Couch Beast was...


From October 1995 to June 1997, I was a member of an entity known as Couch Beast. We were a rock 'n' roll band.

It started off innocently enough, for me, anyway. One of my new roommates mentioned to me that she and her friends (who would all become friends of mine, in time) were wanting to put a band together and play around. She said that the only problem was that no one had a bass guitar.

Several years previous, I had bought a bass guitar from my friend Mark as a favor to him. I never used it, but it looked cool in my dorm room freshman and sophomore years. I had never taken any lessons, but now I was being offered the chance to learn as I played with people who had real experience.

In October, we started playing. These new friends of mine had already started writing songs in the years they had known each other, so I just leaped in. By the winter, we had enough songs together to perform. And perform we did.

The first show was at the Leverett House Coffeehouse, held in the Old Library, in March 1996. It was the first time I'd ever been on stage, seriously, in my life. It was quite a rush for me personally, and it went well. It was caught on tape by numerous people, and we were able to revel in our new-found success that way.

We played five songs, three of them without our drummer at the time, Paul Hatch, who hadn't been our drummer for all that long. We had practiced all winter without a drumming presence, so it would take Paul a little time to get used to our songs.

We were offered the opportunity to play again at Leverett House, this time at the "Spring Fling." We wanted to make a big splash this time, and set to work on more songs. It was for this show that we first started playing the Velvet Underground song, "What Goes On," which became a Couch Beast standard. For the Spring Fling, we played eight songs. In a deliberate homage to the Beatles and U2, (well, not really deliberate) we were almost shut down by the police! Apparently, excesive noise in the middle of the afternoon on a Sunday was disturbing the neighbors. A rousing finale of the Adam Ant/Nine Inch Nails song "Physical (You're So)" capped off the afternoon.

Then summer rolled around, and four of the members of the band (minus Paul, who left our circle for quite a while) were still together and living in a house on a Martin Street in Cambridge quaintly dubbed "Beast House." We practiced, despite Missy's hand injury, often with a tutor from our house, Gordon Harvey, whose guitar skills put us all to shame. Another tutor from Leverett, Jim Morrill, filled in on drums quite admirably during our summer.

Our return for our senior year (for most of us) was marked by what I consider our best show, right in the Grille at Leverett House. It was long, but we squeezed in every single one of our originals at the time. Bolstered by guest musicians (Gordon, Jim, and new permanent drummer Justin Jones) we put on a hell of a show.

More practices, a few more shows at school (a couple of those with a slightly adjusted lineup, that is, without me), and we were ready to try recording.. Over the last week of May 1997, in Leverett House's library, we worked hard to get a tape together with all of our originals and a few covers. That tape is currently waiting in the wings, ready for the last few finishing touches which will bring the Couch Beast two-year experiment to its conclusion.

Couch Beast was...

Couch Beast:
Melissa Freeman: rhythm guitar, lead guitar, vocals, drums
Johnny Arguedas: lead guitar, vocals, rhythm guitar
Christopher Simons: lead vocals, rhythm guitar, bass guitar
Michael Grasso: bass guitar, vocals
Paul Hatch: drums, vocals
Justin Jones: drums, vocals
Gordon Harvey: lead guitar, rhythm guitar
Jim Morrill: drums


This here's the Couch Beast. From left to right, Paul Hatch (drums), Missy Freeman (guitar, vocals), Johnny Arguedas (lead guitar, vocals), yours truly (bass, vocals), and Christopher Simons (vocals, guitar).

Beast shot 2. This one's the obligatory playful band pose.


There would be all sorts of legalities that would need to be negotiated to get some of our songs up on here so you can hear them. But I'll try.