(Originally Posted Aug 31st, 2005)
Welcome to the Beatnik Turtle blog, the journal of an unusual independent rock band. The purpose for this blog is to let you behind the scenes of an active rock band, and to share thoughts and ideas regarding a number of topics that are important to indie bands. As for this first post, we'd like to introduce ourselves.
Beatnik Turtle is a 9 to 12 piece rock band based in the Chicago metro area. We have been active since 1998, and have played over 50 shows in that time. The musicians that make up the band are mostly professionals of different sorts, including graphic artists, Information Technology folks, corporate lawyers, and even a Chicago cop. We can't give you an exact count of how many people are in the group because Beatnik Turtle has a philosophy of having a community of musicians that contribute in varying degrees of time and efforts, and drop in and out of our community. We're a very active studio band, so some of the members spend more time recording than playing live, but as a band, we definitely do both. Our last show was just last Saturday, at a dedication ceremony for a building on IIT's campus where we played an outdoor tent show for 75 minutes. Our last studio recording session was just a few weeks before that.
We currently have three released albums, which you can hear and read about here, and we actually have at least three albums on the way in the next year. More on the upcoming albums in a future post.
If you'd like to know more about us, want to hear our music, and especially if you want to amuse yourself for a while, feel free to check out our website. We're going to talk about the website in some posts in the near future, and our theory behind how we put it together, what works and what doesn't, and also share how we did it in case you are in an independent band and want to know.
We sound like an eclectic mix of They Might Be Giants, Cracker, Cake, Bare Naked Ladies, and The Saw Doctors. We play pop rock with horns, and a sense of humor. But a big focus of the band is our horn section, which sets us apart. A lot of people are tempted to call us a Ska band, just because we have a horn section, but we make sure that they are sorry about it afterwards. (Don't get us wrong, we love Ska! We're just not a Ska band.)
Some of our other notable achievements in our history to this date include licensing a song to Disney for an ad campaign, teaming up with a comedy troupe for a series of shows at Second City, and being played on the Dr. Demento Show.
And, finally, Beatnik Turtle is a fully independent band, not signed to any label or agent.
In upcoming entries, we'll be talking about future plans. We'll also be talking about the Guide for Independent bands, which is an over-70 page work that shares what we've learned to other independent bands. We will also have an entry about how we got the Disney advertising deal.
Welcome to the backstage of an independent band!