Whenever the first beats of “The Poor People are Revolting” from the Gotobeds, it immediately brings the image of a group of boys in one of their parents’ basements playing instruments that they have perfected to a tee. The scratchy voice of Eli Rasan gives this album a great overture for the instrumental tracks of this punk band that is still working its way through the music universe. I was able to interview Rasan about his recording experience, the band’s message for people to take away, and the plans for the future.
The Gotobeds are a Pittsburgh based band that has focused on its punk/indie rock persona for almost four years and has recently been signed on by 12XU Records for their first LP. The LP rolls out of the gate with the song “Fast Trash”, a fast paced number that has the lead singer/guitarist Eli Rasan’s voice giving the song an edge that goes well with the fast beat and guitar.
In fact, most of this album has a similar formula. Rasan’s voice keeps the songs together with the incredibly fast beat that Cary Belbeck keeps up with the drums and the backup singers keep the harmonies in check with a punk rock album.
“New York’s Alright” is a definite nod to the large amount of songs that praise New York that have become familiar in our culture today and it is also has a playful gesture to the eccentric New York bands that are struggling to get off the ground. There are some songs that have a slightly softer undertone, like in the fourth song “To & Fromme” where the guitar goes softer to let Rasan’s voice really shine through.
The lyrics themselves have a sense of detachment and overall apathy to the world as a whole. While this is to be expected from such a band, it is also clear that some of their messages can be applied to how some college students view the world today. Their lyrics discuss love, disillusion with the world as a whole and the struggle that comes with having your dreams moved from one ideal to the other.
“Rollin’ Benny” is definitely for students who wake up in the morning and do not want to leave their bed. In fact, Rasan explained to me that “Rollin’ Benny” is a joke towards “Rollin’ Danny,” a rock-a-billy tune that inspired the song-writer along that path. In that song are also some references to other bands that inspired the Gotobeds and it is a lot of stream of conscience.
He also told me that whenever he was in the midst of writing “Wimpy Garcia”, he and the band had mostly been playing around with the lyrics and found that it was a sound that they really enjoyed. They actually had to rewrite it for a commercial for some of the more vulgar lyrics that are in the song itself and the beginning title and the rewritten title, which is how Wimpy Garcia got the vote of approval from the band.
I talked to Rasan about what it was like recording with 12XU Records he told me that whenever he first started playing with Belbeck, he was lent a book that told how certain bands made it into their industry. The book was incredibly helpful because it also gave them a chance to find their record agent. His record agent, Gerald, according to Eli is one of the best agents that he could have ever had since from the moment he had first approached him with the early singles that he had recorded with Belbeck.
In the end, I asked Rasan what he would want to say to any college-age students who were listening to his band and he said, “If I were an inspirational band-dad, I would probably say something like ‘You should do what you love. The people who are the most successful did it because they loved it. Like Mac and Laura or Steve Jobs.’”