On April 22nd, Switzerland’s infamous Reverend Beat-Man will be playing the Garage on Beck with Nicole Izobel Garcia. They are touring the United States to support their new album Baile Bruja Muerto, released on Beat-Man’s label Voodoo Rhythm Records. The two will take their stage dressed as a reverend (Beat-Man) and a nun (Garcia). Not a reverend in the traditional sense, Beat-Man says, “Reverend comes from the German word Revereieren .That means I tell you a story, and I thought that’s pretty cool.” Much of their act is about presenting a striking image and a unique sound— aka Blues-Trash, a term coined by Beat-Man. It’s musical style that mixes the haunting sensations of garage-like-blues with surreal folk music. Garica says, “our voices are so yin and yang, but we are both very dark in our music and performance. If you got to know us you’ll see we are similar because we both have this dark side but are also quite angelic.”
In Switzerland, Beat-Man is renowned for his contributions to the arts and was honored with the Canton of Berne Special Recognition Award in 2007. Although he observed a wealth of creativity in the Swiss underground scene, he acknowledges that historically, Switzerland was not as well-known for its music industry as other European countries are. Beat -Man says “We [don’t]have not a huge rock n’ roll history —even in the mainstream music. We are not important spot in the music history. I took it as my job to change that.” Inspired by a will to act, Beat-Man founded Voodoo Rhythm Records in 1992— a label known for releasing an impressive catalogue of experimental and wild sounding music. “I’m a music fan and go to concerts almost every day to see and hear everything ,” says Beat-Man. “I make music too and I found nobody that releases my[kind of] music because it’s too strange and too risky for a music market that counts [on] selling.”
Admittingly, rock ‘ roll is not quite the quite profitable genre it used to be. That doesn’t concern Beat-Man though. “Rock n’ roll is not made to make money,” says Beat-Man. “All I want is that all the people coming to our shows see something different and maybe that I can show them something that they never seen before.” It’s with this motive that Beat-Man hopes audiences attending his shows will want to create their own music.
Apart from running Voodoo Rhythm Records, Beat-Man expresses his passion for music through playing in bands such as the psychobilly group The Monsters, performing as a one man band and even DJing. Beat-Man says, “I prefer the strange kind of DJ sets where I play the Shags or Johan Sebastian Bach or Carcass or Talk Records from the 20’s” His love though, is within the spinning discs that evoke the sounds of rock n’ roll music—especially from the 1950’s. For him, this music symbolizes the core of a catalyst for the youth revolution that brought together teenagers from all races and backgrounds to bridge divides and create a new future for themselves.
This kind of devotion to rock n’ roll garnered the attention of Garcia. Already a music coinsurer, she had been a fan of Beat-Man’s group The Monster from an early age. Garcia says, “About 4 years ago I saw he was coming to LA for a gig. I don’t know what came over me but I had the balls to write to him and asked if he wanted to play a couple songs together— I’d add the organ and we could play some songs he usually can’t play live as a one-man-band.” Beat-Man replied, and after a meeting at a Chuck E. Cheese Garcia was invited to tour.
Since then, the duo have played in countries all over the world, but the United States represents a real treat. Unlike Switzerland, The United States represents a vast landscape with many diverse underground music scenes to perform for. Beat-Man says, “in the USA there is an amazing underground scene.” The connection to different music scenes is something that Beat-Man and Garcia feel profoundly. For them, their sermon of rock n’ roll and blues knows no borders. According to them it is welcomed by audiences with a keen familiarity of hunger for the different and strange. “You know underground music and scenes are all over the world [are] the same,” says Beat-Man. “You can go to Iran or Poland or Chile. We are all over, the same. The underground movement has no borders. We are the people that can think globally the best.” Beat-Man suggests that this kind of bond between music communities could be taught to the mainstream, but the message might be tainted by for-profit motives.
Rolling into Salt Lake on April 22nd, Beat-Man and Garcia will perform songs from Baile Bruja Muerto. , On this Sunday night, they will play as if they are preaching the holy gospel of blues-trash and rock n’ roll. Beat-Man says ““Everybody that comes to one of our shows will be saved and converted.” Audiences can expect to hear tracks like “Come Back Lord” and “Black Metal.” “Come Back Lord” is upbeat track with a pronounced organ sound. It’s the kind of tune that will evoke the dancefloor to shutter. In contrast “Black Metal” is a kind of dark bluesy ballad. A warning though, this performance is not for the faint hearted, but there will never be anything else quite like it. Joining Beat-Man and Garcia for this show will be local acts garage-punkers Los YaYaz and one-man-garage-blues band Jacob Skeen. Doors open at 6:00pm. For more follow the event page.