It's hard to know what to say about The Beauty Shop. I can imagine John Hoeffleur, the frontman, would probably be fine with me stopping here.
I tried describing the band to a friend, and came up with Leonard Cohen fronting the Violent Femmes if he was hanging with the old guys in the balcony from The Muppet Show. Though, I'm not sure if that means anything.
I think I could talk about "Paper Hearts for Josie" — one of my favorite songs from them — and the time I went to Record Service and picked up Yr Money or Yr Life on Christmas Eve from Brandon Washington to keep things from being super lonely down here. Or the time they played Pixies covers for The Great Cover Up, or later when they opened for Pete Yorn at the Canopy with John closing the set with "See you at Schnucks".
The Beauty Shop back in 2004.
Maybe one of my favorite stories John tells is the time they played a CUSR event and the crowd was pretty into it, dancing and listening. Then, the pizza showed up. That audience went from zero to sixty right out the door. That story always cracks me up.
It becomes apparent as I write this that my writing could use someone else to write this. After all, I think I described someone's guitar playing as "incendiary" back in the day when I wrote for the Parkland paper. Jesus.
I think the Beauty Shop, to me, is just a really great band. I think sometimes bands come along and just have no bullshit about them, and when that happens, it's really what music is about. Solid songs, AP (Ariane Peralta) on the bass, Creech
(Casey Smith) on drums, and John out front. I remember several live shows when the band would start up, then stop during the intro, and then try and give the song another go. That always stuck with me, if you can't play it like you want it to sound, starting over just seems right. What else were you going to do?
I hear Beauty Shop and I think of a time Downtown, seeing Becca on the drums with Jake in the Tractor Kings, Joe, Steve and Mark fighting off the Dinosaurs gang, or something at Rose Bowl — and John just always being John, Ariane probably the most solid bass player I've ever seen, and Creech capping off a rotating Spinal Tap of drummers with his sweet beard and solid playing.
Maybe that's why I love "Paper Hearts for Josie" so much. It sounds like a friend you haven't seen in a while calling you up to remind you about this really great time of ashtray couches and deep fried beer turkey, hangovers and beer cans half-filled with piss in the practice space, empty cigarette packs and remembering you were there to see it too.
I'm gonna miss The Beauty Shop.
I think I'll leave you with this from The Beauty Shop Wikipedia — and probably because citing Wikipedia is amateur hour, and will probably make John laugh that I'd leave you with some of his folksy wisdom, but here you go:
A good scene doesn't happen by smiling at each other and cheerleading - you have to go the show, you have to share the headliner spot, you have to work with people you don't know or even don't like, you have to have fights over things that matter, and you have to resolve them. And you have to do it a lot. Because you have to maintain a sense that you are all in the same boat.