Klaus Beyer: outsider artist who sings The Beatles

Klaus Beyer
Incubate Festival
Live review
Sept 16th 2011

Watch Klaus Beyer sing The Beatles

The term outsider artist in an interesting one, a catchall for the kind of mavericks who very much operate under their own rules, their own take on popular culture. Daniel Johnston is famously an outsider artist but there are others who have stretched the fabric a lot further.

Klaus Beyer is from Germany, he looks like a Berlin taxi driver or bus conductor yet knows Einsterzende Neubaten, counts Thurston Moore as a fan and has acted in art house films. He looks so normal that its weird and has the air of Mr Spencer from Erazerhead about his mannerisms but not his look. Beyer has been deconstructing the Beatles for years.

Quite literally.

He takes their songs and cuts them up, taking out the Beatles vocals and replacing those sections with just enough riffs from the rest of the song to give him some space to sing over. He then uses the tapes live and stands there, a slightly portly and intense middle aged man and sings over the top, almost karaoke style but with a passion and intensity that karaoke could never have and it’s quite beautiful.

Beyer is obviously a Beatles freak, in love with their genius pop and has reconstructs the songs so that he can be inside them, giving him a deeper experience than just listening to them at home. Once onstage he has become the Beatles, albeit an off the wall, one man version- armed with scissors and cut up tape.

His merchandise is each one of the Beatles albums rerecorded by himself track by track and with the artwork doctored so that his own face appears on the album covers instead of the fabs. It’s disconcerting and slightly uncomfortable but throughly engaging and the sheer charm and enthusiasm that he has for his subject carries him through.

You have not lived until you hear Beyer sing ‘Yer Blues’ off the ‘white album’ with the casual élan of the superfan, with the Beatles you are never going to lose, you can tear these songs up, turn them inside out and they will always sound magnificent, Beyer, who has done just that before singing all the lyrics n German in his fragile voice, has the fan’s eye for respecting his subject matter and the Beatles are in his safe if fantastically eccentric hands…

His next project is to cover all the Beatles solo albums…that’s when the mind really boggles…later day Ringo anyone? The Frog Chorus? That’s when the going will get really strange.

John Lennon would have loved him and would have definitely signed him to Apple in the sixties…

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


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