Robert Bush noon, Oct. 23
RIYL: The Beat Farmers, Jerry Raney and the Shames, Dave Alvin and the Blasters, Mojo Nixon, the Pleasure Barons, Los Lobos, the Incredible Hayseeds, Country Dick's Petting Zoo, Country Dick's Garage, Raney-Blue, Powerthud, the Mentals, the Flying Putos
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- Musician Interview: "Rolle Love & the Beat Farmers" · Jan. 25, 2012
Influences: Dave Alvin and the Blasters, Los Lobos, the Incredible Hayseeds
Rolle Love grew up in Bird Rock, near future Ratt guitarist Warren DeMartini. “He was my best friend. When he was first going up to L.A., I would go with him. We were in high school, and we would always end up in Mötley Crüe’s or David Lee Roth’s apartment off Sunset. He was just like he is onstage. He and Country Dick had a lot in common.”
A haircut changed Love’s life.
At 17, he was a hard-rocking bassist with a crash pad in North Park. “We furnished it with cases of beer, and we drank our furniture.”
A major life change came after Love saw his first rockabilly concert. He traded metal for a new look. “The first thing I did was to go to Hillcrest and find a barber who would cut my hair rockabilly style.”
Debbie Scott worked some pompadour magic on Love, just as she’d done for others, including an East County guitarist named Bernard “Buddy Blue” Seigal. It was 1981. Scott arranged for the two to meet. Blue asked Love to join his Rockin’ Roulettes. Later, Love would follow Blue to a new band called the Beat Farmers.
“Basically, I was in the band so they could rehearse till they got the right bass player. I was like a puppy with my tail wagging. They never did ask me to join the band. I just did everything I could to keep up with those guys.”
“We started out at the Spring Valley Inn. It got too crowded, so we had to bump up to Bodie’s. There’d be a line out the door there. Eventually, we had to bump up to the Bacchanal.”
The Beat Farmers essentially ended after frontman Country Dick Montana died during a Beat Farmers gig in Whistler, British Columbia, on November 8, 1995. At the end of the set's third song (his second behind the drum kit), "The Girl I Almost Married," Montana slumped over. Guitarist Jerry Raney began to play Hank Williams's "Setting the Woods on Fire," but all Montana managed to do was hit a cymbal, look at Love, and then lie slowly across his kit.
“Yeah. I looked him right in the eyes while he died. It was tough. Later, I had to go to the first-aid station where they took him and identified him. But the worst thing? Driving home in the van and looking back and he wasn’t there.”
Montana's cause of death was ruled an acute aneurysm. He had cysts on his kidneys, and it has since been revealed by road manager Ames that Montana knew he had a blood clot in his leg but hadn't gone to a doctor for treatment. On the day of the gig, a Whistler, B.C., paper described Montana as "a man who already has one foot in the grave."
The remaining Beat Farmers decided to dissolve the band three days later; however, the remaining members formed several new bands including Raney-Blue, Powerthud, the Mentals, and the Flying Putos.
“What I did after Dick died is I went into a self-imposed retirement. I picked up a surfboard and I went back to my roots. I lived on P.B. Point for a good five years.” A reunited band called the Farmers (Buddy Blue, Jerry Raney, Love, and drummer Joel Kmak) released a new album, Loaded, on September 2, 2005.
Buddy Blue died unexpectedly on April 2, 2006, at his La Mesa home. He was 48. Love recalls “I was at my mother’s house in Fallbrook, and our road guy called me up and told me Buddy had died, and I didn’t believe it. It was April Fool’s Day. It was brutal. I just couldn’t believe it was happening all over again.”
On June 6, 2008, Love left the Farmers, his departure leaving Jerry Raney as the sole original Beat Farmer in the group. Raney, who has been a mainstay of San Diego’s music scene since the early 1960s, never considered splitting the group.
“Rolle just didn’t want to do it anymore," Raney told the Reader, "but we had a bunch of gigs lined up that I didn’t want to cancel. There was no doubt we would keep going.” Another ex-Penetrator, Chris Sullivan, replaced him on bass.
On January 7, 2012, Rolle played a partial Beat Farmers reunion. The Dick Blue Ball, a Beat Farmers Celebration of the Life and Times of Country Dick and Buddy Blue at the Belly Up Tavern, featured Steve Poltz, Joey Harris, Romy Kaye, and the Buddy Blue Reunion Band, as well as Candye Kane with Laura Chavez.
Love currently plays with Billy Joe & the Roosters.