the homeless looked kinda healthy.” He says, “It’s small and probably everybody knows everybody. I like that. It opens your own horizon in your musical taste if you know people from the electro or hardcore or art scene.”

The show itself was a welcome surprise. The Garage On Beck had a pleasant feel of authenticity for Beat-Man. He says, “It was a club what the European American Fans try to rebuild in Europe but mostly fail.”  However, what struck him most about the show was the opening acts, Jacob T. Skeen and Los YaYaz.  “There were two opening bands. First there was a One Man band, that was fucking amazing— very unique sound and great songs” says Beat-Man. “Then the garage fuck ups from Los YaYaz . They were super cool. Just like garage punk has to be. They are terrible on the instruments and they love rock n’ roll.”

The remainder of 2018 was busy with gigs and touring. This constant playing extended into 2019 when Beat-Man found himself playing with psychobilly outfit The Monsters for another Slovenly Recordings event. This time for the We’re Loud Festival in Vietnam. The Monsters are bit different from the New Wave or his collaboration with Nicole Isobel Garcia. They are a trash rock n’ roll band, with a primitive-bluesy, yet with sonic-splitting abrasive sound. Think of them boasting a wild, caveman stomp psychobilly style, but with definitive blues trash flair.

The festival was a hit. Although rock n’ roll was admittedly not as popular in Vietnam, there were many local acts to play the festival. They included hardcore and metal bands from Vietnam and Indonesia.  “This was a blast.” Beat-Man says, “Pete from Slovenly tried to attract as many local persons as possible.”

After a brief tour in Japan with The Cavemen, Beat-Man was back in Switzerland. Not long after, the Covid 19 pandemic began occurring worldwide and lockdowns began happening in cities all over.  Keenly aware of the worsening pandemic in Italy, the Swiss government quickly acknowledged that without a cure for the virus, measures needed to be taken. On March 19, 2020, a lockdown order was issued for the Swiss population.

 While the population was ordered to be sheltered, the Swiss National TV began reaching out to local musicians to participate in the Living Room Showcase series.  Beat-Man says, “It was a job from the Swiss National TV, they told me and many other Pop Starlets and mainstream Artists in Switzerland to contribute 15-minute showcases from the living room.” What the Swiss National TV did not quite appreciate was that Beat-Man isn’t necessarily cut from the same cloth as his mainstream counterparts.

Prior to the Beat-Man man’s performance played on air, he caught the interviewer by surprise. He suggested that the lockdowns caused by a virus could give humanity a chance to slow down and think about its collective future.  “I had a live interview in front of my clip and I said that the virus is more a blessing that a punishment,” says Beat-Man. “Anyway the interviewer —I heard he is very famous in Switzerland— was very upset and as well the guy who placed me in the show.”

Beat-Man’s clip was allowed to play on National TV, but was then stopped after two minutes.  Not to be deterred, Beat-Man then released the full clip online. That way everyone could see it. In the clip, Beat-Man performs in his living room, changes into various outfits and plays unique renditions of his material, including “I’ve Had Enough.” 

Beat-Man, being fully aware of the wider implications of the pandemic, sees that Covid 19 is an extreme virus that can severely affect the elderly and those with health conditions. Unfortunately, the economic consequences of the shelter in place means businesses ,like Voodoo Rhythm Records brick and mortar shop, have to temporarily close their doors and musicians like Beat-Man’s performances are currently on hold. Needing to pay rent, Beat-Man’s ability to bring income is challenged. He says, “For me its financially very bad.  I play about 200 shows a year, 70% of my income is because of my shows, and 30% is from the label.”

During the lockdown, there are ways to support the label, which include ordering records and merchandise online, through the Voodoo Rhythm Records Facebook Page, or donating here: https://voodoorhythm.ch/.  Speaking of the support he has experienced from the wider rock n’ roll community, Beat-Man says, “Everywhere I go on this planet I see those people. It’s a good virus and it’s that virus we need at the moment.”

Not to be deterred by the setbacks caused by the Coronavirus Pandemic, Beat-Man remains busy with his label. When things open up again, Voodoo Rhythm Records is expecting to release records by Bad Mojo’s, The Sex Organs and Trixie and The Trainwrecks.  On May 14th, Voodoo Rhythm Records will cautiously open their doors. The idea is to start allowing a limited number of people at a time into to shop. For him, this is a hopeful sign that things will begin to return to a sense of normality.


Dancing Through The Evolution with Jeffery Hacker

Jeffery Hacker, Ashley Mietus and Scarlett Hacker. Photo by Clayton Holyoak (aka Goose) at Crucialfest

Jeffery Hacker has long been involved with shaping Salt Lake City’s Music Scene. His passionate presence is widely felt, whether it’s through Djing his famed Dance Evolution parties as DJ DJ/DC,  bartending and managing at Metro Music Hall, or by his enthusiastic and constant promotion of local and touring acts. For these reasons, he has earned a place as a staple in Salt Lake City’s growing underground music community.

Unfortunately, because of the Coronavirus pandemic there is a necessity for the implementation of a Statewide lockdown and quarantine. One of the consequences is Salt Lake’s nightlife coming to a complete and sudden halt. Among the many industries affected by these measure is entertainment, with venues like Metro Music Hall temporally shuttering it’s doors.

For the first time since 2004, Hacker has had to find a new gig to sustain himself and his family until Metro Music Hall opens up again. I caught up with Hacker to see how things are going. We discussed his legendary DJ nights, the importance of Salt Lake City’s nightlife, managing Metro Music Hall, meeting Peter Hook and more.

NixBeat:  You used to run a weekly DJ night called Dance Evolution. How did this night start and what kind of music did you play?

Hacker: At the time it started out of necessity.  We wanted to dance to all kinds of music and the only thing available in SLC at the time were dedicated genre nights.  Going out and hearing everything from The Faint to Usher sounded like a great time, so we just did it ourselves.  Every night always started out as indie as possible, morphing into more of a pop night around 11 and ending with as much punk, emo and metal as the crowd would let me get away with for giant sing-a-longs.  It was awesome seeing people from different social groups meeting each other and becoming friends.  We actually hosted several “DE TATTOO” days where we partnered with Goodtimes Tattoo and they just tattooed DE logos on everyone.  Seeing all the different types of people coming in bonding with their new friends is something I don’t think any of us will ever forget.

NixBeat: In a Facebook post from December 8th, 2016, it was mentioned Dance Evolution went through a lot of changes, including jail time. How did Dance Dance Evolution Evolve over time?

Hacker: As the night got bigger I always ended up catering to the masses more.  Honestly that’s my biggest regret over the years.  I think what made the night special was exposing people to music they didn’t know and changing that up to keep up with random requests took the soul of the night away.  It was still super fun, but I think the night should have gone the other direction and become 100% indie dance.  I did have a stint on house arrest for a DUI (don’t drink and drive kids) but luckily DE had built up enough DJ’s over the years to have plenty of people fill in.  I actually moved to Denver for a year as well, and even though I managed to fly back to SLC almost every week for the party. There were still some shows I wasn’t able to make it.  Thankfully Brenton Leu, Justin Hollister, Tyler Lusk and Erik Olsen came into my life and became the best party throwers this city has ever seen.  They held down the fort just fine.

NixBeat: In the same Facebook Event Post, the description mentioned that Dance Dance Evolution helped bridge communities in Salt Lake City. How did Dance Dance Evolution accomplish this?

Hacker: We threw a weekly party for over 13 years, in that time we were lucky enough to meet what feels like just about everyone in SLC.  I think our specialty was focusing on crossing genres not just in what music I played but also what guests we would bring in.  One of my favorite memories of all time was one of our infamous water slide parties.  During the summer we would get a giant 33 foot tall water slide set up on the patio and people would just go insane.  At one of these parties we had a touring death metal package performing alongside the legendary drag performer Ursula Major.  Needless to say every single person looked insanely confused as they arrived but by the end of the night literally every single person in the venue was just having a blast on the water slide with their new best friends.  It wasn’t all debauchery though, we also were lucky enough to be at the right place and right time to help some people out in need.  We’ve hosted countless benefits which really shined a light on how amazing the people in this city are, and seeing people at their best always breaks down barriers and helps people come together.  

NixBeat:  What about DJ nights do you think are important to a music community?

Hacker: I’m from a generation where “going dancing” was everything.  I met all my friends at a dance night.  I met my wife at Area 51, and hit on her by getting Max the DJ to play her song next.  I think for a lot of people going dancing at a club playing a specific type of music is how they find “their people”.  Once they become a regular they know they’ve found their home.  It becomes a part of their routine and in a lot of ways it’s their singular release from the day to day grind of their lives.  Dance nights are VITAL to the music community as a whole because they become the primary source of in-person networking.  I can’t count how many shows were booked and planned out on the patio of metro at a DE party. 

NixBeat: How did you become involved with operating Metro Music Hall and what kind of changes have you seen it go through?

Hacker: Super long and confusing story so here is a short version:  Years ago we were at the Trapp Door (which is where the Metro is currently located) and the staff was treated very unfairly by the owner so 100% of us left and went to take over a venue called Club Edge.  About two years after we took over Edge, the owners sold it and the new owners kept all of us on.  After a while there the new owners wanted a better location, so we moved to the 200 S. location and changed the name to the Metro Bar.  Again a few years later they decided they wanted a bigger location so we came full circle and moved back to the original location of the Trapp Door.  These owners eventually decided to sell as well so I begged them to sell to Will Sartain and Lance Saunders with S&S Presents.  They obliged and now I work with the best team this city has ever seen.  Slowly but surely they’ve transformed the newly named Metro Music Hall into what I honestly believe to be the greatest venue in Salt Lake.  Full circle.

NixBeat:  What kind of clientele typically attends concerts at Metro Music Hall?

Hacker: Honestly?  Every type you can imagine.  We host all manner of events so the age range varies from 21-80.  I would say the regulars could be described as open minded and enthusiastic music lovers.  It doesn’t matter what the show is, they will always be there with open ears.

NixBeat:  Metro Music hall has attracted big name and local acts to play there. Some of these acts include MC5, The Black Lips and Gary Neumann. What has been your favorite show(s) at Metro Music Hall?

Hacker: My absolute #1 show will probably forever be Peter Hook.  I get star struck super easy and usually I will shy away from acts I’m super into, but Peter was just the nicest guy ever.  Realizing I was having a normal conversation with a living legend to this day gives me butterflies.  Death From Above 1979 was another act I couldn’t believe played here.  I’ve played them multiple times a night, every night I’ve dj’d and here they were on our stage.  I felt the same way about The Faint, The PresetsCut/Copy and dozens of others.  We’ve hosted Doyle and Michael Graves of The Misfits several times too.  If 15 year old me knew that one day I’d be eating birthday cake with Doyle Wolfgang Von Frankenstein I would have died. 

NixBeat: What are some Salt Lake City bands you are currently enjoying and what about them makes them stand out?

Hacker: Choir Boy is pretty much my favorite band right now in general, so it helps that not only are they from here but several of the members work at Metro from time to time.  Mortigi Tempo, Lord Vox, Violet Temper and NVM are bringing a whole new scene to the city I think on top of being the most consistently impressive bands I’ve seen. 

NixBeat: With the onset of the Coronavirus, a lockdown order has been issued on Salt Lake City’s venues, bars and restaurants. How has this affected Salt Lake City’s nightlife and music community?

Hacker: It drove a stake through our hearts.  Right now there is absolutely nothing to be done though.

NixBeat: How are you and the rest of employees of Metro Music Hall coping with the lockdown?

Hacker: Some of us found new jobs to fill the gap until we can open again.  I luckily snagged a spot at Amazon which is my first new job since 2004, so it’s kind of fun.

NixBeat:  Are you seeing any attempts to rally behind those affected by the Coronavirus Lockdown?

Hacker: I think right now it feels like a lot of help is up in the air.  I’ve seen many groups pop up attempting to set up financial aid for musicians and serve industry people but I think right now most people are waiting on the government to figure something out. 

NixBeat: Do you think Salt Lake City’s nightlife and music scene will be able to recover from the effects of the Coronavirus?

Hacker: 100% I know we will recover fully.  Unfortunately though, I think it will take a lot longer than we might think.  I don’t want to speculate and risk being wrong, so I’ll just say it can’t come quickly enough.

Rebel Kicks, Rock N’ Roll and Life In Quarantine: Chatting with Faz Waltz’s Faz La Rocca

Since 2007, Faz Waltz has led the bovver rock revival. They present a unique style that draws from influences such as The Beatles, T-Rex, David Bowie and Queen. The result is sounds that blends contemporary rock n’ roll with pop sensibilities into a nostalgic nod toward the notions of 1970’s junkshop glam.

Over the years, Faz Waltz has never seemed to slow down. They have played numerous performances, released six albums, toured all over Europe and in 2019 made their first appearance in the United States with a brief tour, including playing at Punk Rock Bowling in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Now Faz Waltz are about to release their seventh album Rebel Kicks on April 20th 2020. After getting a preview of the new record via the Grown Up Guy/ C’Mon Liar 7”,  I contacted Faz Waltz’s frontman Faz La Rocca to learn more . We chatted about his glam rock influences, touring the States, playing the Punk Rock Bowling Music Festival, the new 7” and what life is like in Italy during the Coronavirus quarantine.

NixBeat: After previously playing in punk bands, Faz Waltz formed in 2007. What prompted you to start Faz Waltz?

Faz La Rocca: Well, I was deep into the punk rock scene but there were many punk rock bands around. I wanted to do something different. So I started a band playing the music I loved the since I was a kid — rock ‘n roll.

Nix Beat: Faz Waltz seems to blend boot-boy glam rock styles that harkons on a mix of The Beatles, T-Rex and Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie.  Where does your passion for glam come from?

Faz La Rocca : When I was 7, I discovered Queen. They instantly became my favorite band at that time so I started looking for bands that had the same feel… the Beatles were next, then I went on to find T. Rex, Bowie, Cheap Trick, ELO, Slade, and other great bands.

Nix Beat: In an article published by Louder Than War on May 8, 2016, it was stated that Faz Waltz would write and perform in English since it was considered the universal language of rock n’roll. Why do you think that is?

Faz La Rocca: Ever since I discovered rock n’ roll as a kid, my only dream was to become a musician. My favorite bands were from the UK and the US, so singing in English is the only way for me.

Nix Beat: Faz Waltz played Punk Rock Bowling in 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. How did you get involved in playing the festival?

Faz La Rocca: It all happened thanks to Ted from Spaghetty Town Records. After we were asked to play at Punk Rock Bowling, Ted took care of all the other gigs. We’ve been asked to play in the US and Canada multiple times in the past — we even had a tour planned in 2016. Touring the US and Canada is very expensive with all the  bureaucratic red tape. So we needed a big main event like Punk Rock Bowling to make the tour happen.

NixBeat: How was performing in the States compared to playing in Europe?

Faz La Rocca: It was awesome. This was my very first time in this beautiful country. We got to travel the US and we got to play our music; it was a two-for-one dream come true. Well, playing in the States is different from some European countries but similar to others. One thing was certain: everybody was super excited to see us. We really appreciate everyone who came out and rocked with us.

NixBeat: Your new single Grown Up Guy is came out February 21, 2020. What influenced the title track “Grown Up Guy?”

Faz La Rocca: Although some songs are the fruit of my imagination, many are influenced by real life. Everybody experiences some grief sometimes and it’s not obvious that somebody is there to help. So you have to fend for yourself. This makes you think you don’t need anybody else to get through. It gives you power you didn’t think you had — though in your heart you really don’t want to be alone either.

NixBeat: What are you drawing from for the song “C’mon Liar?”

Faz La Rocca:  “Come On Liar” is the perfect B Side to “Grown Up Guy,” because it’s in the bad times that you discover who is real and who is fake, “Big smiles and big lies.” It’s about friendship, real or presumed.

NixBeat: Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, the Italian government has enacted strict quarantine measures to limit the spread of the virus.  I saw that Faz La Rocca has been posting videos of himself playing songs like John Lennon’s “Isolation” via webcam. How have you been doing during the quarantine? 

Faz La Rocca: Yes, we do what we can to keep our minds busy while confined at home; playing some music, painting, reading, writing, and watching movies. Some people like me are still working during the day, but when I come home I need to do something that fills the void of no normal socializing.

NixBeat: What’s the mood like in Italy with the quarantine and how have people been coping with the stress.

Faz La Rocca: Northern Italy has been hit quite hard right now, the hospitals are fighting a big battle – they are heroes. Many people are dying and we’re not seeing the end of this yet. But Italy is strong, we’ll make it; we have a positive attitude,  we have faith in our national health service, and we follow all the directives for health security.

The world should learn from how we are living and stop underestimating this pandemic. We underestimated it when China was the only country affected because it looked so distant from us. Now it’s at a global level — what are we waiting for? Stay at home, stop all social contacts. It’s the only way to get through this, nobody is immune.

NixBeat: How has the Corona Virus Pandemic affected the music scene over there?

Faz La Rocca: The Coronavirus has totally affected the music scene. All the clubs are closed, no live shows, we can only play online from our home and all without getting paid. Many bands, clubs, and recording studios are dealing with financial issues due to the forced closure. So any help is appreciated by the bands, for example, you can buy  records and merch as long as the shipping services are in operation.

NixBeat: Faz Waltz’s new album Rebel Kicks is due to be released on April 20th, 2020. What can fans look forward to with the new record? 

Faz La Rocca: Yes, it will be released in April, pre-order is available now. For example on Rebel Kicks there’s fun as always but we also touch on some different topics. The album has some room for an introspective side too and it has a couple of very intense ballads as heard in the previous records. I love writing that pop oriented stuff.

NixBeat: Are you concerned about any delays because of the Coronavirus Pandemic? 

Faz La Rocca: No, there’s no sense in planning when dealing with this pandemic. We all have to live day by day and take all the good from this situation.

NixBeat: What plans does Faz Waltz have for the rest of the year?
Faz La Rocca: First of all, we just all want this period to end as soon as possible. Then we’ll see. We weren’t sure if we made the right move to release the album now — maybe we should have waited for a better time. But come on, life needs to go on. Even during and because of these difficult times, we’d like people to listen to our new album and feel carefree for a while. That’s what music is for! This is why I’ve been making music for all these years. We hope to put some smiles on your faces.

For more about Faz Waltz, check out their Facebook, Bandcamp and at their online shop!