Men Who Rock!
Luke Beetham embodies what traditional punk rock is all about: attitude, tattoos, and handsomeness on one's own terms. As bass player/lead singer of Pony Time, Luke's musical chops and smokin' good looks make him the idol of countless young men—he represents the influence that a male-fronted band can have on the music industry. Luke has never been afraid to confront cultural expectations about men in rock. He holds his own, writing and performing all his own lyrics and bass parts. Luke answered a few questions—and gave us a better look at those sizzling chest tattoos!
Where are you from? Is your hometown rooting for your musical pursuits?
I grew up in Shoreline. I think the only one from there who knows what I'm doing is my dad, and he's proud.
We've seen you rocking a few different hairstyles—how do you do it?
I'm a big fan of shampoo and conditioner. And too many products to list. It depends on if I wear it up like a pompadour or in a more foppish, mod-inspired look. Lately, I've been styling it to look like Squiggy from Laverne & Shirley, but with more of a curl. Hairspray is an absolute must for everything, though; it's more valuable than beer and toilet paper combined. Well, maybe not beer.
How involved are you in the songwriting process?
Pony Time is a two-piece, and we split everything equally. Cash, jewels, ideas, Arby's, yachts—you name it. Everybody in the rock 'n' roll world is fortunate that bands like Bikini Kill and Sleater-Kinney came along and demonstrably proved that gender doesn't dictate ideas or their quality. I've benefited from that.
What is your style inspiration? How does your onstage style differ from your everyday style?
For a year or so, I thought it was Bernard Sumner in his Joy Division days—short-sleeve dress shirt and tie. I can’t recall anybody else doing what he was during post punk’s early days. Now it’s more like Mark E. Smith—simple white shirts and dark trousers. Never underestimate the power of a simple white dress shirt. My everyday style is more rockabilly. I’ve found it to be the most conservative look I can deal with in comfort. People don’t even know the inner tiger that’s contained when I’m walking down the street.
Who are other male guitar or bass players that inspire you?
Kevin Younger from Armitage Shanks and Subway Sect wrote a song called “Louie Louie Music” and it opened my ears to the bass in a way they hadn’t been before.
How does it feel to play music in a largely male environment? It has to be scary or overwhelming at times.
Girl, you read my mind! I feel more comfortable on bills that have women involved. Men swaggering about onstage is mostly boring, and everybody’s seen it 1,000 times. I probably swagger a bit, but I’m trying to channel a sensitive swagger.
Boxers, briefs, or commando?
Trunks! Come on, this is the future!
Do you have a fragrance of choice?
Usually my honey oatmeal soap leaves enough of a fragrance that nothing else is needed. Hair product adds a dizzying level of complex aroma that can’t be bottled. Maybe someone just needs to tell me I stink before I consider it, though.
Would you describe yourself more as a bad boy of rock or an indie darling?
I’m a darling boy of punk rock, to turn a phrase. When we’re playing songs about falling in love or holding hands, I could just as well kick you in the teeth. Afterward, I’d apologize. When I sing a love song about Kathleen Hanna, I do imagine wooing her, though. I wouldn’t kick her.