Beercan
By: Beck Hansen, Karl Stephenson

Written by: Beck Hansen, Karl Stephenson

Alternate Titles:

a.k.a. Beer Can

Versions:
  1. Beercan (4:00)
    Available on Mellow Gold and 3 other releases.
    Credits
    Rob Schnapf: Mix
    Tom Rothrock: Mix
    Mike Boito: Organ
    Beck Hansen: Producer, Vocals, Vocals (Background)
    Karl Stephenson: Producer
  2. Beercan (early version)
    Credits
    Mike Boito: Organ
    Beck Hansen: Producer, Vocals, Vocals (Background)
    Karl Stephenson: Producer
Unofficial Versions: [show/hide]
  1. Beercan (Jamesk Remix) (3:20)
    Credits
    Jamesk: Remix
 
 
Lyrics:
Beercan [Version (a)]:

Alcohol on my hands, I got plans to ditch myself and get outside
Dancing women throwing plates, decapitating their laughing dates
Swirling chickens caught in flight, out of focus and much too bright
Coming down, shiny teeth, game show suckers trying to breathe
But I got a drug and I got the bug and I got something better than love
How you like me now? Pretty good
Going on, feeling strong


I quit my job blowing leaves, telephone bills up my sleeves
Choking like a one man dustball, freedom rock slimeball talking in code
We went down, lit up the shack, grabbed me a beer out of the sack
Everybody bent over twice, painting the walls, throwing some dice
Leaping up into the air getting juiced up beyond belief
And they were singin' like this!

Winos throwing frisbees at the sun, burnt my soul between the bun
Now I'm wounded, now I'm drunk, now I'm runnin' like a flaming pig
Oh yeah, scraping off the attitude, old man eating all my food
Don't be kind, don't be rude, just shake your boots and let it all get loose
Oh yeah, my goodness

Fluffy clouds, lovely rainbows
I'm sad, a soft and snuggly place
Fluffy clouds, I'm sad and unhappy
Yppahnu dna das


Winos throwing frisbees at the sun, burnt my soul between the bun
Now I'm wounded, now I'm drunk, now I'm runnin' like a flaming pig
Oh yeah, scraping off the attitude, old man eating all my food
Don't be kind, don't be rude, just shake your boots and let it all get loose

Oh yeah, I like it like that
Oh that is cold
Somebody put a flamethrower on that
Uh-huh, oh my goodness!
Take me down to the depot
Somebody put me down on the bus
Oh yeah, I like it like that
Somebody burn me a plate of sassafrass
Oh yeah...
Beercan (early version) [Version (b)]:

Alcohol on my hands, I got plans to ditch myself and get outside
Dancing women throwing plates, decapitating their laughing dates
Swirling chickens caught in flight, out of focus and much too bright
Coming down, shiny teeth, game show suckers trying to breathe
But I got a drug and I got the bug and I got something better than love
How you like me now? Pretty good
Going on, feeling strong


I quit my job blowing leaves, telephone bills up my sleeves
Choking like a one man dustball, freedom rock slimeball talking in code
We went down, lit up the shack, grabbed me a beer out of the sack
Everybody bent over twice, painting the walls, throwing some dice
Leaping up into the air getting juiced up beyond belief
And they were singin' like this!

Winos throwing frisbees at the sun, burnt my soul between the bun
Now I'm wounded, now I'm drunk, now I'm runnin' like a flaming pig
Oh yeah, scraping off the attitude, old man eating all my food
Don't be kind, don't be rude, just shake your boots and let it all get loose
Oh yeah, my goodness

Fluffy clouds, lovely rainbows
I'm sad, a soft and snuggly place
Fluffy clouds, I'm sad and unhappy
Yppahnu dna das


Winos throwing frisbees at the sun, burnt my soul between the bun
Now I'm wounded, now I'm drunk, now I'm runnin' like a flaming pig
Oh yeah, scraping off the attitude, old man eating all my food
Don't be kind, don't be rude, just shake your boots and let it all get loose
Oh yea, my goodness

Oh yeah! Ah my goodness!
C'mon! Shake that stuff on me
Lay it on
C'mon
Ah yea!
Ah my goodness!
Lay it on down
I like it like that, I like it
I like it like that
Ah gimme some of that
Oh my goodness
Ah man!
Ah my goodness!
 
 
The Song:

"Beercan" is exactly what the song should be. That is, a fun party of a song, about a fun party.

This is one of the tracks Beck did with Carl Stephenson, who added his trademark layers of sound (lots of percussion, organ, and some awesome acoustic guitar) as well as odd samples about fluffy clouds and lovely rainbows (from a Care Bears album!). There's a lot to the music and it just seems like everyone is having a blast.

The best part about the lyrics to "Beercan" is its attention to detail and Beck's wonderful way of describing the action. There are not just people at a party drinking, but "game show suckers" with shiny teeth and "freedom rock slimeballs." Unique descriptions, but clear the type of people of whom he is referring.

That said, there is some depth to this party. Beck starts the song with his big plans to get juiced up, not totally for fun, but to "ditch myself" and, as implied, the others. It is a very bluesy take on drinking, and while everyone else is throwing frisbees and dancing, Beck's full of real worries. His drinking is escapist. He just "quit my job blowing leaves" and has "telephone bills up my sleeves" and he wants, no, needs to escape.

He succeeds whole-heartedly in the chorus, where he finally is drunk and his troubles are gone (well, forgotten): "just shake your boots and let it all get loose."

-

Recently, in 2014, a demo tape of Mellow Gold songs surfaced, which included an early mix of "Beercan." Much of the song is identical to the version on Mellow Gold--the same music and vocals, for instance. But there are a few notable changes. First, they tightened the whole song up. For example, in between the first two verses is a bass solo (and "how you like me now?"). On the demo, this part is slightly longer. Similarly, after the Melvins-sample guitar screech, there is also another slightly longer little bit that got cut out for the final version. Lastly, and most strikingly, the ending organ jam on the demo is entirely different and much longer. Some of the organ bits are the same, but it's definitely an earlier longer, more meandering section at this point. Beck's hilarious vocals about flamethrowers and sassafras are not there yet either, though he does do similar generic ad-libbing throughout this section.
 
Live:

Played live 212 times:
Earliest known live version: April 12, 1994
Latest known live version: October 12, 2014

One of Beck's more popular live songs, "Beercan" on stage is as entertaining as on record. It often gets a prime position in the setlist, and it never stays out of the setlists for very long.

Live versions of "Beercan" tend to be hugely entertaining, and often get a prime position in the setlist (usually as one of the encores, or the last song before the encores). It has been a part of Beck's shows from his earliest tours in the spring of 1994 up until today.


Scrapin' Off The Attitude 1994 version

One setlist report from April 20 1994 claims that there was an acoustic version of "Beercan." There's no bootleg that I know about... but wow! Really? I'm skeptical. But note it anyway.

The fall 1994 club shows at the end of the Mellow Gold tour often concluded with "Beercan." Listening to the bootlegs, Beck tends to sound out-of-breath singing this one, and it's easy to imagine him jumping around the stage as he sings. One result of this is that Beck tends to mess up the verses a lot, but that's part of the fun. . . it results in amusing ad-libs (like "My pants feel good tonight!" or "Grab your fancy pants and get on down like you're number one!"). The song is very drum and bass heavy (reminds me of "Diskobox" at times), along with an awesome keyboard solo during the ending jam, that would sometimes go on for particularly lengthy amounts of time.

The show on December 1, 1994 in France has one of the best live versions of "Beercan" you'll ever hear. Beck introduces the song as a "claustrophobic boogie" and he ad-libs lots of silly asides ("I'm talking about a cold ass fashion" and "My soul's sucked dry!"). It also really shows off his crack band (not band on crack).

Not as groovy as the record, but still these 1994 jams are terrific.

1995 Swirling Chickens version

Not a lot of boots from 1995, but one good one is August 27. Beck and his hyper punk band run through "Beercan," filling it with lots of keyboard effects and drums.

1996-1997 Everybody Bent Over Twice version

On the Odelay tour, "Beercan" was still being enthusiastically performed. With his new band, the song had a new tighter funkiness and was generally pretty exciting. It was much more faithful to the original's groove and arrangement. The middle bit never fails to make me laugh, as Beck, Smokey and Justin all take turns going "fluffy clouds! lovely rainbows!" One fun performance took place on July 21, 1996, where Beck had terrible difficulty remembering the lyrics. This of course led to a number of hilarious moments, and by the end, Beck just stopped singing and let a lengthy jam take over.

The band basically recreated the Mellow Gold arrangement and atmosphere as best as they could (which was quite good). Because of this it fit well with the Odelay tour and was played very regularly throughout.

1998-2001 Caught In Flight version

Some of the post-Odelay shows were wild pre-cursors to the funk and soul of Midnite Vultures. "Beercan" certainly fits with that, and the new arrangements included lots of Beck ad-libs and references to other songs (like "Electric Avenue") and a killer scratching solo in the middle from DJ Swamp. The Brass Menagerie really adds to the stew, as well.

The June 6, 1998, version in Saratoga began with one of Beck's weirdest intros: "My name is MC Self-Help and I'm helping myself to some vitamin-D milk tonight. I prefer mine homogenized. This is a jam from way back in 1993!" During the middle "lovely clouds" section, Beck advised "I want you all to visualize naked dolphins." By the end, he's "defying the logic of all sexx laws" and then jamming on "Whoomp (There It Is!)." Madness!

This arrangement was also used throughout the Vultures tours. "Beercan" wasn't played every night on the Vultures tours , maybe just about 25% of the shows. Often when it was performed, it was the first song of the night, a good set-up for the fun Vultures concerts. The biggest difference musically is that the middle "lovely clouds" section has been replaced with DJ Swamp scratching.

Summer 2003 Much Too Bright version

Beck had not played the song for two years before returning to the song on May 31 2003! It was a natural choice for the summer 2003 band, who were really talented with the fast and groovy rock songs. They fill "Beercan" with fun effects, the keyboard solo is as always especially cool.

2005-2006 Game Show Suckers version
Beck continued to play "Beercan" regularly through his Guero/Info world tours. New band, new energy, but still "Beercan" kills it. They seem to do it a little bit faster than in the past, and don't often do the entire song. The song ends once they get through the fluffy clouds bridge, usually seguing into another song directly.

Sept 25 2008
Don't have a bootleg of this, but this show was a short, spontaneous show that Beck and his band did throughout 2007 and 2008. They played whatever, and with whatever (often borrowing instruments). In a magazine report, it mentioned a "reworked rendition" of "Beercan." So this could be one of the few drastically rearranged versions of the songs ever. I'd love to hear it!

2009 Leaping Up Into The Air version
Beck played this a few times in March 2009 tour of Japan. While not full, it is longer than the previous versions. Coming out of the middle bridge, they don't end, but add another chorus. Then they stop, there is no long organ/outro jam.

2014 Let It All Get Loose version
Beck focused much of the Morning Phase tour on his high energy hits. "Beercan" joined the tour about halfway through, and they played it 13 times out of the 57 shows this year. It fit perfectly, performed with gusto, a loose party jam. They played the song in its entirety, similar to the record, though the ending organ jam was usually replaced by some adlibbing or a third chorus.

SUMMING IT ALL UP

OK this was long and repetitive. I'll sum it up here. In 1994, Beck played a basically grunge metal version of the song... heavy riffs, heavy drums, lengthy organ jam at the end. Yet it still followed the basic arrangement as the album.

Then for years, on Odelay and Vultures tours, Beck did better, replicating the groovy party atmosphere of the record. Some minor differences (Vultures band had horns), but all in all, not much changed for a long time.

Beck then for years took to doing shortened versions of the song (basically cutting off the entire outro part), though still recreating the sound of the record. In 2014, the "Beercans" were not shortened and performed in full (and the band really seemed to love the song).
 
videos

official video:



 
Notes: