The Beltones Biography
Last updated: 01/21/2005 12:15:58 AM
Well it didn't seem like so long ago but... The Beltones got their start in 1994 when two drinking buddies in Fort Lauderdale decided to stop fucking around in other people's bands and make the kind of music they listened to while spilling shit on each other. They were both guitar players, so they had the easiest bandmates to find taken care of off the bat. Now they needed a rhythm section. Bill's girlfriend at the time had a little brother named Kevin. He couldn't play any instrument whatsoever, but he had a ton of heart and so much balls he needed a wheelbarrow to walk down the street. He got hold of a kit and began working on keeping a beat. Just one left, and by the suggestion of Chuck Loose, the boys picked up Chris Arocha, bass player for Class War and South Florida's premier punk photographer. He was the old man of the band but you wouldn't know it to listen to him talk about robots. He loved his robots so. Now that they had a band they went about banging out a couple songs and put out a demo tape entitled "Please god make them stop". If you've ever heard it you'll understand the title. This demo was so awful that it attracted the attention of Tim Pagones, who was looking for more terrible bands to be on his Fort Lauderdale record label, Far Out Records. The boys weren't sure if they were quite ready to be doing more than practicing, but the flashy world of the big time music industry proved all too tempting for these simple buffoons, and they dove head first into the debauchery we call rock and roll with their first record, the 4 song 7 incher "Lock and Load". This record was a huge regional hit.
At least in the region known as Bill's living room, where he played it 3 or 4 times before throwing it at his roommate222s cat. Word spread all the way to that hotbed of the record industry, South Carolina, and Just Add Water records put the Beltones on their follow-up to the extremely so-so compilation "Water Music" entitled "I Can't Believe It's Not Water". Pure genius. With the Beltones' help, this record far surpassed its predecessor's mediocrity, and quite frankly smelled like an open ass. Jason Duncan was so impressed with the boys he invited them do a single for his label. What followed was the unforgettably two-sided, paper-labeled "My Old Man" single, which had songs and lyrics and that shit. Somehow this cat named Mark Rainey, who was starting up a label in San Francisco with money he earned licking stamps for lepers at a slaughterhouse (I dunno, he said it was the truth), heard the boys' tunes and wanted to make sweet music with them. Bill thought he seemed kind of queer, but the other guys convinced him to go along with them and agree to make a record with this rube. Apparently they had maxed out their credit cards at Seminole bingo and figured they could pawn the hot tub that all TKO records bands receive upon being signed. Unfortunately for them they weren't "signed", and the Forgotten had used up all the Jacuzzis filming "Kid Vegas: The San Francisco Freak". They recorded a new 4 song EP called "Naming My Bullets", and redid the old songs and put it all on a CD only release called "On Deaf Ears". They went on tour with the Workin' Stiffs and the Truents and drank a little. Not too much, they're pro and shit. Then 3 of them moved to Gainesville after watching "University Co-eds vol. 12". Chris couldn't come along because he had a new wife and his rendering business was starting to take off in a big way. Strangers in a strange town, and without a bass player, the boys were rescued by a guy named Will Thomas. Will was a drummer, and hadn't played the bass, but was down for the cause and assured the boys he could pick it up, at least for a little while. It turned out he wasn't full of shit, and pulled it off quite well. Then the shit hit the fan. Keeping it in the family proved to be too much for the Beltones, and after a heated fight vaguely having something to do with the girl who was Kevin's sister and Bill's old lady, and a lot more to do with Bill's being an overbearing bastard, Kevin Crook left the band a month before a U.S. tour without a drummer. Actually it left them without a bass player. Will was an okay bass player, but he was (and is) a badass on the skins and shit. Naturally he slid to drums, and the hunt was on to find a guy to play bass who'd be willing to spend a month in a van with the ugliest men in show business. The man to fill those shoes was James Ross, and everything was set. He was the only guy who got laid on tour. James quit the band shortly after to take karate lessons or something, and the boys got their buddy Mike Moody to jump onboard. This story with be continued shortly.......