To see the history of Big Eyed Beans From Venus in action (or at least in photos and MP3s), visit the Big Eyed Beans From Venus / Chicago Mike tour diary:
Big Eyed Beans From Venus is an Acoustic Rock & Soul duo that performs heavily in the Chicago / Northern Illinois / Southern Wisconsin area, as well as performing frequent tours of the Western United States, including Utah, Wyoming and Arizona.
Big Eyed Beans From Venus is a fun, engaging musical act that features powerful, soulful vocals and guitar by Texas-Sized Mike and a diverse array of talented revolving sidemen, including harmonica prodigy Little Red Babyface Kaplan, Punk-Rasta-Mutant-Hippie-Lawyer-From-Hell Dave Bagdade on mandolin, lead guitar and harmony vocals, Mike's soulful sister Elissa Rosen, a renowned Blues diva, and / or keyboardist / bassplayer, the Amazing Rich Maisel.
We perform an exciting acoustic mix of forgotten "chestnuts", crowd favorites and compelling original rock and soul music, including music by the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding, The Temptations, Al Green, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bad Company, Van Morrison, as well as classic Chicago Blues.
Big Eyed Beans From Venus was born in August of 1999 when Texas-Sized Mike (aka Michael Beck) found Little Red Babyface Kaplan (aka Derek Kornyleus Kaplan) lounging with a friend in his living room. Upon a suggestion from LRBFK, Mike pulled out his guitar and launched into Big Bill Broonzy's Key To The Highway. Within moments, LRBFK floored Mike with his effusive, groovy harmonica playing, made all the more amazing by virtue of LRBRK's tender age of 18.
Texas-Sized Mike and Little Red Babyface Kaplan began performing as a duo throughout clubs in Northern Illinois, establishing a fantastic musical rapport that left audiences standing on the bar screaming for more. An intense wanderlust soon enveloped LRBFK and he took off for Madison, Wisconsin, followed quickly by a stint in Austin, Texas where he recorded his first solo album Porn Music, Volume 1.
While LRBFK traveled our nation's highways, Mike hooked up with his musical attorney Punk-Rasta-Mutant-Hippie-Lawyer-From-Hell Dave Bagdade, a wicked acoustic and electric mandolin player, as well as a taleneted guitarist and harmony vocalist. Together they pressed on, performing every week under the Big Eyed Beans From Venus moniker throughout the year 2000. Highlights of year 2000 shows included performances with Chicago Blues piano master Barrelhouse Chuck and guest appearances by Blues diva Elissa Rosen, vocalist / guitarist Stew Antilles, and keyboard virtuoso Rich Maisel.
Work on their live CD "Big Eyed Beans From Venus - Alive!" began in earnest in January of 2001, as Mike began listening through hundreds of hours of recordings from nearly two years of performances. The highlights of these recordings were distilled down to 45 minutes featuring the best moments from Big Eyed Beans From Venus' live shows.
Big Eyed Beans From Venus also made several appearances in Park City and Salt Lake City, Utah during the Sundance Film Festival, performing both at clubs and private film industry parties, as well as performing live on KRCL 90.9 FM. Return engagements for Sundance are already booked and Beans will also be performing in Park City and Salt Lake City during the upcoming 2002 Winter Olympics.
Little Red Babyface Kaplan, after leaving the excessively polluted capital of Austin, Texas for a Winter in the mountains of Burlington, Vermont, returned to the suburbs of Chicago to renew his musical alliance with Texas-Sized Mike.
In March of 2001, Big Eyed Beans From Venus will make their first trip overseas. They are scheduled to perform four shows at various pubs in Germany with Stewart Rocks! The European incarnation of Big Eyed Beans From Venus features jazz pianist and keyboard ace Rich Maisel, who performed gigs with Mike five days a week in the Summer of 2000 with the Banner Band.
There's lots more to come for Big Eyed Beans From Venus, including April's appearance at the 26th Annual Flyin' Zion Easter Party, just outside Utah's Zion National Park, performances in Flagstaff, Arizona, as well as their debut appearance in Kyoto, Japan in June 2001.
Their debut studio CD is currently in production and expected to be available in time for the holidays this year! Check back at this site often to hear advance-release "rough mixes" of this work in progress!
But don't wait to hear the recording... Come see Big Eyed Beans From Venus Live soon! See you there!