Operation Offbeat are a ska/punk band whose raucous mix of 2tone, reggae, punk, and Spaghetti Westerns is what the world needs – in addition to hand sanitizer – right now: Ska and again Ska. Fast, life-affirming skanking. Guitarist/vocalist Max Beeger talks us through the origins of the band, as well as his own personal musical memories…
What are the origins of the band, how long have you been playing together?
Basically, the band came about by a wet idea. At the time -around 2015- I had gigged up and down Germany with my then-band The Crooners, and we got invited to play in the UK quite a few times. Never actually made it though. So I put on an ad in the London area; trying to find like-minded musicians for exchange gigs, features, and the like. The response was so big that a whole new band came about; which we renamed ‘Operation Offbeat’, after The Crooners played a gig so terrible we let the band die with a rattle!
Operation Offbeat gigged in the UK and Germany for roughly two years after that, with me commuting and couch surfing until we got a deal. But -before it all got too easy- Brexit showed up on the horizon. And chased some band members, who originated from all over Europe, back to their home countries. The rest split up over spilled milk, whilst recording “Your Idea of Luck”, and the commute had exhausted me anyway, so I moved the band back to Hamburg – where Corona locked us in.
Long story short: We finished the album; mostly online, using everything we could get our hands on from Zoom to ProTools, and now we’re waiting for gigs to return! Hang on; what was the question? Oh. Erm- about 18 months.
How did you feel performing your first gig? And how was it?!
The first Operation Offbeat gig was in a place called ‘Nambuccas’ in London, supporting Easydread. It was a Wednesday night, the place was almost empty, we
had roughly 30 minutes of songs, and after the demise of The Crooners, I felt like I just got divorced and dated for the first time again. Easydread and us made fun of watching each other’s gigs and cheering, it was brilliant. Obviously, the best was yet to come, but I had found really nice bandmates, and after what was lying behind me at the time, that felt more like a victory than the actual gig.
What should people expect when they check the band out? How would you describe yourself?
We’re enthusiastic, open-minded, stubborn, and we can take a joke, and I think you can hear that! To me personally, Ska is some sort of a grounding for all sorts of musical quotes. It goes very well with Rock and Roll, Spaghetti Westerns, Surf, whatever gets you, you can squeeze it in. So I’d be happy if people hear how much effort we put in the songs, how we like the rocking and a nice hookline, but also keep an eye on the details.
The new music scene is bursting at the seams with fresh talent, in what ways do you feel that a band has to stand out from the others trying to build a name?
The answer is love. Seriously. I’m not an expert, I could imagine you can fool a few people for a limited amount of time with looks and half baked tunes, combined with solid online promo. But it’s still not worth the effort. Love for what you do makes you work on a song until it goes beyond average, makes you get over disappointments and arguments, and, most important of all, makes you carry on. Create something loveable (not by everyone, that’s not the point) and show people you mean it- I like it when the band is the show. I’m glad you ask: Black Metal can be loveable as well as, ugh, K-Pop. Whatever you want to do!
What are you working on at the minute that people can check out?
We’ve got our third album finished in writing and are currently discussing studio dates- hoping to release in spring 2021. Also, we have a comic style video for
“Cross the Line” from our last album in the making; coming from the same capable hands that got us the “Fire” video, so I reckon it’ll be pretty cool!
We’ve also got another collaboration with the Specialized Project coming up. If you haven’t heard of them, you should definitely check them out- they’re a whole Ska universe, also they’re a charity for the children’s cancer trust: https://specializedproject.com
What band out there at the minute do you feel that you would be best suited to open for?
The Interrupters! Haven’t heard of them in a while until they came up with this brilliant Joe Strummer cover recently, but that one blew me away! What I like about them is that they radiate this joy about what they do, the love for music I was talking about earlier. Honest work and sheer joy are unbeatable.
Who do you feel is the next band to break out?
I’ve only heard recently that Millie Manders is releasing her debut album, and I keep my fingers crossed as she’d deserve a huge audience! That woman is a tour de force.
What are your first musical memories? And what was the light bulb moment that made you go “I want to do that”?
Hard to tell; I’ve always loved it, but until I had the money to buy my own records had to deal with radio (that was bad back in the days already…) and what my
parent’s record cabinet had to offer… So my first memory would be picking the very few records that weren’t classical. And those were Johnny Cash and The Dubliners. I still have a thing for folk and country to this day.
In honesty, I can’t tell what was the initial point where I thought I’m good to go. I did not have a lot of self-esteem as a kid and didn’t think of myself as good enough to get into music. I think Punk, and the idea to just rock out and ask questions later, have done a lot for me. The moment I found out that passion comes first, not necessarily virtuosity. Which I hadn’t always known. It must have been some sort of “Why not, why not me”-moment.
What was the last gig that you attended as a fan?
The Dropkick Murphys! Another one of those bands who are a pleasure to watch, just for how much they enjoy it themselves. They’re always good! Although I would have to say, it looks like Ken is taking over more and more from Al… Nothing against Ken, but Al Barr is a natural-born stage hog, and I liked it most when he was given all the room to do his job.
The album that you have in your album collection/Spotify playlist that would surprise most people?
I like Kate Bush! …enough of a surprise? I’d perhaps go for ‘Hounds of Love’. I must admit when I saw her on the TV as a kid, I couldn’t cope with it at all. But when I had an 80s flashback at some point (assuming it was late, I was drunk and browsing youtube) I got stuck with her. ‘Cloudbusting’ is such an awesome track.
I also play a lot of Simon and Garfunkel at home and lots of mellow acoustic/indie music. When I’m out, I want the action, but who would sit down at home with a good read and play The Mighty Mighty Bosstones? Exactly.
What are your plans for the remainder of 2020?
Our main goal is the next album. We had an agreement with our label to release “Your idea of luck” although there wouldn’t be any shows to promote it, due to the plague, and therefore record new stuff sooner than we’d usually would have. I like personally like the new stuff and can’t wait to track it down, I’d like to go to work quickly to retain the energy and the excitement in it!
How active are you on social media and where can people connect with you?
We’re pretty active on social media, one of us is almost always online, be it bored at work or commuting like I do! You’ll find us here:
And on our youtube channel of course: