Acquiring their name from a crowd vote during an early gig, Beex were an integral part of the early Richmond, VA punk scene. Getting to that point though, was a bit of a journey. Guitarist Richard “Ricky” Buchanan had formed a band called Ricky and the White Boys in the late ’70s with a couple of other guys, including a singer by the name of Ralph Harper. The band was well received in the local rock scene at the time, but were forced to go on hiatus in August of 1978, due to Ralph’s untimely passing at only 23 years old. This was a devastating event for the members of the band, and it would not have been surprising if they had thrown it in at that point- packed up their gear and turned the lights out in their practice space for the last time, never to return. That’s not how it shook out though.
After a period of mourning, the band started holding auditions again for a new singer, a decision that brought them into the gravitational pull of Christine Gibson. Christine might have started out as a replacement vocalist in an existing band, but it didn’t take long for her to become its de facto leader. Some personalities are like that. They just demand a witness. And Christine was more than deserving of the attention audiences extended her, with the rest of the band apparently happy to bask in the residual glow.
We would probably describe Christine as a classic punk singer these days. Surely, for sure, but also forceful and more than a little combative. Not without reason though. People were a lot less respectful of boundaries back then and you had to be able to be confident if you wanted to stay standing. As the legend goes, Christine would often be dragged into conflicts with drunks at shows as well as an assortment of other goons lurking around the scene at the time. She could apparently hold her own in a confrontation, and if you didn’t like what she had to say, then you could take it outside. Way outside. As in the next county. This was as true for charmless dweebs who showed up to gigs with trouble in mind, as it was for members of her own band. A fact that resulted in a number of lineup changes following her admission into the group.
Begining in 1979, the Beex embarked on a hurricane of gigging across the Atlantic Sea Board. An odyssey that lead to their immortalization within the history of that region’s punk scenes. To help preserve this history, Richmond’s Beach Impediment Records has done us the pleasure of collecting and reissuing the band’s early recordings, which first appeared on Wasp and Zero Degree Records, spanning the twilight years of the ’70s and into the dawn of the ’80s. Several of these tracks have never been released before, but all of them have been remastered from the original recordings.
All of Beex material on this compilation falls solidly into the power-pop side of the early punk movement. Not quite as sharp as the Nerves, but definitely not as ham-fisted as the Zeros, Beex strolled on a knife’s edge between impeccably catchy and incorrigible shrewd. Kind of Rodney Dangerfield of rock. Uglier than fresh roadkill but overflowing with homespun, uncorked charisma, like a Champaign bottle left on top of a washing machine during the spin cycle. There is a reason these recordings have resurfaced after forty years and it’s because they’re damned irresistible! Give these tracks a spin and then you’ll have something to one-up older dudes at shows next time they try to lecture you about punk of yesteryear.
Buy and stream Beex’s The Early Years below via Bandcamp:
At present, all hard copies of the album are sold out! You can direct your letter-writing campaign for a second vinyl run to Beach Impediment Records.