In what may be one of the strangest misconceptions in popular culture today, many musicologists continue to insist that the legendary Lost Beer LP [the group reportedly considered both 'Mo' Beer' or ‘Where’s My Six?’ as titles] was the work of “normal” people -- people like you and I. Rock historians have even gone so far as to suggest the record was a sort of elaborate ‘in-joke’ hatched by a group of overeducated, post-punk curmudgeons with pedestrian names like Sean, Russ, Ted, Jim, Paul, Jerome… or even Joe!
It is comforting to believe that a Cantabridgian Neverland once existed wherein a musical socialism briefly held sway, created by a talented group of zealots in their mid-twenties with disparate stylistic inclinations; a place where half a dozen Ivy League diplomas hung mouldering while each citizen, driven to realize their personal vision, would combine and recombine to help one another realize diverse – and sometimes perverse – musical desires. Comforting, too, to picture that such a complex, confused group of individuals could produce a mind-boggling array of recorded work, including the Lost Beer LP, using merely chutzpah and sub-standard equipment.
But comfort be damned! The facts bespeak an ugly wound festering with ulcerous lies that throbs for the clean air of truth (and a highly ironic press release). For those who still cling to the belief that engineer Joe Harvard [whose primary technical talent was reportedly in self-medication] or his cronies had any hand in the writing of this sublime music the facts are as follows ...
HISTORY OF BEER
Far from possessing Yale or Harvard diplomas [not even from the Extension Program], the future members of the band Beer met on the dock by Pier Two in Jeffries Point, East Boston; they were an unusual group to say the least to be boarding a scow headed to Spec, the garbage island [formerly located in Boston’s Inner Harbor]. The Townie sailors manning the barge were joined on the dock that day by a defrocked Methodist Minister known as “Skipper”, a pair of rat-hunting Italian-American twins named Romulus and Remus who suffered from severe dementia, and a small group of Bavarian tourists, who as fate would have it had been the house band for a large German brewery back home. These latter had been bilked into purchasing tickets for a “Deluxe Harbor Cruise” by the barge’s captain, Mal Sineo, a former anti-busing agitator once imprisoned briefly for operating an unsanctioned Elvira “Pixie” Palladino fan club. Accordionists by nature, the Bavarians were, for convenience sake, traveling with a Melodica and a pair of little white Casio keyboards – a fateful choice of luggage as it turned out.
While Captain Mal was giving the Bavarians their “sightseeing tour”, and the crew were busy unloading on Spec, the barge disappeared. Authorities later discovered that it had been stolen by Creationist extremists, and eventually foundered in a vain attempt to reach the Museum of Science, which they hoped to “knock over on it’s side with one mighty blow to let all the science lies blow out” (Creationists are not the smartest fanatics).
Before the shock of being stranded on Spec had even begun to subside a terrific storm blew up out of nowhere, and the need for quick shelter forced the group into the Piles, where they found the smell overwhelming and the rats in an uproar due to the weather. The defrocked Methodist fell out with the boat’s captain, Mal, over who should actually be called “Skipper”, each man suffering an injury which would required them to wear an eye patch in the future, and Devon Jacksfferson [the future Nut Brown Beer and the boat's only African-American], the scion of an indecisive family, was bitten by a rat. Then things started to get bad.
Thanks to an insightful article in the New England Journal of Frighteningly Abnormal Psychology we know that it was at this juncture that the rat hunting twins would take the reigns of power to insure the party’s survival in the Piles, where they ate broiled rodent and hydrated with beer that washed up from shipwrecked booze Cruise vessels, including a particularly noxious batch of Old Frothingslosh [the Stale Pale Ale with the Foam on the Bottom]* which the storm had regurgitated, as it were, from the general direction of Southie. After a mere three weeks on this diet a rare condition known as Mass Post-Production Pre-Traumatic Stress Disorder manifested itself upon the group, who had been passing the time drinking Old F, noodling on their Casios and making rat bone jewelry.
Suffering from complete PPPTSD-related amnesia, the castaways found they remembered little beyond what they could read on their bottles, although they had retained a certain child-like facility on their Casios keyboards. They took new names, sharing a surname like the Ramones before them, becoming Lager, Pilsner, Porter, Stout, Light, Nut Brown, Near, Skunky and Al [the band’s poorest speller] Beer.
And so the rat-hunting, Casio-playing survivalist group we know as Beer was born.
They had been given up as lost, but in the immortal last words of Contessa Therese Di Versellis “A woman who can fart is not yet dead!”** By the time they were accidentally rescued by the Coast Guard the album you now hold / see had been written in it’s entirety, and Beer returned to bless the world with this gaseous emission of an album.
Soon after their return to civilization, in late 1984, the group capped a four-day, riotously drunken tour of East Cambridge bars by falling through the screen door into the kitchen at 117 Columbia Street, Cambridge, MA, while trying to urinate in the garden. As fate would have it this was the home of So-So Studios, and they decided to stay and record while Nut Brown, the handy one, repaired the door.
Afterward the group refused to return for the masters or the final mixes, having either discovered that engineer “Joe Harvard” [clearly an alias] did not drink beer, or simply forgotten the way back.
It was during this time at So-So that the Beer LP song rights were purchased [reputedly for a case of beer per song per member] by certain unscrupulous Columbia Street residents, which explains how their names made it onto the credits and some of the ensuing confusion regarding the history of the band. Any other relation to that household is purely coincidental.
Rumors about Beer in later years cannot be substantiated, although one source insists they wrote and recorded a second LP [‘Makes Me Pee’], all of it during a blackout, which they were subsequently unable to recall or perform. Another source has written that “after a period of therapy the Bavarians returned to Germany and the others formed the psychedelic group Weed”.
All we can be sure of -- besides the certainty that this LP was NOT made by "normal people", at least not as this writer understands normal -- is the Lost Beer LP exists despite all that is natural and sober in the world ... and the world is a drunker place for it.
Rock Historian and former member of the Ugly Incident Band
* a real beer, the cheapest available when this author was in college
** then she died
released December 10, 2011
written by Beer. produced by Beer.
All songs c. Pilsener, Porter, Lager, Nut Brown, Skunky & Al Beer
engineered at So-So Studios, 117 Columbia St. Cambridge MA on 1/4" Fostex 8-track tape by Joe Harvard.
As many as 4 microphones were used at a time!
all rights reserved