Friday, July 3, 1998

Interview: Leather singer/songwriter (and St. Paul native) Rick Beech

(Published in Lavender Magazine, Issue #81, July 3, 1998)

PHOTO: Rick Beech

If you were at the recent Capital City Pride celebration in St. Paul, you probably know who Rick Beech is. He’s the singer who graced the Capital City Pride stage wearing boots and leather pants (no shirt to hide his beautifully-developed chest), and mesmerized the leatherfolk in the audience with his songs. What the non-leatherfolk in the audience thought of him might be another matter, but he’s gotten used to that.

One thing the leather/SM community does NOT seem to have a knack for developing is performers. Yes, leather contests feature performances of fantasies (erotic skits), and I’ve seen some adult video stars do some pretty amazing performances at leather events. But our community doesn’t seem to embrace the development of performance and entertainment skills with the passion of, say, the drag community.

So a singer/songwriter like Beech is a rarity, and not always appreciated. His songs touch on dark themes of sexuality, domination and pain, and his voice (reminiscent to me of The Doors’ Jim Morrison) is sensual, masculine and commanding. “Alternative rockers comprehend what I’m trying to do, musically,” says Beech. “Women like my music, and leathermen understand my music and appreciate it. Gay men who aren’t into leather tend to feel threatened by it, though. And I’m a singer, not a stripper or porn star, even though that’s what they expect me to be because that’s what I look like to them. So they don’t quite know what to do with me.”

Some facts about Beech: He’s a St. Paul native who lived here until age 10. He graduated from Becker (MN) High School and later attended Concordia College in St. Paul. His powerful voice is operatically-trained. The leather pants he wore on stage for his Capital City Pride performance are his first pair ever, given to him by his first boyfriend 15 years ago — he still has them, and he still fits into them. For someone who projects such an imposing stage presence, he’s surprisingly approachable. Various members of his (biological) family still live in the Twin Cities and were at Capital City Pride to see him perform.

Beech currently lives in Chicago, where he has worked in theater, music and radio for the last several years (he was a featured entertainer at the 1995 International Mr. Leather contest). He is now trying to focus on his singing and songwriting and is working on getting a recording contract. He’s forming a live back-up band. He’s very proud of one of his songs, “Suite of Pain,” that he didn’t sing for the Capital City Pride audience (“it would have been a little too intense”). And he’s working on, among other things, a cover of a Beatles song (“Tomorrow Never Knows” from the Revolver album). My prediction: You’re going to see and hear a lot more from Rick Beech.

Upcoming Leather Events

Atons present Hell Bent for Leather
Sunday, July 5, 7-10 pm, The Saloon
Featuring food, 75-cent tap beer and sodas, and door prizes including a Gopher-XIII run package. Something called “bondage massage” will be available—you’ll have to come to the event to find out what that’s all about. $3 with 1998 Minnesota Leather Pride dogtag ($4 without).

North Star Regional Rodeo and Great Northern Shindig
Thursday-Sunday, July 9-12, various locations
Presented by the North Star Gay Rodeo Association (NSGRA). Rodeo events Saturday and Sunday, dances and parties Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday. Check out the 24-page souvenir Rodeo program (prepared in large part by your humble columnist) in the current issue of Q Monthly. Also: They’re looking for volunteers to help with the rodeo. If the idea of spending a weekend rubbing elbows with rugged-but-friendly cowboys and cowgirls from across the U.S. and Canada appeals to you, call to volunteer.

Mark Your Calendar (for almost the rest of the year) . . . 

July 17-19: The Atons present Gopher Broke, Lucky 13. It’s their thirteenth semi-annual run, and it will be here before you know it, so register now! The theme is 1950’s leather in the spirit of Marlon Brando and “The Wild Ones.” For information and a registration form call; e-mail AtonsMpls@aol.com; visit www.starbase21.com/ATONS; or write Atons of Minneapolis, Minneapolis, MN.

July 17-19: 12th Annual International Ms. Leather Contest, Atlanta, GA (not for leatherwomen only!). For details call, e-mail imsl@synergy.net, or visit www.LeatherOnline.org/IMsL/.

Saturday, July 25: Sober Leather Fundraiser, details to be announced.

Saturday, July 25: One-year anniversary of the new Main Club in Duluth. There may be a leather caravan traveling from the Twin Cities to the Twin Ports that weekend; stay tuned for further details.

Sunday, July 26: Mr. Minnesota Fantasy fundraiser at The Saloon.

Friday, July 31: Olympus Leather fundraiser and beer bust at The Town House.

Saturday, August 8: Emperor & Empress Ball (Imperial Court)

August 14-16: Minnesota Drummer Fundraiser Weekend and Send-Off

August 21-23: International Mr. Fantasy Weekend, Omaha, Nebraska

August 28-30: Great Lakes Drummer Weekend, Columbus, Ohio

September 4-7: Mr. Minnesota Leather Weekend (Labor Day weekend)

September 5: Duluth Gay Pride Celebration

September 10-16: Chicago Hellfire presents Inferno XXVII, Chicago, Illinois

September 18-20: Ms. Minnesota Leather Weekend

September 25-27: Folsom Street Fair/International Mr. Drummer Contest, San Francisco

October 2-4: American Leathermaster Contest Weekend

October 9-12: Living in Leather XIII (sponsored by NLA International), Dallas, Texas

October 16-18: Mr./Ms. Minnesota Olympus Leather Contest, Fetish Weekend, and Community Service Awards (in conjunction with Pantheon of Leather)

November 22: Black Guard Chili Feed

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