August 15, 2010
Many seem to have got it completely incorrect when it comes to valuing
aesthetics with the quality of common music. In fact, take away the
glamour of those acts deemed "popular" to these people, add puberty to the
annoyingly repetitive high pitched squeals of that upteenth teen sensation, and
remove the plastic. Then what do you have?
Only the powers above could really figure that out. But when a hobby or
interest becomes a passion in one's life, one can tell that one
needn't require formality to describe one's feelings. One need not require
grace, cupcake bras or "melting popsicles" to bear one's soul to the world.
Kevin Beadles has made a simple form of expression into a substantial
part of his life. He might not have the breast implants, the consistent swearing,
or the tanned legs to do the job that the ridiculous require, but it's rather
brave to write songs about real life these days...
PHIL: How did you get into music? Was it a early passion?
KEVIN: I remember watching the Winter Olympics a few years ago and
getting sucked into one of those soft-focus biographical sketches that usually
annoy me. But this one fascinated me. The subject was a speed skater attempting
to win her fourth or fifth gold medal. They showed photos of her wearing ice
skates at age 3, 5, 8, etc. and as each photo was shown, they read from little
letters or school essays she'd written. Each one ended with "and I love to
And I thought, "Wow, that's how it really is! You fall in love with something
at a young age, and if you're lucky, life's trajectory is set". For her, it was
skating. For me, it was music.
I also remember staring at the sheer bulk of this woman's incredibly muscled
thighs - each one bigger than my torso - and thinking, "Damn, she could CRUSH
a man with those." Perhaps I overcommunicate...
PHIL: Your latest album is called "You Can't Argue with Water". What's the
message behind this name?
KEVIN: I just read a review (yes, I read them) that really nailed this:
"'You Can't Argue with Water' is all about going with the flow in relationships
and in life; a sense that there's natural flow to things and that it's foolhardy
to fight fate." (Wildy Haskell)
Each song explores a different emotion or reaction to emotion with this theme
in mind. For example, you can't control who or what you fall in love with, you
can't force others to love you (or your latest CD), and can't even control
whether you stay in love:
You can't argue with water
You can't reason with rain
It just falls where it wants to
And love's the same
PHIL: Much (if not all) of your music is based on life. Do you believe that
people can understand you, as a person, through your music?
KEVIN: I'd go one further and say that I understand myself better, as a
person, through my music. Writing songs is my way of processing life just like
keeping a journal or analyzing dreams helps others view what's going on under
The old writer's adage is to write what you know, and while I may not know any
bitter divorcees hauling their "past" around in a hearse ("Mrs. Jones'
Cadillac"), I certainly know what it's like to carry a grievance I'd like to bury.
So, yes, people can understand me through my music but I would caution that
part of being a good songwriter is being a good liar. I may work at my lyrics
until every word rings true but that doesn't mean that any of it's real.
PHIL: What drives each song from you? The poetry of the lyrics, or the
passion that's found in the instrumental accompaniment?
KEVIN: Either/or... anything that catches and sustains my interest over
a period of days-to-years can become a finished song. On the new album, there
are songs that started as a chorus melody ("High"), lyric couplet ("Mrs. Jones'
Cadillac"), chord progression ("Shine"), guitar riff ("Sharkskin"), and tuning
experiment ("Indian Summer"). There's even a song written in response to every
live band's eternal challenge of shutting up the jerk requesting "Free Bird"
("Where We Come From").
PHIL: What is the most fulfilling aspect of being an indie artist, in your
KEVIN: There's the old joke about a ham & cheese omelet and the
difference between involvement and commitment... the chicken and the cow are
involved in making the omelet but the pig is truly committed.
Being an indie artist means being committed to what you do because nothing is
going to happen unless you do it yourself. If you're lucky, you start gathering
people who want to help you along the way (and I've had some wonderful
bandmates/friends/fans/supporters). And even now that I've been signed by a
terrific indie label (Ripple Music), I still feel like they're just my biggest
fans and supporters; they help me get me music out where more people can hear
it but have never dictated a direction to me.
So being indie means having the freedom to pursue love of music on my own terms.
PHIL: Sure, you can't argue with water, but can you perform your music
KEVIN: Funny enough, I wrote a co-wrote a song (with my friend, Lynn
Smith) on this precise topic. It's called "Underwater":
When a dream drags you down
You gotta leave it or drown
'Cause it's too hard to breathe underwater
Phillip Hong is a presenter on AMPM, combining some great indie music with
quotes and interviews.