Nardwuar: who are you?
Beck: Uhhhh. I don't know.
You are Beck!
Uh. Who are you?
I'm Nardwuar the Human Serviette!
And you're Beck, live on the Nardwuar the Human Serviette Show and Beck, where
are you phoning from right now because earlier your manager said you were.....
Ummm, I'm in San Francisco.
Your Management actually thought you were in Nevada!
They thought i was in Nirva-- in Nevada?
Okay. Well, I was.
And now you're back in San Francisco!
Now I'm in San Fransico.
Your manager has a 1-800 number! That seems pretty interesting.
Yeah. I don't know about that.
That's pretty crazy eh? Having a manager who has a 1-800 number!
Yeah that's crazy.
What exactly, Beck, did Woodie Guthrie do?
He sort of wandered around and watched how people were taking out their garbage
and where they were putting it and he would bang on his guitar and uh make people
look backwards and uh....
Why was he so great? Why do you really like him? I don't know very much about
him. What's so great about him?
Well he was bringing out some honest human natural communication and you know
in a time when a lot of that kind of stuff was supressed.
Was he a one-man band?
Uh yeah, but he played with other people. He played in bluegrass bands and he
played in different folk combos and all sorts of stuff.
What about Hasil Atkins?
He's the guy who does that Hot dog song.
Now he seems to be the ultimate performer with that total Pussy Galore sound!
Isn't he better than Woody Guthrie?
Um, well he's different, you know. Hasil Atkins is a genius in his own way. You
know, Woody Guthrie was more "for the people". He had a socialist agenda. I think
Hasil is more into flinging pianos into swamps and stuff like that.
Have you ever seen him before or heard his live albums on Pravda or Norton
Yeah, I've heard his stuff. Actually a good friend of mine made a documentary
about him and he showed me all this footage. There is this amazing scene where
he is playing in this Honkytonk - this was made about a year ago and he's an older
man now - and he's playing and he does this one-man band thing. He plays the drums
with his feet, and harmonica, and he's playing the guitar. And he lets a girl
sit next to him on stage and in the middle of the set a big brawl breaks out between
al these women over who is goin' to sit on stage and they're all grabbing each
other by the hair. It's kinda strange and he's just looking on, playing his music.
Is the guy who made this movie from Olympia?
Yes well no, he went to school in Olympia.
Just like that Hole song!
Yeah actually his name is "Hasil" Atkins not "Hazel".
Oh in Canada we like calling him "Hazel". Did your friend make a Beat Happening
Yeah, he sure did.
What's his name and can people get a hold of that movie?
The Hasil Atkins one?
I have no idea. I don't know if they can get a hold of it. I don't know if it's
And your friend's name, Beck...
What's your friend's name who made the movie?
Oh, his name's Julian.
Beck, do you get booed much?
Umm I don't think so.
I mean, are people expecting your type of show when you get on stage. Since
the media sort of portrays you as the "born to be weird Type" as Impact Magazine
did in there may 1994 edition? So, like, when people arrive at the gigs,are they
ready for something weird, or can you actually surprise them ?
Um, I think it's a little of both, you know it's like, each person in the audience
has their own expectations and all that stuff so, you know, it's different.
But you don't ever feel like when you get up on stage and you finish and maybe
you don't play the big hit "Loser", everbody in the audience loves it, because
you are rebelling. Like the record execs are like, "I just love that guy Beck
cus he is just so wacky, he won't play his hits when people want it". Doesn't
that make you feel weird?
Um, wow. I mean I don't even know what to say. Can you say that again? You've
got some kind of like fire in your groin or something.
No, no. I'm just curious, Beck. You
get on stage there and Alot of the time,the industry execs probably signed you,
signed you because you're wild, you're wacky, you're way out there. So when you
get off stage after performing on, say, Top Of The Pops or being on MTV with Thurston
acting really wacky, you can get off stage and instead of the industry execs going,"Man,
Beck made a fool of us," the're like, "Alright that, wacky Beck guy." They can
use this in marketing.MCA Records put out a video of the out-takes of you from
MTV doing station IDs. A lot of artist, like Alice Cooper, for instance, would
be ashamed to show there mistakes, but the're not afraid to show your mistakes.
They sort of love it when you're wild. How does it make you feel? Does it make
you want to go normal?
Yeah sometimes I'll dust off the old hymnal and play a few organ songs,"Nearer
my God to thee" and a few other classics, "Rock me Amadeus". And, um, you know,
somtimes wackiness just implodes on it's self and, uh, you end up doing some Jon
Denver covers by accident.
Have you ever listened to the early They Might Be Giants at all?
No, I'm not into that stuff.
Because They Might Be Giants had the initals "TMBG" which is like four letters.
And the band Ween has four letters. And so is the name Beck, Beck. Is there any
corelation there, like don't you think Ween might have ripped off They Might Be
Giants and you maybe ripped off Ween? Or maybe you are in the same company as
them. You are four letters! think you and They Might Be Giants have something
goin' down here!
Yeah, it's probably like somekind spiritually bankrupt circle jerk or something.
I don't know
Have you heard of Senor Amour and the Molotov Cocktail Hour at all?
Yeah, sure, he was over at my house last week as a matter of fact.
He does the show on KXLU?
What type of show is it? Is it some type of lounge show?
Yeah, he just plays all that wayward faraway tropicalismo, you know, lounge Martin
And he hangs with Joey Cheeze as well.
Who is known for his great hits "Whole Lotta Love Boat" and " Sweet Child Of
A friend of mine dropped by KXLU and saw a letter you had written to the station,
and it seemed to be you were upset that the station wasn't playing you because
you were getting played on KROQ which is, I guess, the big commercial radio station.
Beck, explain, that letter please.
Well, you know I've been playin' on KXLU for years. I've been playing at all their
fundraisers. I've been listening to the station since I was fourteen. You know,
the music they play is the music I'm into. I don't know, I've supported the station
for years and it's been a part of my music and everything. It's like, you don't
bag on any of the other stations, but it's not like the other stations like KROQ:
they played the song on there own. It's not like I asked them to . They played
it, so I kind of felt like I was in a weird position where, you know, KXLU was
the first station to ever play "Loser", so it's in some ways as much thier fault
as it is mine, because I sure didn't...
So they didn't want to play it after
it got played on KROQ?
I guess not. I don't know.
They banned you in some sense.
Yeah, but they took that down. They're playing it now.
So, in the USA, how much airplay did your "Loser" song 12" get?
You know I don't really listen to the radio, except for KXLU and the Jazz station,
so I don't know.
How many college stations were aware of you before DGC-
Probably not that many because we only put out "Loser" only locally around L.A.
We only made four hundred copies of it. We didn't even get a chance to put it
You were a local phenomenon like Dick Dale was in the 60's and then you just
Yeah, or imploded. I don't know.
Because in Canada you know, it's sort of the opposite, because your label DGC
Records- do you know any Canadian bands on DGC or Geffen?
Canadian bands. I don't know.
From Halifax? That band, your labelmates?
No, I don't know.
I don,t know
Well in Canada it's sort of the opposite. Your label is trying to push you
to from commercial radio- where you're being played right now- to campus stations
where you have never been played before in Canada. DJs on college radio in Canada
are having Beck pushed on them and they never new Beck before. It's sort of weird,
since you had started on campus radio in the states, but in Canada, you're starting
on commercial radio and your label is now tring to go to campus radio.That's really
Well, you know it's a weird thing, you know. It's like I never got a chance to
put out anything, you know. K records was goin' to put out my record three, no,
two years ago, but nobody ever got around to it. And then stuff just started happening
But K Records is gonna put something out now, right?
Yeah they're putting out an L.P. for me.
And you're going to to be playing the Yo Yo A Go Go Rock Fest up in Olympia?
Yeah. Sure am.
I think people adore you on comercial T.V. and radio in Canada- and on the
nations music station, Much Music, where we all enjoy you on the Wedge. They all
really seem to love you Mr. Beck Hanson. Is Hanson your last name, Beck.?
They seem to love your hair number one. Do you like your hair?
I don't give a shit about my hair, you know.
It has a nice part down the middle though.
I have no.... you know, I don't care.
It's hot , though. And the second reason people like you Mr. Beck Hanson is
that you say "Why don't you kill me " in your song. People just love to sing,
"why don't you kill me?" They love that catch phrase in commercial radio and the
third thing is that you have a coffin and a squeege on fire in your video. Those
are the top three reasons people in commercial radio in Canada are loving you.
Those are pretty foul reasons, I guess.
And know they are trying to push you to campus radio in Canada which is quit
Come on Beck speak up! You're the voice of a generation!
Heh. heh. Rock me Amadeus.You know, I don't- what the fuck?
So, Beck you are coming to
Vancouver soon. Who is the Prime Minister of Canada?
How is the Prime Minister of Canada?
Who is the Prime Minister of Canada?
I don't know
Should you be allowed to play this concert if you don't know who the Prime
Probably not. You should all ban me. I shouldn't even be allowed to......breathe.
His name is John... Cretch...Cretch... Can you name any of the Prime Ministers
of Canada at all, Beck? Do you have any Canadian friends?
I have no friends.
Beck, why should people care -
Except for you.
Why should people care -
Your my only friend.
Me, Nardwuar the Human Serviette!? Thank you Beck. Why should people care about
I have no idea, you know.
Beck, speak up, Voice Of A Generation! Speak up! Why should people care about
you? It certainly isn't-
I have no reason.
Hopefully, they are not, caring about your hair, your song "Why don't you kill
me?", and a coffin and a squeegee on fire in your video.
Oh man.... you're just making..... you're just......Oh, just fuck off... [click]
Interview done over phone June, 1994.