Beck



Beck Hansen (born Bek David Campbell, July 8, 1970) is an American musician, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.

Beck Hansen was born in Los Angeles, California, to David Campbell (a musician, Canadian, Scientologist and son of a Presbyterian minister) and Bibbe Hansen (a visual artist of half Norwegian, as well as Swedish and Jewish descent, also a Scientologist). When his parents separated, Beck stayed with his mother and brother in Los Angeles, California, where he was influenced by that city's diverse musical offerings—everything from hip hop to Latin music—and his mother's art scene – all of which would later reappear in his recorded and published work. He didn't have many friends in his childhood, which gave him time to develop his musical talent.

After dropping out of high school in the mid-1980s, Beck educated himself and traveled widely. During this period he learned and developed his talent through the art of busking. In Germany, he spent time with his maternal grandfather, Fluxus artist Al Hansen. The late-'80s found him in New York City as part of the punk-influenced anti-folk music movement.

Beck's music—with its pop-junk culture collage of musical styles, oblique, ironic lyrics, and post-modern arrangements incorporating samples, drum machines, live instrumentation and heady sound effects—was among the most idiosyncratic of '90s alternative rock. Although Beck's work defied easy description, his eclecticism and genre experiments sparked comparisons with Prince, though Beck was undoubtedly a less prolific artist and drew on an absurdist, free-flowing lyrical style that was totally original when first exposed to mainstream audiences (indeed, some critics labeled him and his breakthrough single "Loser" as novelties). Despite this individualism, Beck's music was very much a product of the '90s and the media age in general, with hip hop, indie/underground rock, electronic music and genre-benders like the Beastie Boys as notable touchstones; in addition, some critics could not resist likening his head-spinning lyrical aesthetic to a post-modern Bob Dylan sensibility.

In 1988, he recorded a cassette entitled "Banjo Story", which has since become available in bootleg form.

Beck returned to Los Angeles at the turn of the decade, destitute but motivated. To support himself, he took a variety of low-paying, dead-end jobs, and even lived in a shed, all the while continuing to develop his music. During this time, Beck sought out (or snuck onto) stages at venues all over Los Angeles, from punk clubs to coffee shops and even busking on the streets. This is also when he met Chris Ballew (founder of The Presidents of the United States of America) and they even performed on the streets as a duo for a while. In the spirit of an artist struggling to make a name for himself, his shows were memorable for their mix of humor and eccentricity. Some of his earliest and most thought-provoking recordings were achieved by working with Tom Grimley at Poop Alley Studios, a part of WIN Records.

In this atmosphere of heady creativity the founders of Bong Load Custom Records, Tom Rothrock and Rob Schnapf discovered Beck, signing him to their fledgling label. "Loser", a collaboration between hip hop nuance producer Carl Stephenson and Beck created a sensation on alternative radio that led to a furious bidding war between labels to sign Beck. Eventually, he chose Geffen Records, who offered him terms that included an allowance for the release of independent albums while under contract.

In 1994, Geffen's official debut release of Mellow Gold, culled from sessions with Rothrock, Schnapf, and Stephenson, made Beck a mainstream smash success; it also led to his iconic status as the "slacker" representative of the alternative rock scene.

At the same time, he released Stereopathetic Soulmanure on Flipside Records and One Foot in the Grave on independent K Records. Beck took his act on the road in 1994 with a worldwide tour, followed by a spot on the mainstage of the 1995 Lollapalooza tour. Still, some critics panned him as a one-hit wonder. Audiences' (especially at Lollapalooza) familiarity with "Loser", and their general disinterest in his other work only reinforced his image as a one-hit wonder. When it came time to record his follow-up to Mellow Gold, he enlisted Rothrock and Schnapf as producers and cut an album of moody, low-key acoustic numbers to showcase his songwriting, hoping to distance himself from the "Loser" craze. Eventually having a change of heart and shelving the album, Beck was introduced to the Dust Brothers, producers of the Beastie Boys' album Paul's Boutique, whose cut-and-paste, sample heavy production suited Beck's vision of a more fun, accessible album.

What resulted, 1996's Odelay, would finally put the one-hit wonder label to rest. The lead single, "Where It's At," received heavy airplay and its video was in constant rotation on MTV. Within the year, Odelay had received perfect reviews in Rolling Stone and Spin magazines, having been listed on countless "Best of" lists (it topped the Pazz & Jop Critics Poll for 'Album of the Year'), receiving double-platinum status, and earning an impressive number of industry awards, including two Grammies.

Odelay was followed in 1998 by Mutations. Though the album was originally supposed to be released on Bong Load Records, Geffen intervened and issued the record against Beck's wishes. The artist then sought to void his contracts with both record labels, and in turn the labels sued him for breach of contract. The litigation went on for years and remains unclear to this day if it was ever completely resolved. Produced by Nigel Godrich of Radiohead fame, it was intended as a stopgap measure before the next album proper. Recorded over two weeks, during which Beck recorded one song a day, the sessions produced 14 songs. Mutations was a departure from the electronic density of Odelay, and was filled with folk and blues influences. Songs on the album consisted of older tracks, some even dating back as far as 1994. Track 10, "Sing It Again", was written for Johnny Cash, but Beck never submitted it, considering it "rubbish." Cash would go on to record "Rowboat," a song that originally appeared on Beck's Stereopathetic Soulmanure.

During 1998, Beck's art collaborations with his grandfather Al Hansen were featured in an exhibition entitled 'Beck & Al Hansen: Playing With Matches' and showcased solo and collaborative collage, assemblage, drawing and poetry works. The show toured from the Santa Monica Museum of Art to galleries in New York City and Winnipeg, Canada. A catalogue of the show was published by Plug In Editions/Smart Art Press.

In 1999, Geffen released the much-anticipated Midnite Vultures, an orgy of sexual and culinary innuendo supported by a world tour. For Beck, it was a return to the high-energy performances that had been his trademark as far back as Lollapalooza. The live stage set included a red bed that descended from the ceiling for the song "Debra" and the touring band was supplemented by a brass section. Midnite Vultures was nominated for Best Album at the Grammys.

After Midnite Vultures came Sea Change in 2002, another airy and emotional album with producer Nigel Godrich, which became Beck's first U.S. Top 10 album, reaching # 8. The album was also met with critical acclaim, earning five stars from Rolling Stone, the magazine's rarely awarded highest-rating and later placing second in the Pazz & Jop Critics Poll for 2002. Sea Change was conceptualized as an album with one unifying theme—the stages following the end of a relationship. The album also featured string arrangements by Beck's father David Campbell and a sonically dense mix reminiscient of Mutations. Although some radio singles were released, no commercial singles were made available to the public. Beck embarked on a solo acoustic tour of small theaters and halls prior to the release of Sea Change, during which he played several songs from the forthcoming album. The post-album release Sea Change electric tour featured The Flaming Lips as Beck's opening and backing band. Since then Wayne Coyne, their lead singer, has criticized Beck for his behavior on the tour.

Beck has a number of B-sides and soundtrack-only songs as well, including "Midnite Vultures" (curiously, not on the album of the same name), a cover of The Korgis' "Everybody's Got to Learn Sometime" which appeared in the 2004 movie Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and David Bowie's Diamond Dogs from Moulin Rouge.

In 2004, Beck returned to the studio to work on his sixth major-label album. The record, Guero, was produced by the Dust Brothers and Tony Hoffer and features a collaboration with Jack White of The White Stripes; it marked a return to Odelay-era sound. The album was released in March 2005 and enjoyed critical acclaim from most mainstream press, earning four stars from Playboy and Rolling Stone, as well as a "Critic's Choice" recognition from The New York Times. However, the album received a less enthusiastic response from Beck's indie-oriented fanbase, as shown by the relatively low 6.6 (out of 10) score given by Pitchfork. Nonetheless, the album debuted at #2 on the Billboard charts, pushing 162,000 copies in the first week and giving Beck his best week ever in terms of commercial sales and chart position. Since the release of Guero, the first single, "E-Pro", has been well received by the mainstream rock community, and has seen a large amount of play time. The second single, titled simply "Girl", is a bright, upbeat song appearing at first to be about summer love; however, a closer look at the lyrics reveals a darker side to the song. "Girl" received heavy airplay on various college radio stations. The third, and final single, was "Hell Yes".

Beck performed at the music and arts festival Bonnaroo in Manchester, Tennessee on June 17, 2006. Beck performed many songs from his album Guero. In addition to his band, Beck was accompanied onstage by a group of puppets, dressed as him and members of his band. Live video feed of the puppets' performance was broadcast on video screens to the audience. The puppets are part of his 2006 world tour.

At the Bonnaroo festival, Beck revealed to MTV that in 2006 he planned to release a Nigel Godrich-produced follow-up to Guero and a 10th anniversary edition of Odelay. The album, The Information, reportedly took more than three years to make, and is described as "quasi hip-hop." It will include a sheet of stickers, which are used to "make your own album cover." The lead single, "Nausea", officially went to radio on September 5, 2006. In the UK, the first single will be entitled "Cellphone's Dead", according to the Annie Mac radio show of September 19, 2006. The new album is scheduled to be released on October 3, 2006.

Beck married Marissa Ribisi, the twin sister of actor Giovanni Ribisi, in April 2004, shortly before the birth of their son, Cosimo Henri Hansen.

Beck has been involved in Scientology for most of his life, but has only recently publicly acknowledged this fact. It is not clear what his involvement was during the 1990s, but he appears to have distanced himself from it to some degree.

His name appears in Scientology literature again in 2003, showing that he is a member and a donor. In April 2004, he married Marissa Ribisi, who is also a second-generation Scientologist. The actress has a small website proclaiming her success with Scientology on which she encourages others to learn about it. On the site, she wrote, "Scientology works! Without it, I don't know where I'd be."

Beck publicly acknowledged his affiliation with the Church of Scientology for the first time in an interview published in the New York Times Magazine on March 6, 2005. Further confirmation came in an interview with the Irish Sunday Tribune newspaper's i Magazine in June 2005, where he is quoted as saying, "Yeah, I'm a Scientologist. My father has been a Scientologist for about 35 years, so I grew up in and around it." When questioned, he was vague on Scientology's core beliefs.

* Made a very brief voice-only appearance in 1998's The Rugrats Movie.

* Beck performed a guest voice in an episode of Matt Groening's animated show Futurama, playing himself. In keeping with Beck's sense of humor, there is much self-deprecation ("'Odelay' is a word! Just look it up in the Becktionary!"; "Like when I wrote Devils Haircut, I was feeling really... what's that song about?"). The Becktionary is subtitled "From Bzooty to Whiskeyclone", and a reference to a Rhyming Becktionary is also made.

* Has made cameo appearances in music videos for The White Stripes' "The Hardest Button to Button" and The Stone Roses' "Love Spreads".

* Contributed an infamous "phoned-in" rap to the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion song "Flavor", and also appeared in the music video.

* Windows Media Player comes with a sample of Beck's song "Beautiful Way."

* Beck is featured as one of the artists performing in the North American Hallowe'en Prevention, Inc. song, "Do They Know It's Hallowe'en".

* Loser is #200 on Rolling Stone magazine's "500 Greatest Songs of all Time" list.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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