It’s not a dream: Beat Farmers live album to be released

Tahoe Onstage

“Out of my way, butthead!” Country Dick Montana is behind the wheel in Winnipeg with Bill Preachuk, left, and Darrell Steinke, circa 1995.

Album review: “Beat Farmers Heading North Live in Bremen, Germany, 1988” LINK

Country Dick Montana never died. Joey Harris has this shocking revelation as he stands on the outskirts of a small, dusty desert town. This is where his friend and Beat Farmers bandmate has been hiding out. At the end of a street, Harris approaches a tiny shack with Christmas lights hanging all over the front porch. Country Dick is the proprietor of the old roadhouse. As Harris walks through the front door, he wakes up.

He said it’s a recurring dream.

Dan “Country Dick Montana” McLain, 40, died on stage during a show in Whistler, British Columbia, on Nov. 8, 1995. If 21 is the legal age in heaven, that means, as of today, Country Dick can do what he famously sang as a mortal on earth, “Are You Drinking With Me Jesus?”

Memories of Country Dick remain fresh in the minds with those he touched, which makes him larger than life, immortal, if you will. That’s why Harris’ dream keeps coming back, and why he is memorialized with an annual celebration featuring a reunion show with the surviving members of Beat Farmers, Harris, Jerry Raney, Rolle Love and their current bands, along with Paul Kamanski, who wrote songs on every one of the band’s albums, as well as other guests. Original guitarist Buddy Blue died in 2006.

The next hootenanny will be Jan. 7 at the Belly Up Tavern in Solano Beach. The special guest band will be the Paladins, another San Diego group that often toured with the Beat Farmers.

The buzz at the next bash won’t merely be caused by spirits. It will be about the new album. “Beat Farmers Heading North — Live in Bremen, Germany, 1988” will be released on Dec. 16 by Made In Germany Music.

Tahoe Onstage

“Beat Farmers Heading North” will be released on Dec. 16.
Album cover art provided by Made In Germany Music

Just in the past few days, Country Dick’s spirit has been hanging around with Harris, no doubt chiding his old friend for stealing his jokes at the Aztec Brewery when he introduced the song “Roll Another Number For The Road.”

The brewery where the band Joey Harris and The Mentals played last Saturday was filled with Country Dick fans.

“They have DJs that play albums throughout the day, and they’ve been playing ‘Tales of the New West’ (the Beat Farmers’ debut album in 1983),” Harris said. “Their customers have become new fans because of the record. So we had a few of them there plus we had four or five tables full of Beat Farmers fans.

“We traded stories back and forth. Everybody’s got their Country Dick stories. One guy told me about coming to a show early and he got to buy Country Dick a beer, Harris said, pausing: “Yeah, no shit. That guy never paid for anything.”

A fan from Winnipeg, Manitoba, also interacted with Harris this week. Darrell Steinke sent him a photo of a newly restored 1967 Plymouth Fury, with Country Dick hamming it up in the driver’s seat. Earlier, during the show in the Pyramid Cabaret, Montana exited unexpectedly from the stage.

“He fell off the stage and ran out the fire escape and barfed by the back door,” Steinke said. “When he came back, he was all pasty looking. After the show, people were hanging out with him and I thought, ‘What the hell. I’ll ask him to pose with my car.’ I was hammered but I made sure I had my keys in my pocket when he got in the car. I thought, ‘I know how this could go.’ ”

Steinke also shared a story about the first time he saw the Beat Farmers. It was at a country bar that featured line dancing. The show opened with Country Dick singing “Anarchy in the U.K.”

“Everybody was kind of scared,” he said. “Seventy five percent of the crowd didn’t know what was going on. Obviously, it was the wrong venue, but how do you categorize those guys?”

Steinke’s reaction: “Holy fuck, I think I’m in love.”

Country Dick Montana lassos Vicki and Joey Harris as they tie the knot in front of 30,000 at San Diego's Street Scene in 1990.

Country Dick Montana lassos Vicki and Joey Harris as they tie the knot in front of 30,000 at San Diego’s Street Scene festival in 1990.

Love also was on Harris’ mind when he asked his future wife, Vicki, to marry him. The wedding was in 1990 at Street Scene, an outdoor festival in San Diego’s Gaslamp Quarter. In front of 30,000 people, Vicki wore a white sequined mermaid dress with a veil and Joey donned a tuxedo and top hap. Country Dick was the minister.

“We came up with the vows the night before,” Harris said. “One of them was that she had to promise not to hit me in the head with a shovel. And she had to always wear trashy lingerie and call me ‘Moby’ or ‘Stud King.’ We went on right before our Beat Farmers set. Vicki threw flowers into the crowd and the first song we played was ‘Girl I Almost Married.’

“She’s more of a rock star around San Diego than I am. I love to watch when we walk into a nightclub. People turn and point at her. People are in awe and disgust at the same time that she could still be hanging out with that alcoholic freak. I’m kidding. We don’t drink anymore.”

Harris said on Monday that had just received the artwork for “Beat Farmers Heading North.”

It’s a live recording of a May 29, 1988 Beat Farmers show in Modernes, Bremen, Germany. Harris said the audio is high quality. The CD will include photos and stories, including Harris’ description of his dream about Country Dick’s hideawy.

Maybe one time Harris will make it inside the roadhouse before he wakes up. Country Dick and Jesus will be on barstools, tears of laughter flowing from holy bloodshot eyes.

  • ‘Beat Farmers Heading North — Live in Bremen, Germany, 1988’
    Radio Bremen – concert at Modernes, Bremen, May 29, 1988:
    Release: Dec. 16, 2016
    Made in Germany Music
    1.) Bigger Stones (Paul Kamanski)………………………………….2.30
    2.) Big Big Man (Jerry Raney/Steve Marshall)……………………..4.07
    3.) Lucille (Kenny Rogers)…………………………………………….5.00
    4.) Happy Boy (Dane Conover)………………………………………1.35
    5.) Rosie (Tom Waits)………………………………………………….3.00
    6.) Dark Light (Jerry Raney/Steve Marshall)……………………….5.05
    7.) Texas (Joey Harris)…………………………………………………3.08
    8.) Blue Chevrolet (Paul Kamanski)………………………………….2.52
    9.) Beat Generation (Rod McKuen)…………………………………..2.12
    10.) I Want You Too (Joey Harris)……………………………………1.37
    11.) Hollywood Hills (Paul Kamanski)………………………………..4.10
    12.) Never Goin’ Back (John Stewart)……………………………….3.44
    13.) God Is Here Tonight (Joey Harris)………………………………3.35
    14.) Riverside ( Jerry Harris/Steve Marshall)……………………….3.37
    Encores
    15.) Deceiver (Ken Noble)…………………………………………….2.38
    16.) Key To The World (Jerry Raney/Steve Marshall)……………3.12
    17.) California Kid (Paul Kamanski)………………………………….2.46
    18.) Led Zeppelin Medley (Led Zeppelin)……………………………1.02
    19.) You Can’t Judge A Book By The Cover (Ellas McDaniel, aka Bo Diddley) …8.11
  • Lineup: Joey Harris (vocals, electric guitar, kazoo), Jerry Raney (vocals, electric guitar, harmonica),
    Dan McLain – aka Country Dick Montana – (vocals, drums, accordion), Rolle Love (electric bass).
    Sound man: Tom Ames

Related stories:
Finally, a tune for unsung hero tour manager Tom Ames:
LINK
The legend of Country Dick Montana lives on, Part 1:
LINK

Editor’s note: Last year, to honor the 20th anniversary of Country Dick Montana’s death, Tahoe Onstage published an eight-part series, plus an epilogue. We keep hearing new stories about Country Dick. If you have a story to tell, please post a comment.

About Tim Parsons

Tim Parsons is the editor of Tahoe Onstage who first moved to Lake Tahoe in 1992. Before starting Tahoe Onstage in 2013, he worked for 29 years at newspapers, including the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Eureka Times-Standard and Contra Costa Times. He was the recipient of the 2011 Keeping the Blues Alive award for Journalism.

4 comments

  1. What great news on such a twisted day!

  2. !!!!! So can we get on list to get a copy? !!!

  3. Where’s my pants? i’ll drive!

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