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This is an exclusive music video premiere, part of The ARTery's effort to highlight ascending New England musicians.
“Buzzing sounds in the bike lane.” A young man glides down a brick alleyway on a razor scooter.
It’s the opening sequence of “Little Guys,” the newest music video from Allston indie rock group Beeef, an imaginative take on carefree, teenage aimlessness deep in the throes of a summer day. The band’s frontman Perry Eaton remembers this feeling fondly as an attendee of Camp Chickami in Wayland, Massachusetts. “It’s a nostalgic feeling about being a kid and growing up through the lens of summer camp,” he explains.
Now, as a high school English and history teacher, Eaton’s craft as a songwriter has transcended from the underground scene in Allston to the hallways of Beaver Country Day School in Chestnut Hill. “The cat got out of the bag pretty early on when I started teaching that I was playing in a band,” he says.
“I thought it could go one of a few ways; it could either seem like a really lame thing that your teacher is in a band, or maybe a few students would be into it and dig it. It ended up being the latter, I think,” he laughed. Beeef, which released its second full length album "Bull in the Shade" last July, scored five Boston Music Award nominations this past year, including Album of the Year.
After receiving interest from students to make a video for his band, Eaton approached Sejal Patel, the school’s video and photography teacher, to discuss a music video as a possible option for a project Patel assigns in her class. When Patel pitched the idea to her students, senior Evan Teperman jumped at the chance and approached Eaton about working on a video for "Little Guys."
“I first listened to it in the spring toward the beginning of summer — I was very excited to get out of school,” Teperman explains. “The lyrics really resonated with me.” Teperman, now a freshman at Elon University in North Carolina, is pursuing a major in cinema and television arts.
The video centers on a teenager, played by Richard Murphy, who rides his scooter around Beacon Hill in search of friends to hang out with. He stops at a CVS to stock up on the essentials — AriZona iced teas and Skittles — before embarking on a sauntering journey through the Boston Common. Meanwhile, Eaton slings the song’s spirited refrain with a belting head-voice; “Don’t stop pullin’ for the little guys!” Galaxie 500’s influence rings in the chorus.
Interlaced with Murphy’s ride are the lazy scenes of summertime: empty swings swaying on a playground, bubbles blowing in the park. These images — often in enclosed in quirky frames, like an old TV set, or soft, washed-out neons — pair nicely with the unhurried, loose jangle of “Little Guys.” Along with the vintage color palette and homespun production effects, Teperman captures a kind of hopeful meandering in the video that recalls the affable storylines and production found in early Pavement music videos.
“It’s a reminder that there’s always somebody out there like you as well,” Eaton says. “I love what Evan did with it. He really nailed the freedom of childhood and freedom of adolescence that the song pines for.”
And as both a teacher and artist, Eaton’s underdog message permeates with all. “From an educational standpoint, it’s really awesome to be able to create an experience for students where they feel like their audience is beyond getting a grade or pleasing their parents, or pleasing their teacher. It’s just a cool way to be creative for an audience that extends beyond the classroom.”
Beeef performs at Bishop’s Lounge in Northampton on Jan. 11.
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