But it's Beep Beep's role in the label's overall picture that was
the biggest lure. "For years Saddle Creek desperately has wanted to diversify
its catalogue, especially with a hard rock band," Hughes said. "Whether
we meet that bill, I don't know. We don't sound like anything else on the label."
stick out like a sore thumb," Bemberger said, "which will provide attention
both positive and negative. There's the possibility that we'll be prejudged because
of what the label represents to some of its audience."
There's no question
that there's nothing like Beep Beep in the Saddle Creek catalogue. If you haven't
heard them before, leave your preconceived notions at the door. Don't expect the
singer-songwriter musings or Bright Eyes and The Good Life or the electro dance
beats of The Faint.
Business Casual, the band's recently released
full length, is an exercise in sneering, confrontational mayhem. The easy throwback
influences are as diverse as Public Image Ltd., early XTC, Gang of Four and even
Omaha's own Mousetrap. None of them quite fit. Hughes said one reviewer compared
the vocals to caterwauling. "That literally is the noise cats make when they're
in heat," he said, grinning. "It's perfect." Meanwhile, the songs'
lyrics have a weirdly sexual, almost prurient nature as they describe everything
from Internet porn ("Electronic Wolves") to kinky teen crushes ("Giggle,
Giggle"). Hardly the broken-hearted laments heard on the latest Conor Oberst
or Tim Kasher ballad.
Kubel ignores any notion that Beep Beep is an awkward
fit for Saddle Creek. "A lot of bands on the label have a different sound,"
he said. "I've always been puzzled by something having 'that Saddle Creek
sound.' I still have no idea what that means. Beep Beep doesn't sound like any
other band on the label, but neither does The Faint, you know? I think Beep Beep
brings something different and fresh, and at times completely over the top and
annoying, but in a good way."
Shortly after the band was signed to
Saddle Creek in February, Petersen joined on bass, which Hughes and Bemberger
said had nothing to do with the Creek contract. But there's little doubt that
The Faint's admiration and friendship for Beep Beep helped them land the opening
slot on the upcoming Faint tour in support of Wet From Birth, the long-awaited
follow-up to Danse Macabre.
"The Faint have wanted to take
us out with them for years," Hughes said of the tour that starts in October
and runs through the end of November, and which also includes red hot Brooklyn
band TV on the Radio. "This was an opportune time. They'll be in a tour bus
and we'll be in a minivan."
"A tour bus doesn't sound like fun
to me," Bemberger said.
"Well it does to me," Hughes retorted.
two do see eye to eye on what motivated them over the past year. "It was
pretty much about making the band entertaining to us," Bemberger said. "We
had been working from the perspective that music was something that you had to
take seriously whether or not you enjoyed the process. We reached a point where
we wanted to start entertaining ourselves."
"I'm not trying to
spend the rest of my life as a professional musician," Hughes added. "I'm
just enjoying it.
"I want to share a piece of ourselves with the world
and try to convey my feelings, whether they're healthy or not, in the best way
possible. Sometimes it's a celebration of deviance."
in The Omaha Reader Aug. 18, 2004. Copyright © 2004 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.