- Chad Ramsay
Every band has an origin story. Some of them are boring, run-of-the-mill anecdotes about answering a newspaper ad or growing up on the same street. But 66beat, a two-piece guitar-and-drums outfit that plays riff-laden slabs of pure rock and roll, had their first conversation about playing together under auspicious circumstances.
“We met through mutual friends but had never really talked much,” says Aaron Bocook, the band’s singer and guitarist, while consuming a delicious tequila popsicle in the nicely appointed front room of the West Central neighborhood house where 66beat practices. “But we ended up being in Seattle at the same Mike Patton show and bumped into each other at Easy Street Records. I bought a Stooges T-shirt. We just ended up talking about music and had a really good conversation.”
“The only reason that conversation happened was because Kings of Leon parked their f---ing bus and blocked my car in,” says Paul Forster, 66beat’s drummer. “So I couldn’t go anywhere. I don’t remember what I bought.”
Bocook and Forster started playing music together shortly after that in 2005. At the time both were guitar players. A few projects started and then fizzled out because of various circumstantial and personnel issues. Bocook, in the meantime, concentrated on his solo project, DJ Big Time Rude.
“DJ Big Time Rude is my main focus,” says Bocook. “66beat is really just a side project. DJ Big Time Rude goes around to other DJs’ shows and takes all the credit for what they’re doing. I think DJ Big Time Rude has a bigger future than 66beat.”
The two were living together at the time, and one day while Bocook was playing the guitar, Forster decided to join in on the drums. It worked.
“I had played the drums before but never in a band,” says Forster. “But picking up the drumsticks and playing with Aaron and learning songs as a drummer has actually made me better at the guitar. It’s made me think of the structure of music from a different perspective.”
Despite only having two members, 66beat’s sound is remarkably full. Bocook uses a bit of guitar-amp wizardry to give his sound a little extra low-end oomph and Forster concentrates on the basics: hitting the right drums at the right time rather than forcing himself into anything too technical or ostentatious.
The influence of The Stooges is unmistakable. But it’s not sycophantic or pure mimicry. It’s a feeling that emanates from the music. Bocook’s guitar and vocals channel a rare brand of timelessness that can’t be from any place other than his heart. There is nothing artificial about the songs he writes. They almost seem like an expression of his physical being, like breathing. Or sweating. Or maybe sometimes pissing.
“I think influences are important,” says Bocook. “I don’t think there’s anything wrong with wearing your influences on your sleeve. I love The Stooges, I love Black Flag, I love the Ramones. I’m not trying to specifically sound like anyone, but it would be stupid to say I’m not influenced by the music I love.”
66beat plays Volume on Sat, June 1, at 10:30 pm at Merlyn’s • 19 W. Main Ave. • All-ages