Michael Henry - Bass & Voice
Jenyr Ramma – Drums
Michael Henry - Bass & Voice
Jenyr Ramma – Drums
Rough, raw, jagged, minimal, post-punk, art-rock…all of these terms could be used to describe Beatnikparty, but ultimatelythey come up a little short. True to their name, the lyrics and story-telling qualities of Michael Henry’s vocals harken back to beat poetry and the bards of pre-British Invasion times. BP’s presentation summons images of Bukowski or Burroughs pontificating in a smoky coffee house, but only if a clanging bass guitar and staccato drums were backing the vocals instead of bongos and finger snaps.
The blog Thoughts Words Action noted, “This interesting duo simultaneously explores several genres through their highly engaging music. Perhaps post-punk dominates the most, but you may also hear ingredients such as art-punk, art-rock, alternative rock, indie rock, and punk rock. However, the duo doesn’t stop there, so you will hear some other elements during this ear-appealing journey. Without any doubt, Beatnikparty will keep your attention from scratch to finish.”
Reading this, you’d be forgiven for assuming Beatnikparty was a complex ensemble, but in fact it a streamlined duo featuring Henry’s vocals and bass work while Jenyr Ramma drums and adds hand percussion. Together, they present their music with a taut minimalism that can explode with left-turns and surprises in a matter of bars.
In 2019, the duo recorded in Los Angeles with producers Bruce Duff (Circle, Pharaoh Overlord, Streetwalkin’ Cheetahs, Jesters of Destiny) and Paul Roessler (45 Grave, Screamers, GitaneDemone, Twisted Roots) at Josie Cotton’s Kitten Robot Studios. The results from the sessions were a single--a cover David Essex’s classic “Rock On” --and the five-song EP Heaps Lucky, both released that year. The EP was also issued as a four-song 8-track tape!
The band was inspired by the results of the sessions, but then, like everyone else, they were locked-down during Covid and barred from the recording studio. Undeterred, they began assembling their own studio in their home bit-by-bit, soon able to multi-track. They sent the tracks to Duff’s home studio where additional parts were added and Duff mixed. The resulting single, “She Got She Go” b/w “World is So Absurd” helped win new fans. Some parts, such as Vince Meghrouni’s wall of flutes on the A-side, were in-turn sourced from Vince’s home studio. Beatnikparty and Duff continued the procedure for the following single, “Pyramid Song,” which the blog Fruit Sonic described as “having a mysterious, sophisticated air about it proving Beatnikparty to be one of those bands that defies trends for something much more timeless. One of the highlights of the track comes from the tactile energy that pours from thedrumming, giving it a tribal glee.”
Bassist Michael Henry and drummer Jenyr Ramma got married in 1995; Beatnikparty formed a year later while the couple were living in Temecula, CA. They’d met at a Denny’s following the first show of Henry’s then-new death rock band Jonestown Julep circa 1990. Henry later played bass in punk band Twisted Nixon after which he formed Beatnikparty in 1996, initially a spoken word recording project.
Beatnikparty went live after Henry and Ramma relocated to Seattle, WA in 2000. Performing with a succession of drummers, recordings were compiled resulting in the cassette-only release RxWriting History (not issued until 2012). The DIY project nonetheless resulted in the song “Sk8 or Die” being featured in an episode of The Learning Channel’s Property Ladders. The couple’s frustration with the unending succession of drummers and guitarists led to Ramma getting a cocktail drumset (a streamlined set-up with a single drum acting as the kick and snare, with the pedal striking from underneath the drum) and thus becoming Beatnikparty’s permanent drummer in 2004. That same year they released Beatnikparty: The Bass Diaries (Vol 12:21); the 12-inch self-release was featured in Bass Guitar magazine.
Michael and Jenyr started on the follow-up, Love Your Face, following the couple moving to Olympia, WA. Relocation to Boise, ID followed in 2008, where the band performed regularly and was making some noticeable headway. Progress was halted when the couple was rear-ended and pushed into an oncoming school bus in a life-interrupting accident in 2011. A long recovery ensued, during which time the records that were completed were assembled and released as Love Your Face in 2012, a white-jacket 12-inch with identical programming on both side A and B and no printed information outside of the title. Also in 2012, the duo relocated (again) to Coolidge, AZ, where they seem to be settled, at least for now. After a few shows at Tempe’s renowned rock venue Hollywood Alley, the band went on hiatus in 2013 where they remained, until now.
"Beatnikparty are the sane growl/truth voice in the vortex...which has remained in this bitter earth...hearing their music, is like hearing short wave radio from another planet. The world that Beatnikparty rules...is where we all should end up...if we are good kids & learn how to clean our room." – Kim Fowley
"BeatnikParty is that rare rock & roll bird--experimental without being pretentious, this is pure art with a pure rock vision and a monstrously powerful sound...the bass is ace and the drummer hums! Loverly!" – John Easdale, Dramarama.