I’m just going to rip off this news paper report I stumbled across because, wow. It’s really cool that the first ablum, with a hand drawn logo, from a band that never made it on the national scene, has been approved to be published as part of the 33 1/3 book series wehre authors discuss albums that influenced their lives at length. This sort of thing is reserved for In Utero, Paranoid, Harvest, Pet Sounds, not quirky indie bands from Olympia…
The below is originally written by Briana Alzola:
Bryan C. Parker has been obsessed with music since elementary school and has always been on the hunt for something new to listen to.
One day, the native Texan was perusing a record store in Austin and picked up an album by The Microphones, a musical project fronted by Anacortes-based musician Phil Elverum. On the album he noticed a logo featuring the letter K.
Over the years, he picked up more albums with the same logo, including one by Beat Happening, the ’80s group that included Anacortes’ Bret Lunsford.
The K logo belonged to K Records, founded by Beat Happening member Calvin Johnson. Parker started researching K Records and started coming to the Northwest to attend the Anacortes summer music festival (which over the years has taken the name What the Heck Fest and the Anacortes Unknown Music Series).
“I’m the kind of person that likes to dig deeper,” Parker said. “I looked into what came before, what the label was and how it came to be.”
He has posted blogs he’s run about Beat Happening and other K Records groups that he though were important to the music culture.
At the beginning of last year, he decided to submit a proposal to the 33 1/3 book series, in which writers explore an important record in their lives.
The series had an open call for submissions and Parker proposed a book on “Beat Happening,” the first album released by K Records. A few hundred people submitted proposals and from those 14 were signed to write books, one of which was Parker.
This book is Parker’s first but he has written blogs, music reviews and more music criticism in the Austin area. He said he enjoys documenting what is happening with independent music.
A book release party at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 25 will be hosted by Watermark Book Co. at Anacortes Music Channel, 216 Commercial Ave.
Parker and Lunsford will be attendance and a few Anacortes bands will perform.
Lunsford said other books about Beat Happening have been proposed for the 33 1/3 book series, but this is the first to be accepted.
Parker chose Beat Happening as the subject not only because it is good musically but because it was the kickoff for K Records.
“It’s an important album,” Parker said.
In the research process, Parker interviewed about 20 people, including the band’s three members, their relatives and other people who were central to the band and album’s success. He spent almost a month in the Seattle, Olympia and Anacortes area doing research for the book.
The work features an introduction by Elverum.
Lunsford said he was happy to be interviewed for the book because he was already friends with Parker.
He also depends on other people’s input for the books he has written, so said he was happy to contribute to another writer’s book.
Beat Happening was active in the ’80s and ’90s. It was founded by three college students — Lunsford, Johnson and Heather Lewis.
Johnson, in particular, was focused on promoting independent music and celebrating the music and art coming from small-town America instead of corporate America, Lunsford said.
Lunsford said he played drums and guitar and helped on the Beat Happening records and with setting up shows. His grandfather was a band teacher in Anacortes in the ’40s and was such a talented musician that Lunsford said he has a hard time calling himself a musician because he’s not at that level.
For him, music is a way of self-expression. He’s not a performer anymore but said he is still active in the Anacortes music scene as a fan who offers encouragement.
Beat Happening released new music in 2000. A retrospective of the band, featuring some of its most important songs and biggest hits, is due out this fall, Lunsford said.
Lunsford said he wasn’t a songwriter or a vocalist for Beat Happening and instead took a side role. Because of that, he could enjoy the Beat Happening music as an observer as well as participating in the music-making process.
“I don’t mind saying I’m a fan of Beat Happening’s music,” he said. “I had a front row seat and I was happy to be a part of it.”