I initially bought this LP about 15 years ago because it featured some pretty big No Wave luminaries. Both Don Cristensen and Jody Harris had been in one of my all-time favorite bands, The Contortions. Pat Irwin had been in 8 Eyed Spy, an early Lydia Lunch outfit. Danny Harris had been involved in an early Minneapolis surf combo called The Overtones which was one of the first releases on Twin Tone Records as well as an early member of Beat Rodeo.
I know by the way, that the concept of surf music from Minneapolis sounds ludicrous, but that is part of the appeal. Any fan of The Trashmen can explain this to you.
When I first got Guitar Beat I was not prepared for it. I dug the kitschy cover but I thought it would be a little more harder-edged due to it’s “No New York” pedigree and all. Over the years I have gone back to this album repeatedly and it has slowly become one of my all time faves. It, along with the first Romans LP, define new wave instrumental rock for me.
Pat Irwin is currently part of the backup band for The B-52′s. More interestingly, he also composes music for childrens television much like Mark Mothersbaugh from DEVO. I wonder what the deal is with ex-new wavers and kids TV? It’s kinda cool really because the aesthetic of bands like DEVO and The Raybeats can be seen on channels like Nickelodeon today.
Danny Amis went on to front the ultimate surf rock / mexican wrestling band Los Straightjackets. He is now currently on tour as Daddy-O-Grande. Make sure to see him when he hits your town.
The record is currently out of print and fetchin’ some big prices on Amazon. If you can feel summer right around the corner like I do, then this is a good time to wax up the board and listen to the space age sounds of The Raybeats!
1. Tight Turn
2. Big Black Sneakers
3. Tone Zone
4. International Operator
5. Calhoun Surf
6. Guitar Beat
8. Piranha Salad
9. Holiday Inn Spain
10. Andy’s + 1
11. The Backstroke