Perry Eaton met Dan Schiffer at Boston University. They were roommates for a couple of years, and in 2010 decided to start the local music blog Allston Pudding. The website brought them closer to the local music community and ultimately inspired them to start playing music in 2014. Drummer Neil Patch, an early contributor to the site, joined Eaton and Schiffer's jam sessions, and the three became roommates in Allston.

"Eventually, we started jamming in the basement with the intention of playing a Creedence Clearwater Revival cover set at a 4th of July party," Eaton says. "Alas, we realized that John Fogerty's vocals are no small feat, so despite learning half their catalog, we abandoned the idea and decided to start writing songs of our own."

Patch asked his college friend and guitarist Josh Bolduc to join the band, and the rest is history. "We put a demo together, started playing locally, and have been committed ever since." Since then, Beeef the band has released two critically acclaimed full-length albums, including their 2019 album Bull in the Shade.

Eaton goes on, describing their music as "jangly nostalgic basement-rock," but what I also hear is the sound of a scene. Combining their DIY spirit with inspired songwriting, Beeef captures the everyday affairs of a community walking the line between late adolescence and early adulthood, creating a soundtrack that encapsulates the energy of living in a neighborhood like Allston.

I caught up with him to learn more about their beginnings as a band, and to take a deeper dive into how their local roots manifest themselves in their music. Excerpts are below.

The band Beeef
Andrew Gibson

The first songs Eaton wrote for Beeef were "Firework" and "Dogsh** Paradise," both about life in the city.

The former was about riding bikes around Boston on the evening of the Fourth of July, and the latter was about a particularly disgusting apartment that we lived in and an upstairs neighbor whose dog took a liking to the sidewalk out front of the apartment.

With the lyrics and basic structure in order, the band then collaboratively added different layers to the songs and after going through them several times in the basement, it all kind of worked itself out. We're all pretty open to trying new things on a song and figuring out what sounds best.

As they continue to write their music, they continue to find inspiration locally.

We've been able to film a few music videos featuring friends and establishments that we know and love around Allston.

I'm a high school teacher by day, so some of our more recent songs have been inspired by random things that I encounter while working with teenagers and seeing a bit of my own experience in theirs.

The band's first show was at O'Brien's in Allston in January 2015.

I think the set is on YouTube, and I'm pretty sure it's not particularly good. But, you gotta start somewhere. I shamefully don't recall the rest of the bill that night, but I remember it being a fun one, and a gig that kicked off a love affair with O'Brien's that continues to this day. I'm pretty sure we've played that room more than any other over the years, and Ryan Agate, who books O'Brien's, always puts on excellent shows that champion local talent.

But when it comes to their most memorable performances in Boston, it's their album release shows.

As someone who attends shows regularly, it's not always the most exciting thing to see bands play nothing but new stuff, but for these shows, the audience has always really bought in and responded positively.

Another that comes to mind is when we opened for Alvvays at The Paradise. It was the first time we had the chance to play on a bigger stage and we still get people that come up to us at shows saying that they discovered our music that night. That type of feedback is always really great to hear.

The band has a habit of being punctual to shows, relative to your average "rock and roll time,"

That isn't supposed to be a brag either. If load-in time is 6pm, we'll typically get there around then and then just kind of hang around for a few hours waiting for the show to start.

And they'll occasionally throw Built to Spill's "Carry the Zero" into a set.

And at least half of Beeef is comprised of huge Grateful Dead fans, so sometimes in between songs an impromptu "Fire on the Mountain" will bubble up. Early on we would jam on tunes by Real Estate, Polaris, and Pavement, too.

Career options outside of music?

We all work full-time jobs in addition to being musicians, so we do quite a lot in addition to being in a band. If we weren't in a band, though, we would likely all remain close to music, whether it's booking shows, writing about bands, or being in the crowd. We've made a lot of great friends as a result of being a part of a music community, and there are plenty of folks who aren't in bands who are integral to making that community thrive.

Where can Boston see you perform next?

We haven't announced any upcoming shows in Boston quite yet, but we're in the works to play one of our favorite local festivals this Spring and have our eyes on a couple of other local shows in the next few months too.