The History of the Beat Farmers
Tales... was released in January, 1985 while the BFers played the Bacchanal in San Diego often. March, 1985, the BFers began their first US tour. After opening for the Blasters, they made the mistake of their lives by signing a 7 record deal with CURB Records. They took off to England for a 3 week tour in June and recorded "Glad 'N Greasy" for Demon Records. December, 1985, Buddy Blue left the band after recording "Van Go" but never waited around for its release. Joey Harris, who had worked with Dick in 1983 with Country Dick and the Snuggle Bunnies, replaced Blue. "Van Go" was released in June, 1986 while the band played two 60,000 person festivals in Belgium. The song "Riverside" received radio airplay and the band was asked to make a cheesie Budweiser radio commercial using the music from "Riverside".
January, 1988, the BFers began work on the next album. In May, 1988, they started a European tour for two months. They returned to deal with label problems. In February, 1989, Dick and Joey join Mojo Nixon and Dave Alvin (Blasters) with nine other tuxedoed fools and played the west coast as "The Pleasure Barons". A live album was recorded an eventually released in 1993. In July, 1989, "Poor and Famous" was finally released. While playing their annual New Years shows, they recorded the shows for a live album.
In March, 1990, Dick had thyroid surgery. This problem had been bothering Dick for years. He had been in and out of the doctor's office for cancer treatments. June, 1990, the live album was released, "Live, Loud, and Plowed" without the bands knowledge. Dick discovered it at a Tower Records in San Diego. They played the David Letterman Show in New York that year. Letterman said he wanted to become a roadie for the band.
The band fought for the next few years to rid themselves from CURB. The lawyers got rich and the band continued to play regularly on the west coast with various swings to the mid-west and east.
The BFers continued to have various other projects going on including the Incredible Hayseeds (a country western review show with a trombone added), Country Dick's Petting Zoo, Country Dick's Garage, Jerry and Joey acoustic, Jerry and Buddy jam nights, and the Pleasure Barons. Country Dick was recording a solo effort. This contained many of the nasty Dick songs we all knew and loved as well as some straight ahead rock and rollers like "Big Fast Town" and "Indigo Rider". Dick said that it was a concept album, Dick style. It was released eventually in 1996. Dick was also working with Mojo Nixon when time permitted.
Undaunted, the BFers headed to Vancouver, Canada in 1993 to record a new record. The untitled album was completed and the band began the search for a new record label. Sector 2 Records, out of Austin, signed the band and then "Viking Lullabys" (spelled wrong because Dick liked it that way!) was pressed up on CD and readied for release on August 9, 1994.
The band continued to tour (as usual, thus the reasoning that they were considered the best club band in America) and then returned to San Diego to begin work in early 1995 on a new album. They decided to produce it themselves and record it in San Diego (a first!). The BFers changed their sound slightly to get a harder sound to this new album. Those bastards at CURB decided to release a greatest hits package in truly cheap form. It was (and still is) a very poor retrospective of the band that was packaged, put together, and released without the bands knowledge (sound familiar!). Oh, how we loved CURB!
By mid-year, the album was finished. " Manifold" was the title and it is released on September 19, 1995. As a tribute to the hometown fans, the album was released two weeks earlier in San Diego to coincide with the Street Scene (an outdoor concert event that takes place every year in San Diego). The band hit the road with the Blasters for a co-headline tour that swung all over the country in September and October of 1995.
Suddenly on a Wednesday night, November 8th, 1995, while playing drums in Whistler, Brittish Columbia (about one hour out of Vancouver- a BFer strong hold!) the unthinkable happened. Country Dick was struck down by a heart attack during the third song of their show.
The indestructible, fun loving, deep voiced, friendly, extremely humorous giant was gone. There are no words that can describe how any BFer fan felt. Dan McLain AKA Country Dick Montana was a talent that can never be equaled. Sure he wasn't well known but anyone who ever saw a BFer live show could tell you that Dick was at his best- on stage. His presence will never be replaced and I know that the remaining BFers did not want to replace him. Whatever shape the BFers took, it was never be the same without Country Dick Montana. As of 11/11/95, the BFers were no more.