Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Happy Birthday, Marty Beller!!

It has once again come time to celebrate the birthday of MISTER...... MARTY..... BELLER!!

In the year since I wrote his last birthday post, Marty has proved that some musicians only get better with age. In a single year, he has released a musical output that impressed me more than ANY I have heard in such a short period of time. Looking back on Album Raises New and Troubling Questions and Jonathan Coulton's Artificial Heart (not to mention contributions to albums by Stew and The Negro Problem and the Sugar Free Allstars), there is enough excellent drum work contained in those albums to equal a good year for anybody. But consider that the year also included Marty's mind blowing work on Join Us, and, well, it is just that... mind blowing. I still get chills listening to Judy Is Your Viet Nam. Celebration makes me positively giddy. And I fear one of my greatest musical regrets will forever be never getting to see Marty drum JoCo's Glasses live.

Marty is the type of performer most fans dream of. He is dynamic and talented, giving everything he's got to the audience night after night. Then when the show is over he gives even more, greeting fans from the front of the stage, signing autographs, posing for pictures, passing out drum sticks and drum drum heads, shaking hands. He goes above and beyond, turning a concert experience from a fun night out to a once in a lifetime experience for so many fans.

And on stage he is more fun to watch than any million dollar act you'd pay $200 to see. He has turned silent comedy from the drum riser into an art form, plays like a coiled spring unraveling with uncanny precision, and makes it all look effortless. One of my favorite things about seeing him play with Jonathan Coulton was after every performance of Mandelbrot Set, Jonathan would acknowledge Marty's performance with such admiration, and then tease him for not even breaking a sweat. I must have seen TMBG play Judy five times before I ever remembered to watch any other member of the band besides Marty, because his performance was so arresting. But my favorite moment of the whole year was watching Marty attack his drums so hard in a rendition of Clap Your Hands in Pittsburgh, that he literally blew out the front of his bass drum. Now THAT is true rock 'n' roll!

And on top of all that, through the release of his podcast this year, Marty also proved himself to be an enlightening conversationalist, with opinions I respect and learned from. It is one thing to be a fan of someone's music and performance and respect their talent, but it is so much better to discover they are an interesting, engaging, well spoken, funny and genuine person too.

So in honor of the birth of the King of the Drums, would you all please join me in blowing your throats out in one big celebratory scream. No wait, Marty can't hear you! He's wearing ear plugs! He's playing the drums! Scream louder! Now shut up and let the man relax on his birthday, knowing he is loved by thousands of fans who will gladly risk their ability to speak the next day, to show their admiration for his awesome talent.

Happy Birthday, Marty! You are truly one in a million :-)

(P.S. Thanks for that drum head. It makes me smile every time I look at it.)

Here are some pictures from the last year of the man rocking out, and if you haven't done so already, or feel like reading it again (it's worth it!) please enjoy this interesting and informative piece Marty wrote for Modern Drummer last year:

Marty Beller of They Might Be Giants for Modern Drummer

TMBG 4/21/12 #6

TMBG 3/10/12 #49


TMBG 2/10/12 #4

TMBG 2/9/12 #23


TMBG 10/29/11 #18

TMBG 9/28/11 #24

TMBG 9/8/11 #36

TMBG 9/8/11 #37

TMBG 7/30/11 #22

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