Country Dick: Wild, True
Country Dick Montana, drummer and vocalist for the Beat Farmers, died November 8th, 1995, after collapsing onstage at the Longhorn Saloon in Whistler, British Columbia in front of a sold-out crowd. He was 40. The cause of death was a heart attack caused by an aneurysm.
Hours after his death, word reached the “No Depression — Alternative Country” message board on America Online. Many of the regulars on the board expressed their genuine sadness at the loss of this beloved musician, character and human being, and shared some of their fondness memories of him. Here are a few of those posts:
San Diego lost one of its greatest personalities. He was a member of one of the greatest live bands I have ever seen. I am truly saddened. I feel lucky that I had the pleasure to meet and talk with this great entertainer. RIP, Dick.
As someone once said about somebody else, “He stomped on the terra!”, not slowing down for the speedbumps along the way. …. I remember once before a show in SF, my friend and I spotted him at Hamburger Mary’s and bought him a shot. We all drank one to his health, then he insisted we drink another one to our health — on him. …. The guy had no sense of shame, he just wanted to have fun. He used to peddle bootlegs wearing a sandwich sign while the opening bands played; I bought one from him, which he autographed. And ya gotta admire anyone who regularly sang “God Save The Queen” and “Lucille” in the same set.
I am heartened to see that many of you will also miss this man. I have fond memories of carrying him to the bar during shows and getting onstage with my kazoo to take part in “Happy Boy”. I sufferred my worst concert injury at one of their shows in Palo Alto about four years ago when I feel off the stage and cut the backside of my leg. I was soooo drunk at the time. Dick yelled for someone to give me a shot for the pain. The waitress brought me four and Dick drank three of them. His heart was as big as his thirst. A genuinely nice guy who I will truly miss.
Now maybe Jesus can finally buy him that beer.
I spoke with Mojo Nixon a few minutes ago. We talked about the irony of Dick beating cancer not once but twice, and then dying of a heart attack. I miss him already. …. It’s nice to read on here just how many lives he touched. I never realized that before. His was a full and love-filled life.
What a bummer. I always figured he’d outlive us all, regardless of how many miles he’d put on his engine. I’ll never forget him forcing me to introduce him to every single industry weasel at a party at last year’s SXSW so he could harangue them to give him $50,000 to finish his solo album. The man knew how to have a good time (don’t try this at home, kids). R.I.P., bro.
A friend who’s a drummer met him at the Hotel Nico bar just a few weeks ago. Country Dick sat down next to him, started talking to him, bought him a shot, showed him how to get a fast roll going out of a slow paradiddle with a couple of silverware knives. My buddy was so jonesed, he called us all that night from L.A. He’s going to be really bummed.
“There’s a lot of pretty boys out there tonight….” God bless you Country Dick, you’ve got to be one of the funniest guys I ever met. Hey, remember that time backstage at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano, after that Chris Isaak/Junior Brown show, when I asked you if you would be so kind as to sing your version of “Green Acres” for the folks backstage? And in no time the entire room was rolling around on the floor in tears of laughter at your performance. You sure have given me and my buddies a lot of pleasure. God bless you, Country Dick Montana.
Beer spray. Burst. On your
Guitarist. Mad; you’re sheepish.
Country Dick: wild, true.