Thursday, November 15, 2007

Beat Happening

I have to admit, I never really liked Beat Happening. I always felt like they were missing something. Whether they were too pop for me, their lack of exciting or energetic songs, Calvin Johnson's off-key vocals and pretentious attitude, or the whole package, something seemed off. But I give Johnson major props for doing a silly, stripped down, off-key pop band his own way for so many years not really caring what the critics thought. It hasn't garnered him near the attention his record label K Records has, but he kept the band going for nearly twenty years and tons of releases and that's a hell of an accomplishment.

Beat Happening was formed by Johnson, Heather Lewis and Bret Lunsford back in 1982 in Olympia at The Evergreen State College. Around this time, the college that was previously thought of as "The Hippy College" was starting to attract a few punk rockers and DIY types that would eventually start an independent music movement. Most of Beat Happening's releases came out on Calvin's label or Sub Pop, their latest being 2003's "Music to Climb the Apple Tree By" CD, which was their second release in a row compiling old material. While the band never officially announced a brake up, they haven't recorded or played live this decade and their last two release quite some time ago compiled about everything they had previously released--if that's not a sign of being done, I don't know what is.

This photo of Calvin is from when the band played a live show with Sick and Wrong at the old Fantagraphics comic warehouse in Greenwood on September 20th, 1992 (at the same time, Pearl Jam was playing a free show at Warren Magnusen Park, go figure) . I think it was shortly before Fantagraphics moved out and the warehouse was torn down (Fantagraphics now operates out of an old house close to the Roosevelt Safeway). Weird show, but they let us bring beer in, I think it was free, and a good 100 people came. Live video footage of this show is out there, some of it is featured on the "Hooked on Comix Volume 1" DVD with a bunch of great Fantagraphics artist interviews.

  • 1984 - "Beat Happening" self-titled cassette (K Records)
  • 1984 - "Three Tea Breakfast" cassette tape (K Records)
  • 1984 - "Our Secret" 7" (K Records)
  • 1984 - Song on "Pursuit of Happiness compilation (Sound of Pig Music)
  • 1985 - "Beat Happening" self-titled LP (K Records)
  • 1985 - Song on "Let's Kiss" compilation (K Records)
  • 1985 - Song on "Distant Violins" compilation (Distant Violins)
  • 1986 - Song on "Let's Sea" compilation (K Records)
  • 1987 - "Look Around" 7" (K Records)
  • 1988 - Crushing Through 12" (53nd & 3rd Records)
  • 1988 - Beat Happening/Screaming Trees split 12" (K Records/Homestead)
  • 1988 - "Jamboree" LP (K Records/Rough Trade)
  • 1988 - "Honey Pot" 7" (53nd & 3rd Records)
  • 1988 - Song on "Display Items for Supermarkets" compilation (Toytown)
  • 1988 - Song on "Good Feeling" compilation (53nd & 3rd Records)
  • 1988 - Song on "Sub Pop 200" box set compilation (Sub Pop)
  • 1989 - "Black Candy" LP (K Records/Rough Trade)
  • 1989 - "Froggy Eyes" 7" (Chemical Imbalance)
  • 1990 - "Nancy Sin" 7" (K Records)
  • 1990 - "Red Head Walking" 7" (Sub Pop)
  • 1991 - "1983-1985" LP (K/Feel Good All Over)
  • 1991 - Dreamy LP (K Records/Sub Pop)
  • 1991 - Split cassette with The Vaselines (K Records)
  • 1991 - "Sea Hunt" 7" (K Records/Bi-Joopiter)
  • 1991 - Song on "Pluralism-D" compilation (Bi-Joopiter)
  • 1991 - Song on "The Grunge Years" compilation (SubPop)
  • 1991 - Song on "International Pop Convention" compilation (K Records)
  • 1992 - You Turn Me On LP (K Records/Sub Pop)
  • 1992 - "Not a Care in the World" 7" (SubPop)
  • 1992 - Song on "Pop Com Convention Sampler" compilation (SubPop)
  • 1992 - Song on "Soluble Fish" compilation (Homestead)
  • 1992 - Song on "fternoon Delight compilation (SubPop)
  • 1992 - Song on "An Empty Threat" compilation (Atom Records)
  • 1993 - Song on "International Hip Swing" compilation (K Records)
  • 1993 - Song on "Revolution Come and Gone" compilation (SubPop)
  • 1993 - Song on "Say Hello to the Far East" compilation (Sony Japan)
  • 1993 - Song on an untitled compilation with The Cannanes & The Ex (Kommotion)
  • 1995 - Song on "Screaming Life" compilation (SubPop)
  • 1999 - "Angel Gone" 7" (International Pop Underground)
  • 2002 - Crashing Through box set of all past releases (K Records)
  • 2003 - Music to Climb the Apple Tree box set of b-sides and rarites (K Records)

No comments: