Action Beat – Artist Information | The Camden Crawl 2012

Action Beat is an improvised noise/no-wave punk band, which is often made up of musicians who are available to play the gig on any particular date. Their sound is like early Sonic Youth, The EX and Glenn Branca, whilst their live energy is like Fugazi. They have the touring ethic of Black Flag and want to play as many shows as they possibly can. The band have recently played with up to 14 members on stage, but at a normal gig will have at least 3 guitarists, a bassist and between 1 and 4 drummers. History to date: Action Beat was created by Don Mclean and James Carney in 2004, as a tribute to the various drum and bass spazz outfit’s which seemed to be emerging around this time. Although they were extremely incompetent musicians, the band managed to play a lot of gigs, much to the bemusement of their audiences. The comedy outfits they would adorn for live shows always seemed to make up for their sporadic, nonsensical noise shows, which on average, would last about 10 minutes and usually end with the skinny, half naked frame of James Carney jumping into the beat-up, mangled mess of Don Mclean’s drum kit. The first three Action Beat shows were played at; a friends Birthday party, a charity gig for children, and a Battle of the bands in Milton Keynes. After playing around 20 local shows as a drum and bass act, James and Don decided to switch to instruments they could actually play (guitars), and in the process, laid the foundations for the wall of sound which is now recognisable at Action Beat shows. Guitars were tuned differently, amps were played at preposterous volumes, delay pedals were abused, and the comedy costumes were ditched. They also incorporated a drum machine into their set so that the rhythm was always precise, thus allowing the guitars to freak out into their own frenzied worlds. The band played many shows from 2004-2005, though the most memorable event as a 2 piece has to be ‘the Christmas day tour of 2005’. James and Don hired a generator, and on Christmas day, they played outside in the freezing cold at various places around Bletchley and Milton Keynes. A handful of dedicated supporters followed them to 4 locations; two underpasses, a bridge, and the town’s skate park. The noise was so intense, that people could hear it from up to a mile away! I can’t think of another band that has played outside on Christmas day, and this is what Action Beat is all about. In 2006, Don booked a UK tour for the American band ‘Parts and Labor’, and Action Beat was allowed to support the band for the 10 dates. For this tour, James Walsh was asked to play drums, and Pete Taylor was asked to play Bass. Although this wasn’t the first time the band had used a live drummer, they found that they were able to change the rhythm and tempo of the songs more freely, whilst incorporating dynamics and a variety of sonic assaults using the guitars. After the tour, the band decided to play with live drummers for every show, and eventually added more than one drummer at most gigs. Since the band’s sound is mostly improvised, any drummer can play with Action Beat as long as they are competent enough to keep a beat. During 2006, the band played with a collection of wonderful drummers, but the main members included: Jake Burton, James Walsh, Danny Hawkins and Beanie. In January 2007, Lewis Webb was asked to play bass guitar, whilst Pete Taylor moved to Baritone. Webb’s bass lines kept a very definite tempo during the sets, and he was able to play the role of ‘conductor’ for the ‘mixed bag’ of drummers, who would often look to him for signals to change the rhythm/progression/volume. The amplified sound of 6 members creating electrical havoc in a synchronised fashion meant that people were literally blown away by the sheer volume and audacity of the new Action Beat. The band recorded as a 5 piece at Southern Studios in January 2007. They turned up to the studio with nothing rehearsed and improvised two songs; ‘More Hookie’ and ‘Maximum Bletchley’. They played regular shows throughout the UK, and toured again in February. In August 2007, they recorded 3 more improvised songs at Southern; ‘Tay’, ‘Justice Yeldham’ and ‘Daddy Thirsty’, this time integrating Saxophone, Trumpet and Violin into the sound. Their first record, ‘1977-2007 – Thirty Years of Hurt, The Us Cunts Exploded’ was made up of 5 songs recorded at southern in 2 days, and a re-mix of ‘Maximum Bletchley’ by their friend ‘Destructo Swarmbots’. In September 2007, Action Beat booked their first European tour, playing 27 dates in a row as a 9 piece band which included; 3 guitars, bass, baritone, 3 drummers, and violin. 6 months later, in April 2008, the band returned to Europe as a 9 piece to play 30 shows in 9 different countries, within a 37 date time frame.In April 2009, we did a 9 week tour in 10 countries. God we rock. From 2004 to 2009, Action Beat has played somewhere in the region of 300+ gigs with many bands including: Do Make Say Think, Dalek, Oxes, ZU, Usaisamonster, Bilge Pump, Destructo Swarmbots, OVO and many more. Action Beat is completely DIY, and dedicated to being a true punk band. “We want to play as many shows as we possibly can”. In October, the band will release their second Album on ‘Truth Cult’, which is a new imprint from one of their favourite record labels, ‘Southern Records’.