Reverend Beat-Man.

The Gospel of Beat-Man

Reverend Beat-Man is a mad trash rock’n’roll artist and owner of the label Voodoo Rhythm Records. Norient visited him on their quest for sonic traces in Switzerland.

Norient met the Swiss trash blues legend in the Voodoo Rhythm Records headquarter in a warehouse in an industrial area of the Swiss capital city of Bern.

Voodoo Rhythm Records headquarter in Bern.

Beat-Man told Norient the story how it all began:

Beat-Man first started to go on tour with his band The Monsters:

Touring with The Monsters, but also working as a stage hand and a one-man-sideshow for better known bands he started to build up a network around the world:

Beat-Man lost his voice and got serious back problems. So he couldn’t jump around on stage as he used to. So Lightning Beat-Man became Reverend Beat-Man:

Even though in Switzerland he is not a pop star he is probably one of the best known Swiss musicians abroad. He regularily tours in the U.S., in Japan, in Russia and all over Europe. At the moment he plans a tour to New Zealand. His music is global, a global kind of trash blues rock’n’roll, but Beat-Man somehow sees himself as a typical Swiss guy:

Swiss are being seen as perfectionist. Whether or not this is just a cliché Beat-Man believes that this is a true Swiss thing about him and his way of being a record label owner:

The Voodoo Rhythm label exists since 1992. Since then Beat Zeller a.k.a. Beat-Man has released dozens of records from bands or musicians such as King Khan and His Shrines, Zeno Tornado and the Boney Google Brothers, Bob Log III, Delaney Davidson, Dead Brothers, The Watzloves, Pussywarmers, Roy and the Devil’s Motorcycle, Mama Rosin just to name a few.

Voodoo Rhythm Records.
Voodoo Rhythm Records.
Voodoo Rhythm Records.

Reverend Beat-Man also has a lot of followers from other arts than just music. Such as lovely burlesque dancers, crazy silk print artists or passionate filmmakers who keep contributing video clips for the growing Beat-Man worshipping community:

Beat-Man can barely survive by running his record label. But he can rely on a fanbase in every corner of the world. There are fans who even tattoo the logo of the Voodoo Rhythm label in their skin. Sometimes he is surprised how far his fans go to show their admiration:

Beat-Man hopes one day to play in Africa where he says the roots for his music come from. Yeah… that’s rock’n’roll…!!!

The interview with Beat-Man is part of the Norient series Sonic Traces: From Switzerland.

Published on May 02, 2011

Last updated on January 15, 2020

Biography

Thomas Burkhalter is an ethnomusicologist and cultural producer from Switzerland. He is the founder and director of Norient – Performing Music Research (norient.com), and artistic director of the Norient Film Festival. Recent main projects include the documentary film «Contradict» (2019), the AV/theatre/dance performance «Clash of Gods» (2018), and the re-launch of Norient (2019). He published the book «Local Music Scenes and Globalization: Transnational Platforms in Beirut» (Routledge), and co-edited «The Arab Avant Garde: Musical Innovation in the Middle East» (Wesleyan University Press).
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