All killer, no filler

Beefdonut’s new album is simple, verse-chorus-verse, gimmick-free grunge rock

Local songwriter-turned-band Beefdonut is going grunge with the new Famous for Quality record, the follow-up to 2007’s Triple Back Flip into the Splits.

The project is essentially a solo outlet for Joel Klaverkamp, who began using the name in the mid ‘90s when he released some music via cassette tapes and played the occasional show.

“It’s always been something that’s been on the backburner, it’s never been a big focus,” says Klaverkamp, 40, who’s also associated with leading Skingerbreadman, The Hummers, and Drums and Wires. He’s also played drums for Boats and bass for Greg MacPherson, among many other local musical acts.

“It’s obviously not as collaborative as the other stuff I do. When I’m actually playing in a band we’ll be writing stuff together while this is mostly my own ideas.”

Klaverkamp says Famous for Quality is a bit of a departure from the music he’s released in the past.

“My last record is a bit more all over the place, there’s a lot of electronic music going on, while Famous for Quality is more of a rock record with just guitars, amps and drums,” he says.

“The title is sort of a self-deprecating joke because I’m not famous and even if I was famous it would probably be for quantity, not quality. I’ve done lots of different stuff over the years.”

Klaverkamp has officially labelled Famous for Quality as “the grunge Beefdonut record” and says he got the inspiration to go in that direction back in 2009.

“I was listening to a lot of garage stuff going on at the time, lots of straight ahead, simple rock songs that try to capture live energy,” Klaverkamp says. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do for the last five years and now I’m finally releasing it. Skingerbreadman is probably the closest thing I’ve done to grunge in the past, but I’d still say that band is more prog-rock.

“It’s sort of about a lack of novelty. It’s kind of making a statement about novelty and that’s probably my favourite thing about grunge. There’s no gimmicks to it, it’s just simple and stripped down. It forces us to recognize how attractive novelty is and kind of reassess whether that’s a good thing.”

The majority of the album was recorded by Klaverkamp at his home, with the exception of the drums, which were tracked at Video Pool with Michel Germain.

“I’ve always done it (recorded) myself for the most part, which is both good and bad,” Klaverkamp says. “This one was faster for me to record than usual, probably because I did have a bit of help. My friends Jaime Carrasco played the drums and Hilary Crist did back-up vocals.

“I took so long between records because I was living in London, England when the idea first came to me, and when I wrote all the songs I didn’t really have access to my gear. By the time I actually started recording back home in Winnipeg, everything was mostly written.”

Published in Volume 68, Number 22 of The Uniter (March 5, 2014)

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