On Friday, March 7, the St. Louis bike and punk communities come together to help out a veteran from both fronts. Peter "Peat" Henry, a hyper-positive personality who spent years pogo-ing across stages in bands including the Pubes and Nerve Parade, recently fractured his femur at the hip during a recreational bike ride that followed an intense competitive race. Friends from near and far — including Kansas City's Faultfinder — are hosting a special benefit party to help recoup costs, and all are welcome to show up for the fun.
"The first thing I ever said to Peat Henry was, 'I have to kick you off the stage, because we have to play now,'" remembers St. Louis ex-pat Don Beasley of Faultfinder. The "stage" was plywood set over a garage floor, the air chalky with kicked-up rock dust. Henry, the frontman of the infectiously poppy Pubes, responded with his trademark happy-go-lucky grin, accentuated by what Beasley describes as "big shards of purple hair."
The Pubes and Beasley's own off-kilter punk outfit, Corbeta Corbata, both played their first show ever together, in a seemingly unlikely setting: a pig farm in Wildwood. Down a long gravel driveway that led up a big hill, a bunch of teenaged misfits hauled equipment to unknown territory, debuting their fast, snotty songs to fresh ears in 2001.
Henry, then an active BMX biker, now a professional endurance mountain bike and cyclo-cross racer, devoted plenty of time to fronting bands over the years, but his love for cycling grew to play a central role in his life.
"I was always active in riding BMX bikes," says Henry. "If you're doing that sort of thing, you're sort of a knucklehead and have a certain kind of energy. I was into punk rock and I always thought I was more of a frontman than a singer, and more of a bike rider than a musician."
Now both in their early thirties, Beasley, Henry and friends reunite to throw down another action-packed evening for the record books. Faultfinder performs in St. Louis as part of a four-show Midwest tour — the latter three stops will also feature local hardcore act Shaved Women.
Beasley joined Faultfinder in 2010, adding moody, textural guitar parts to the band's evolved take on dark punk, channeling ideas inspired by everything from Phillip Glass to Nomeansno through chastened and choked strings. No stranger to unique show settings, he played his first show with the band's current lineup at a friend's wedding in a Kansas City VFW hall — one that in the past hosted legends including Minor Threat and Black Flag.
Faultfinder's lineup consists of Beasley on guitar, along with Ben Biersmith on drums/vocals, Mookie Ninjak on bass/vocals and Steve Shoup on guitar. The four-piece creates aggressive punk that Beasley likens to a mix of Black Sabbath and Flipper, or maybe a metal version of Crass.
Past these base-level comparisons, the group creates a unique sound that's entirely up to individual interpretation. Songs are built from the bottom up organically, spiked with half-yelled, half-growled confrontational storytelling. Forceful, from-the-gut punk switches from grimy down-tempo drudgery in one song to fast-paced guitar noise and percussive thrashing in the next.
Continue to page two for more on Faultfinder and the benefit for Peat.
Faultfinder currently has a couple of demos available — limited runs of tapes as well as digital downloads — and looks forward to releasing a full-length LP soon. The benefit will be the band's first official performance in St. Louis aside from a last-minute house show last year. For Beasley, the homecoming event turned fundraiser for a friend makes him nostalgic.
"I think this is the first time I've ever played a show in the neighborhood I grew up in. I grew up at Chippewa and Gravois. I don't think I've ever played a show that close to there in my whole life," he says. "Coming from out of town is weird, too. I'll be driving several hours to come back to the neighborhood where I used to ride my bicycle."
In addition to Faultfinder, look forward to sets from Shaved Women, Lumpy & the Dumpers, the Conformists, Life Like, the Funs and Catholic Guilt. SpokedSTL hosts a pre-party at Handlebar, followed by a group ride to the show at the Heavy Anchor. Several raffles, including goods and services from companies including Vintage Vinyl, Iron Age Tattoo and Big Shark Bicycle Company, and even a bake sale, will aid the cause. Music begins at 8 p.m.
"I just want people to have fun," says Henry. "All the bands that are playing are going to be awesome. I want them to dance like I can't. Dance for me, because I won't be able to go full throttle like I normally would."
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