Shining a light on the joys and heartaches that lie at the intersection of the LGBTQIA community and the world of alternative music…

Is your stomach rumbling? Your throat parched? Can’t find the right tasty treat to satisfy your ravenous urges? Then take a big bite of Chicago’s saltiest drag chanteuse, Beverly Rage, and wash it down with her rowdy queercore compatriots, The Drinks. On their debut EP, Honk If Yer Hungry—released Aug. 18 via Midwest Action—Bev Rage And The Drinks sate your craving for delightfully crunchy and deliciously snarky garage-pop. Produced and engineered by Brian Tepps at Million Yen Studios and mastered by The Boiler Room, the four-song record extols the virtues of everything from snacking and hooking up to big, sexy thighs and being too old for this shit.

The EP’s title track, “Honk If Yer Hungry,” received the official music video treatment courtesy of Liz Flemke and guitarist and drummer Aaron Ehinger, with recently-added bassist Sam Westerling stepping in as editor. In the brilliant black box theater meets 7-Eleven mash-up, Rage, Ehinger, and guitarist and drummer Trevor Cole are hand-fed a bounty of bodega delicacies by a trio of mysterious black-clad figures.

Fruity and refreshing, Bev Rage And The Drinks serve up the perfect blend of silly punk mayhem to quench even the thirstiest fans. This round’s on Bev!

On Gimmicks and Snacking

We take great pride in putting on an entertaining show, which we believe should include some theatrics. While our music is somewhat simple, a Bev Rage And The Drinks show certainly is not. In the past, we’ve catapulted snacks into the audience, raffled off the opportunity to shave our guitarist’s mountain man beard during a song, and made costume changes behind a shower curtain spray painted with the slogan “Make America Rage Again”—the latter was pre-Trump, and now, just seems a little too real.

When you’re a band who fills a very specific niche, you oughta strive to be the best one out there, and I’d say we’re the greatest drag queen-fronted pop punk snack rock band in the land! If you can find a better one, please let us know! As it so happens, we’re just as passionate about finding the best possible road trip snacks as we are about our music. In a feeble attempt to write a jingle—not unlike The Muffs’ Fruitopia commercial in the ‘90s—here’s a quick rundown of my favorites:

Bugles: How could you possibly argue with a snack that doubles as temporary nails? They also come in some fab new flavors, aren’t super bad for you, and don’t cause intestinal distress. Hello, WOW Chips?

Corn Nuts: Better known as “teeth” due to their hardness and shape. I like eating these in bed while watching something dialogue-heavy so I don’t need to pay attention.

Mounds: Almond Joys are a total waste of time, and their tragically underrated evil twin should really get more attention.

Chunky Bar: Who doesn’t want an impossible-to-find candy bar with every gross ingredient conceivable baked into it? I’m sold!

Candy Buttons: I often eat these with my lovers, like those dogs who eat spaghetti. Paper is digestible, right?

Combos: Hungry-hungry-hippos gotta have some combos for a good time. Eating too many of these can tear up the inside of your mouth, which makes the nutrition easier to absorb.

beverly rage
Photo by Aaron Ehinger

On Comfort and Couture

One morning after a show, when I was looking especially disheveled, a friend stopped by and, after looking me up and down, declared that I looked quite “comfortable.” I may have looked like a dumpster with hands, sure, but I was quite comfy. “Comfortable” has since become a favorite insult among my friends, but it’s also an apt description of all that is Bev Rage And The Drinks.

Bev wears comfy costumes because they’re stretchy and breathable, which is very necessary when you’re essentially a sweaty pile of hotdogs in a jumpsuit. The band brings a sense of comfort to every show because we don’t know how to be anything but welcoming to everyone. Comfort is sometimes a struggle, and figuring out how to find your place in any community can take time. I think that we are still finding ours. 

Comfort is certainly not a given when you are queer, a drag queen, or in any way different from the norm. We, as a queer community, have fought battles to be comfortable in our weirdness, and we certainly shouldn’t backslide because of how we present in our appearance or in our art. There is way too much infighting in our communities these days, which I would like to see stop.

As a musician, putting on the mask that is Beverly Rage has allowed me to present my art in a way that I was never as confident presenting before (as a boy in a flannel and ill-fitting mom jeans). Being Bev allows me the leeway to share my personal life stories, but in a different—and hopefully funnier—context.

Sometimes, performing in drag at venues where it’s not traditionally seen can be a bit odd, but if you look at where drag was performed in the ‘70s and ‘80s, it was quite alternative and punk rock. The queens of that time found comfort alongside the musicians and other outcasts, something I can certainly relate to. The downside is that I don’t often get to work with many of the other Chicago queens who are so important to our drag culture here. We operate in separate worlds for the most part. However, those times when we do intersect, at shows that include both bands and drag queens, I find it to be incredibly rewarding. I think that it will all become even more integrated as other queer artists continue to flex their muscles in different ways. Whenever I book shows, I try to include and highlight some of the amazing queer artists and musicians in Chicago outside of the main drag of Boystown.

I suggest that everyone start to embrace their comfort. Whatever my little band can do to help that, the better. Be nice, dude. It makes everything much more fun.

On My Stomach—Or On My Back

I write music about my real-life experiences, which I think is quite apparent. I am extremely sex-positive in my music, though my experiences often end up less than positive. It turns out that being a 33-year-old single gay man is actually pretty boring. However, when you throw in some wigs, snark, and a crippling inability to function in the dating world—some fun content can pop up here and there! I tell my stories through my music, and my stories are usually pretty laughable.

Our song “Bitter Old Queen” came about after a spectacularly long string of dates with some spectacularly jaded men. I find that my best writing comes when I’m totally fed up. Exhaustion is a lovely cure for writer’s block!

“Having a Tryst With a Narcissist” is a fun little song that quickly explores the odd phenomenon of extreme narcissism in gay social media. Have you ever checked someone’s Instagram and found nothing but pictures of themselves? Of course you have. Endless selfies are bad enough, but when you find your boyfriend hanging photos of dudes he’s actively fucking on the walls of his apartment, a 45-second song is the best revenge. He never really deserved any longer than that anyway.

The track “I’m Too Old” focuses on my hard-learned realization that 20-somethings just don’t make good dates. I’m far too old to go out at midnight, let alone on a weekday! Can you even imagine?!

“(You Never Tell Me That I’m) Cute” is another 30-second song about a beautiful fella who could not get enough attention. It’s easy to go out every night when you never pay for a drink.

I’m basically a broke-ass Taylor Swift. I love telling stories about my dating misadventures and hope that they’re entertaining for others. I write sex music that’s relatable—as long as you don’t get much sex, or at least not much good sex.

Follow Bev Rage And The Drinks on Facebook and Twitter, and pick up Honk If Yer Hungry and other cool shit from Bandcamp and Bev’s Boutique!

Photo by Al Robinson

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