£23.99 – Limited Indies only x 2 LP & Yellow 7”
“We are Beat Happening and we don’t do Nirvana covers. They do Beat Happening covers.”*
The legend of Beat Happening, and of K, the label that Calvin Johnson founded, is full of big names they worked with before they were stars (Beck! Modest Mouse! The Gossip!), and big names they influenced (Kurt Cobain! Sleater-Kinney!) Less acknowledged, however, is that Bret Lunsford, Heather Lewis, and Calvin Johnson created some of the most original and surprising music to come out of the often deliberately weird American punk rock tradition.
Working from a sonic template of the Cramps, Trouble Funk, Young Marble Giants, and messianic blues, Beat Happening confounded and often incited violence from audiences weaned on hardcore punk. In the place of macho aggression, Beat Happening confronted the all-ages scene with Heather’s low-key delivery and Calvin’s fey theatrics, topped off by his trademark dance move: rubbing his tummy. For a supposedly cutesy band, Beat Happening was adamant about asserting its right to exist, carrying itself with a punk as fuck attitude that would become a key inspirational lodestone for the generation of D.I.Y. bands that followed, including Bikini Kill and the Nation of Ulysses.
In Calvin’s own words: “This idea that Beat Happening was popular in some way was never true. And in fact, I don’t think people understand the level of animosity that Beat Happening attracted through most of our time performing live. This concept that we were this performing group that were some kind of—I don’t know—shy pop… our performances were clearly confrontational.”**