Beeef: For the Love of Local Music, Rockstar Cred, and Hot Dogs

// Image courtesy of Andrew Gibson.

“When you have a basement in Allston, you kind of have to take advantage of it.”

And that they did. Beeef is composed of Perry Eaton, Neil Patch, Daniel Schiffer, and Josh Bolduc. Their origin story involves the Boston music blog Allston Pudding, a few Creedence Clearwater Revival songs, and a fourth of July barbecue that never came to be.

Their hometown pride shines bright throughout their discussion of Allston Pudding and the local music scene that shaped their own development. Perry and Dan were founding members of the blog, and Neil joined shortly after. After a couple of years, they decided to try something new. Perry describes, “we still loved writing about music, but after a while, we wanted to start playing some music of our own.” Josh was brought into the fold soon after, and in January 2015, Beeef rocked their first show at Allston’s cozy Obrien’s Pub.

Perry recounted how their experiences as a part of the Allston Pudding community provided a special insight into the scene. That scene included shows of all shapes and sizes. Their exposure to especially smaller shows took off some rockstar pressure when they were performing. He jokes, “we really didn’t take it all too seriously. I almost wish we did. Maybe we wouldn’t have named our band Beeef.” Neil added, “I had to poke you guys to take the stage a little bit. Granted, I have it easy as the drummer crammed into the back corner.” Perry continued, “Allston Pudding affirmed the idea that a lot of people I would idolize were actually normal people. If they could do it, we could too.’

Asked about their favorite small bands, Perry noted a few stand-outs—Squirrel Flower, Anjimile from Jamaica Plain, Sweeping Promises, Petite League, GIFT—many of them good friends of theirs. When Neil was at Boston College, he started a local music themed show on his college radio station. He credits the physical medium in the station, from CDs to material from station alum, for exposing him to many fantastic artists and grounding him in the local area’s scene.

Beeef released a new remix of one of their most popular songs, “Airplanes,” with FAME 33. The new version of the song is oriented more as a club mix, and has a Neon Indian atmospheric vibe to it. Asked about the inspiration behind that song and about the new version, Perry described that it barely made it onto the first album. He details, “we all underestimated the song. Josh worked his magic with it—he’s the studio wizard of the bunch—and he added a backward tracking effect to it. It got a second life and grew legs among the fans.”

He added, “The song itself is a bit dumb; I literally wrote it on a plane, poking fun at the idea of how bands often say aeroplanes instead of airplanes, as if I was in any position to write a diss track for Neutral Milk Hotel.”

The band is working on new material. Given they haven’t been able to all be in the same place under the circumstances, it’s been rather challenging to record. Perry detailed, “writing and passing bad recordings of that along to each other to see if we can make them slightly better little by little.” Neil also started recording some of their shows from the back of the house during 2019 using an “iffy-quality hand recorder.” He indicated that these recordings might surface at some point soon for those craving live music.

All members of Beeef have day jobs and, oddly enough, are all oriented in the education space. Neil works locally in Cambridge on a program that offers online courses, so adjusting to the pandemic way of life has felt oddly normal, fortuitously. Perry is a history and English teacher at a local independent high school, and they’ve been taking a hybrid approach to their curriculum. The new school year has stirred him to reflect on his responsibilities and role as an educator in promoting equity throughout a hybrid curriculum, and being in a physical space with a few students again has allowed him to look at the pandemic and its effects on the social-emotional wellbeing of the youth through a broader and more empathetic lens. He adds, “there’s a lot to chew on right now. I hope that doesn’t take away from my rockstar cred, but there’s not much rockstar cred there to begin with.” However, one of his students did show up to a show at The Lilypad (a beloved all-ages Cambridge venue) with a “Mr. Eaton” sign once. The cat got out of the bag very quickly about Perry being in a rock band. Another student even got school credit for filming a music video for the band.

Asked about guilty culinary pleasures:Perry’s favorite is hot dogs, and five to eight servings of them. Neil, on the other hand, has been trying nearly every restaurant around him, landing on Greek food from Demos in Watertown as his favorite. He highly recommends anyone local to check it out.

// Emma Greaves '24 is a guest writer for Record Hospital.