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33 RPM
Written By: Vincent Paez
*Click images below to view larger versions.
33 RPM
Meet 33 RPM - Rock, Mike & Larry.
33 RPM
Super rock trio - 33 RPM.
33 RPM
Blowin' the roof at Bourbon St. on the Beach.
Three guys walk into a bar. A jock, a geek, and a stoner. They are the band. No, this is not the beginning of a joke. It’s what happens every time 33 RPM plays around town. Back in high school, Mike Beavan, lead vocalist and drummer, was the jock, Larry Biegel, lead guitarist, was the geek (who also lettered in three sports, for the record), and Rock Rollain, bassist, was the stoner. They are from Howard County, Md, and have been playing in Ocean City for about four years. Mike designs and builds luxury pools, and back in 2013, Larry was his customer. Upon noticing musical equipment in Larry’s home, Mike started discussing putting a band together with Larry. Rock was later found at a cancer benefit called Woodstock Rock, playing for another band. The result was 33 RPM, referring to the old LP records that played on a turntable at 33 1/3 revolutions per minute (RPM). If you knew that already, then you most likely are from the era of the songs that 33 RPM plays. The band had a very exciting gig at BJ’s on the Water on a Friday evening, and I caught up with them on Saturday morning at Mike’s home, where the band stays, when gigging in OC.

Vincent: “You guys always draw a good crowd. What makes your band so attractive to people?”
Rock: “People identify with us. We’re the guys you knew in high school. The jock, the geek, and the stoner! You can just picture us in the school cafeteria.”

Vincent: “And you must be the stoner, right, Rock? Or is that just an imitation of Grizzly Adams?”
Rock: “Yeah, the long hair thing works, and I swing it around constantly. I mean, people who go to see bands don’t want to see the boy next door; they want to see an alien being.” We laughed. “We all bring something different. Larry, you see, he’s the serious one – all quiet in the corner with all those guitars and electronics, and that’s part of his appeal.”

Vincent: “Larry, you’re in software sales, so you must be the geek, right?”
Larry: “Guilty as charged. I love technology. I have all my guitars set up with each one having different sounds coming from my electronics board.”

Vincent: “And what is that instrument that you blow into to play the Peter Frampton songs?”
Larry: “It’s called a mouth box. I use it when we play “Show me the Way” and also “Rocky Mountain Way” by Joe Walsh. It took me a while to figure out how to use it, because I had this tube in my mouth, and it wasn’t working out right, until I realized that I needed to contort my mouth to change the tone and presence of the sound. It’s all about practice really.”

Vincent: “That’s a rare sound to hear in a band in Ocean City.”
Larry: “Right, but also we pack a big sound for a band with three guys. I think that is what differentiates us. We have a big sound coming at you from vocals to bass to drums to guitars.”

Rock: “More than anything else, we hear from people that they cannot believe we are only a trio.”

Mike: “We have a very full sound. Larry brings so many guitars, Rock has a couple of guitars. So we’re able to vary the tones and sound throughout the night from song to song, and it gives a lot of dynamics to the performance, especially with our repertoire.

Larry: “And I have an amp simulator, so, as the night goes on, I am going from a Rocket to a Fender to a Marshall to a Mesa Stiletto amp sound to enable us to come closer to the attitude of song that we are covering. Not many guys out there do that, because they don’t want to bring all these amps to a gig. So, unless you’ve got an amp simulator and a special effects simulator, through the fractal, you’re not getting that kind of capability.”

Vincent: “Spoken like a true geek.” We all chuckled. I felt like I was speaking to the amplifier sales person at Guitar Center. “Your sounds are very entertaining. Speaking of entertaining, Mike, you’re the front man of 33 RPM, and you wear many hats.” It’s true, Mike switches hats from song to song during the performance.
Mike: “I started to sing years ago out of necessity, now I’m singing most of the songs and playing guitar on some songs. Lately, I’ve been trying to get up front a little more. Fortunately, in central Maryland and here in Ocean City, we have a handful of local drummers who enjoy sitting in with us and that allows me to get up front from behind the drums and play guitar and sing and become more of a true front guy. And I like getting closer to the crowd, especially when I switch hats, which the audience can see better up front.”

Vincent: “Tell me about a crazy incident that has happened at a gig?”
Mike: “Well, you were at one of them, Vince. I would say that one of the craziest things was when our PA (Pre-Amp) ‘blew up’ (Mike meant ‘stopped working’) after our first set at BJ’s. I immediately grabbed my phone and started calling friends who might have an extra PA that we could use. One of my calls was to Barry Reichart, the owner of Bourbon Street on the Beach. He had one, and he saved the day. So, you remember, you drove over there to pick it up and get it to BJ’s for us. Meanwhile, I was at BJ’s tearing cables off and on, trying to figure out what happened to our PA. Then you arrived with Barry’s PA, and we were up and running again.”

Vincent: “Yep. Once again, Barry delivers.” We all burst out into laughter. This is a reference to Barry Reichart having delivered a baby in his restaurant several weeks ago.
Larry: “Then there was another crisis in a similar vein, where you’re forced to contend with technical issues, again at BJ’s. Mike brought to our gig these huge fifteen-inch Peavey speakers that are taller than I am, and he was keeping them in his pickup truck. Unfortunately, it rained the night before, and Mike’s truck was outside. When we arrived at BJ’s, we couldn’t get them to sound right. He finally decided to take the horns out, and water started pouring out of them! We let them dry out, and in about an hour, they were working perfectly again!”

Mike: “For the longest time, BJ’s was haunted for us. So now, we have invested in a backup PA, cables, and other equipment. I was just telling Billy Carder (owner of BJ’s) last night, that we bought all this equipment, because we never want these things to happen again.”

Vincent: “Unbelievable about BJ’s. So, do you play more in Ocean City or in Howard County.”
Rock: “This year, we play mostly in Ocean City and at Players in Woodstock, Md., once every three months.”
Mike: “And we’ve played at T-Bonz in Ellicott City and The Woodstock Inn.”

Vincent: “And where can music lovers find you playing this summer?”
Mike: “They can check out our website, www.33rpmband.net, and that will lead them to our Facebook page. We have gigs at Bourbon Street, Beach Barrels, High Stakes and BJ’s. We hope to see everyone come out. We love to be in Ocean City, because our fans are what gives us our energy.”

With that, the band needed to get back to Howard County. They expressed how much they love Ocean City and the folks here. And in a flash, they were gone. But they will be back for regular gigs. Keep an eye out for them on Who’s Where When in coconutimes.com.

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