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What are you listening to? Thomas Becker

Guitarist for the Beautiful Bodies

Thomas Becker of the Beautiful Bodies.


Things are going pretty well musically these days for local guitarist Thomas Becker.

His band the Beautiful Bodies, in which he plays alongside Alicia Solombrino and Luis Arana, has established a staunch following in Kansas City and beyond. They’ve performed with Jane’s Addiction and My Chemical Romance, and they’ll hold a show Christmas night at the RecordBar in Westport.

In a recent interview with Ink, Becker talked the Ramones, Billy Bragg and his curious habit of climbing things onstage.

1. What’s the album that has influenced you the most and why?

“Ramones” by the Ramones. I was blown away the first time I sat down and listened to this record in middle school. It captured the energy of Black Flag, Minor Threat and other bands I was listening to at the time, but it had addictively catchy hooks. It showed me that pop could be gritty and flawed and that punk could be fun and catchy.

2. What’s the first album you bought with your own money?

Motley Crüe’s “Shout at the Devil.” I thought the chicks in the band were hot.

3. What’s an album you’ve never gotten tired of listening to?

A mixtape of Nueva Cancion folk singers made by a friend. I spent several years living in Latin America working with left-wing social movements, and this tape reminds me of some really incredible, chaotic, inspiring, frightening, loving, revolutionary moments in my life.

4. You climb a lot of stuff. How’d that start?

It is never a planned thing. Space is a valuable commodity onstage, so when Alicia, Luis and I keep hitting each other with instruments — Alicia and I have both chipped teeth this way — sometimes the best option is up.

5. What’s the most recent album you’ve fallen in love with?

The Coup’s “Sorry to Bother You.” Clever, in-your-face lyrics, plus aggressive music that still has enough groove to dance to makes them one of the most genuine groups in hip-hop today, in my opinion.

6. What kind of music did your parents listen to when you were growing up? Did that have a big effect on the kind of music you eventually began listening to?

My dad was really into ’60s rock music and ’80s mainstream music. Apparently, I sat in front of the TV watching MTV for hours a day from the ages of 3 to 10, and I would play his Rolling Stones and Beatles LPs on my Fisher-Price record player. So I suppose he introduced me to a lot of cool things I still listen to today.

7. What song or album or musician helped you find your voice as a musician?

Billy Bragg showed me that you can mix elements of your favorite styles and themes in music, even if they seem totally unrelated. His folk music is edgier and more raw than almost any punk band I know, and his love songs are overtly political, and political songs overtly romantic.

8. You guys are doing a Christmas-night show, which seems pretty ballsy since not a ton of people go out that night. How’d you decide to do that?

If there is only one thing the Christmas season teaches us, it is that families are batshit crazy. We thought a show would be a fun break from the onslaught of family holiday activities.


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