Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Sound engineering by Mike Gentry
The Beets are a band that doesn't care too much about too many things. Or do they? They don't like many other bands and they seem to be living strictly for their own music and the aesthetic eccentricities that can be co-opted into that. Already, even as a band with just one full-length album and a 7-inch out and into the world, these kids from New York have shaped a distinct style all their own artistically. While riding some of the newfangled, the sloppier and the more aloof the better fad of young groups, The Beets are poised to remain something memorable with wonderfully cartoonish visuals - both lyrically and in their packaging. Starting with the merch, artist and band member Matthew Volz draws these absurdly witty and crude panels of degenerates or fringe players in the pop culture lexicon of by-gone years to make a quick-hitting commentary on overall society - or at the least, the one that the members of the Beets seem to find themselves living in. There's a rough sketch of Andy Kaufman wearing his Jerry Lawler-inflicted neck brace and his Women's World Wrestling Champion belt, getting arm-barred by a female/gorilla wrestler, telling him, "It's okay to lose," which also happens to be the title of the song on the b-side to "Don't Fit In My Head!" to which Kaufman shouts, "NEVER!" The front cover of the 7-inch explains the a-side of the release as, "A song about ideas, and using a drill and a couple M-80s to get them out, by The Beets." The band's full-length, "Spit In The Face Of People Who Don't Want To Be Cool," also brandishes an explanation right there on the front cover, "A Collection Of 12 Songs About Being Cool, By The Beets." The band takes great pains to be in touch with their feelings: with what makes them skull-rocking bored, with that gets them high, with what keeps them up at night, with who their friends are and what they're doing at that given minute. They dive into a subconscious that gets wacky quickly and a lot of what they sing about and scribble on their record sleeves seems to be coming from a similar place as the ideas for Ignatius J. Reilly might have come to John Kennedy Toole as he was sitting down to write "A Confederacy of Dunces." The Beets, with their loose stitches, exhausted diction and a piccolo, seem to be commenting on the knuckleheads out there who make it easy to laugh, as well as making it easy to give up on people in general. There's a feeling of if you can't beat 'em, join 'em that permeates through these songs of willful abandonment, of just forgetting to shower, wearing whatever's cleanest and just saying that conventions be damned and that you're going to go down with the ship. "Don't Fit In My Head" s concerned with thinking too much, having too many worries and thus solving them by letting "my brains go wrong," exploding out of the head so that others can "drink 'em up so you can have ideas." It's not a form of suicide, just a way to be gladly free of the useless thoughts that come from overstimulation, something that none of us can escape. The Beets are hoarders of the sublime feelings of being lost, wrecked and wretchedly bored and not knowing what's going to come of any of it. So they want re-runs of professional wrestling matches from the 1980s instead, making that an honest day's work.