Parent-friendly punk 

Rowdy and fun, Beat Beat Beat still makes nice

Life as a punk rocker is not for sissies. Over a round of Pabst Blue Ribbon at the North Highland Pub, three members from Beat Beat Beat describe a life full of stabbings, conspicuous substance use, slutty girls and knocked-out Marines.

Formed two-and-a-half years ago, Beat Beat Beat features Josh "Savage" Martin (guitar and lead vocals), Warren "Kicks Chordell" Bailey (guitar and vocals), Stephen "Riff Rose" Hutton (guitar), Brandon "Frantic" Greene (bass) and Mike "Bison Beavers" Koechlin (drums). They all play in other punk rock bands, too. Greene and Koechlin play in the Frantic. Hutton and Martin play in the ingeniously titled Knife and the Stabs. Martin plays in the Carbonas.

Beat Beat Beat and the Carbonas often perform together, and many of the aforementioned misadventures came from a joint national tour last summer.

"That was a really good tour," Bailey and Hutton say in unison.

"We had to sleep in a tent a few times because people heard stories about us and wouldn't let us sleep in their houses any more," Hutton says.

So what's the difference between all of these bands?

"Do you mean in terms of sound?" Bailey asks. "Maybe we have a little bit more of a rock 'n' roll sound ... two different but similar veins of punk, you know? To us, there's really not much difference, but there's a difference."

"The Carbonas are much more professional and less irresponsible than us," Martin chimes, noting that the Carbonas are signed to Memphis label Goner Records.

"We're kind of their asshole little brothers," Hutton adds.

Beat Beat Beat is inspired by "Beat, Beat, Beat," a song by the Jabbers -- an early band of the late, notorious vocalist and onstage defecator, G.G. Allin.

"There are too many influences for us to aspire to sound like one thing," Bailey says. "Everybody comes in with their feel and it sounds the way it does, you know? We get compared to a lot of different stuff, from early '80s American hardcore to '70s punk and rock 'n' roll shit."

All of the guys are avowed musicians who have played in bands since high school. When it formed, it drew the best players from, as Martin puts it, "all the other shitty bands we were in." After recording its first single, the "Cheap Time" 7-inch for Atlanta label Douchemaster Records, Beat Beat Beat sent a copy to Portland, Ore., label Dirtnap Records (best known for releases by the Epoxies and the Ergs).

"We asked them what they thought of it, and they said they'd be interested in an album," Bailey says.

The group's first album, Living in the Future, hit the streets on Halloween. But it's not the dunderheaded hardcore trash you'd expect. Some of the arrangements are imaginative: "Don't Tell Me Now" is a Replacements-style power-pop track, and "Sinking Slow" is a ragged blues tune about lost love and drug addiction.

"We know we can play more than four-chord punk rock," Hutton says. "Older people that know a lot about music, the record snobs, they understand why we're a good band."

Living in the Future's subtle variety explains why Beat Beat Beat affiliates with a wide swath of raw-edged Atlanta bands, from degenerate garage-rockers the Black Lips to glammed-up punks the Heart Attacks.

"[We play for anyone] from kids in mohawks to 30-year-old guys dressed normal to little teenage girls, to our parents," Hutton says. "Our crowd is pretty rowdy, too."

"A lot of times, we have to pay extra money for security at the Drunken Unicorn because we always have people fighting at our shows," Bailey adds. "We have a diverse enough crowd that they don't always get along."

"I'll say one thing," Martin adds. "All the bands that we've been in, whenever we let our parents listen to it, they hated it. But now, when we play them [Living in the Future], they're like, 'Wow, this is cool.'"


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