The Deadbeats are in a class of their own; if you didn’t see them back in the day in LA, you missed one of the most visually and sonically dramatic bands of the era. In November, the Deadbeats w/Geza X played the Dangerhouse Reunion and stole the show. Punk Rock Sewing Circle is honored to host the Deadbeats on their first sojourn to SF
This week, on Friday September 25, The Deadbeats/ w Geza X are traveling north for the first time to play at SF Punk Renaissance in celebration of the 40th Anniversary of Punk; don’t miss this rare opportunity to seize the moment and witness this incredible band
The Deadbeats are in the process of completing an LP.. it will be worth the wait!
Courtesy of Dangerhouse Records – A History of the Deadbeats
DB: The musicianship of the young men who comprised the Deadbeats was a joy to behold. Scott Guerin and his brother Shaun played as extensions of the same self, and the band also served to unleash Geza X and Pat Delaney on the world. Their stage act musically and visually confounded every cliché and preconception about what “punk rock” meant. Their unique, driving sound consisted of treated sax and fuzz guitar layered over flawlessly executed intricate rhythm patterns.
Octavio Pretentious: I’m the cat who designed all those Deadbeats flyers that are probably still hanging on your wall. I first came into contact with the band through Cathie Deadbeat. She was the singer’s girlfriend and did the band’s makeup. You might even say she was a silent co-conspirator in their musical/non-musical assault on the L.A scene. She helped define the Deadbeat look and, brother, I’ll tell you the Deadbeats looked like no other band. At least not until the Dickies got an eyeful of them. They shared a bill at the Masque. The Dickies showed up in your typical T-shirt and jeans and did Ramones and Sex Pistols covers. (See Slash #6 for proof…a picture’s worth a thousand words). The Deadbeats came on and did the Deadbeats. No more T-shirts and jeans for the Dickies.
Bands may have tried to cop their look, but nobody could cop their sound. Hell, maybe nobody wanted to. On one flyer Brendan Mullen described the band as Bill Haley meets Captain Beefheart in the Theater of the Absurd. Another critic stated that they wanted to confuse. Untrue, untrue. It is my never-so-humble belief that they wanted the masses to share in the joke, but their audiences were just too stupid to get it.
Still, anyway you slice it, the Deadbeats were different. The bass player was a gibbering idiot, but boy could he play. (Some say this was an act.) Slash magazine called the sax player a poindexter squawking on a horn. They had an androgynous drummer named Shaun. (Geddit? Could be a girl’s or a boy’s name). He got several offers to join all-girl bands. (No, not the Go-Go’s.) According to Geza, punk boys secretly fantasized about him, never knowing “it” was a boy. One even claimed his roommate had wet dreams over him. Basic Black magazine called the singer a cross between David Bowie and Felix Unger. Go figure!?!? And what can you say about Geza X? A grown man performing radical psychodrama on himself nightly in front of a live audience. Needless to say, mental illness prevailed.
Unfortunately most people never got to witness this spectacle as the band never made it out of L.A. One rumour has it that Geza’s mommy (the real one) wouldn’t let him leave the city. Jeez, if you had a son like Geza, would you encourage him to stay at home?
Scott Guerin: If not for a string of chance events the Deadbeats may never have come into existence. My brother was asked to play drums for a band called The Whores for the battle of the bands sequence in Cheech and Chong’s Up In Smoke movie. Except he went and got himself grounded for cutting class too much and couldn’t do it. So I filled in for him. This lineup was scheduled to play the Whisky but then the singer was forced to back out under the advice of his lawyer. It seems he was involved in a lawsuit with the Whisky so playing there would constitute a conflict of interest. There was only one course of action to take. I moved to vocals and my brother was brought back to fill the drum slot. For me as a singer this was literally on-the-job training as I had never even thought about singing before and truthfully was pretty awful. After a few sporadic shows our guitarist Hilary Haines up and quit and moved to San Francisco. Pat Delaney and I decided to change the name of the band to the Deadbeats.
Nickey Beat (drummer for the Weirdos) had the fucking nerve to recommend one Geza X to us and against better judgement we listened. Geza had just been booted out of the Bags for farting out of key or something equally criminal. I may have been responsible for the original sound and concept for the band but the addition of Geza gave us a rawer, harder edge than we ever had before.
Now as for the breakup of the band, it was down to the usual clash of egos and an over-dependence on substances by certain members that eventually caused the band to implode.
Geza X: Besides the musical sophistication, the best thing about the Deadbeats was the staging. There were no bands doing elaborate things with costumes and props in the early punk scene and we did amazing visuals. Scott was the weirdest dresser on the scene, someone who might wear an impeccable chef’s outfit to a gig or even a party; and he had a complete collection of those novelty items you order from the back of comic books, like fake dog doo and whoopee cushions. Some people mistook his style for Glitter and that was a no-no in the early days but the cool people all got that it was dada.
One time at the Masque, as an intro to the song “Brainless“, we wheeled out a mannequin on a cart and proceeded to cut its skull open to reveal several handfuls of blood drenched cow’s brains, some of which ended up on an unsuspecting audience. Somehow the photographs of that show came out with that magic glow you see in the finest performance art books and we used them on many a flyer.
Another time before a show at the Whisky, we were at the beach and there had been a major storm the night before. I collected a huge mass of abnormally large seaweed and washed it off so it was slimy but clean. During the show that night, I went in to the “Mean Mr. Mommyman” routine to the usual heckling from the “real” punks (the lizard brains who used to come on weekends and show how cool they were). So I ran behind my amp and grabbed two hefty trash bags, from which I heaved a lot of seaweed right into the audience. At first they thought it was rubber, but when it made contact and the smell got around, panic set in and everyone moved way back so there was a large open space in the front. I said something smartarse like “Oh, did it get on you? Just wait a minute…” and ran up the stairs to the backstage area where I had hidden the piece de resistance from everyone (including the band). I came back down the stairs thump, thump, thump dragging a single, perfectly shaped seaweed bulb, the kind with a pointy ball and fins, except this was the granddaddy of all life on earth, being about 11 feet long and about 3 feet wide. To everyone’s fascinated revulsion, I chucked it into the slam pit where it exploded in a pile of goo. There was a moment of absolute silence after that. Somehow, that stands out as one of the most hilarious moments of my life.
Pasquale Amodeo: I’ve always thought it appropriate that I’d be lobotomized before gigs and transformed into a babbling idiot savant bassist unable to pronounce one single word yet play this incredibly intense music.
Shaun Guerin: The scene was so new and experimental and it didn’t matter if anyone could really play their instruments. I remember being at the Masque and watching everyone slamming against each other, having a good time, never realizing what kind of movement they were involved in. It was just something to do.
I’ll never forget the time my brother, Scott, kicked Geza off the stage at the Whisky for doing really corny rock star poses, and the cable, still attached to his amp, pulled it off the speaker cabinet. It came crashing to the ground yet still kept on working. Geza continued to play from down in the audience as though nothing had happened.