The Story of The Betmars (1992-1997)
At their height in 1996, The Betmars were comprised of John Francis (vocals/guitar), Ty Hodson (drums),
Adam Wayne (vocals/guitar), and Nate Halloran (bass/vocals).
The Eugene, OR band was formed by John Francis and Ty Hodson in 1992 after dismantling their previous
band Something She Said (1991-1992). That break-up saw the departure of bassist and SSS co-founder
Kurt Landré from the fold, and the remaining duo were joined by Ellen Stenard. The fledgling Betmars
recorded an untitled 4-song demo in 1992 and the 6-song EP Kick Me (1993), after which Ellen departed.
Things were taken up a notch when Ty's percussionist friend Nicholas Papador acquiesced to fill in on bass
while a permanent replacement was found. It turned out that not only was Nick a first-rate percussionist,
but was a bit of a prodigy, and a monster bass player. This relationship resulted in a longer-than-planned
tenure with Nick, the fruit of which included the 4-song EP Make It Loud (1994), and an appearance at the
first annual NXNW music festival.
San Francisco's The American Girls moved to Eugene at this time, and a fast friendship was struck between
the two bands. Nick now bowed out to return to his percussion focus, and the funny and multi-talented American
Girls' housemate, Nate Halloran, stepped in long enough to get The Betmars through the recording of the
5-song EP Natural Born Consumers (1995)-- and then stepped back out to return to his native New York.
The pain of the revolving door of bass players was assuaged with the arrival of another American Girls friend
and shredder of a guitarist, Bay Area native Adam Wayne, who graced Natural Born Consumers with an
unexpected melodic flourish. American Girls vocalist Eric Larson (now aka Higgins) stepped in this time,
filling in until a permanent bass player could be found.
But being dreamy-minded musicians, John, Ty and Adam dwelled on the near-miss of Nate leaving just as
Adam arrived, and they held out hope that Nate would return to Oregon and rejoin the band. In the meantime,
The Betmars picked up another California native, Tony "Hey Guy" Mancuso, a bruiser of a man and a quick-
learning, rock solid bass player whose steadfastness brought much-needed stability to the band, enabling
them to begin hitting the road more often (instead of breaking in bass players in the swelteringly hot practice
Put simply, The Betmars rocked. Hard and loud. In fact, the band's slogan (coined by American Girls vocalist
Michael Johnson) was: The Betmars = Pop. Loudly.
The Betmars never sounded better up to this point, and it was truly bittersweet when Nate returned and Tony
received the boot. But with the dream-team finally assembled, the boys built The Betmars into a solid up-and-
coming regional band, touring several times up and down America's West Coast, performing on local radio
stations and eventually embarking on a self-funded and promoted U.S. tour.
Coinciding with the tour was the release of The Betmars' first full-length record, Star Hustler (1996),
which garnered some notice just as the band disintegrated:
"Under the influence of Ned's Atomic Dustbin, Wonder Stuff, Superchunk and as much beer as they
can consume without falling down on stage, The Betmars hit the ground running on their digital debut.
Essentially taking the winning formula of their fine Natural Born Consumers cassette and making it all
clearer and louder, the Betmar boys rock hard, fast and loud. What more do I need to say? Only this:
Eventually they will face what I call the Stinson-Westerberg Question -- Grow up, drink less and make
'mature' records, or refuse to do so and die an ugly and embarassing death. But that's years of stinky
clubs away. Until then, they'll have their fun, and so will we." Demo Universe (March 31, 1997)
So what the hell happened? To find out the answer to that and more, you'll just have to wait for the coffee
table book. Unfortunately, The Betmars disbanded before any distribution of Star Hustler was arranged,
and hundreds of CDs sat in boxes-- unknown gems of their era. In 2005, remaining copies of the CD were
unearthed, and after nearly 10 years made available again at CD Baby, amazon.com, iTunes, etc!
What Happened Next, and Where Are They Now?
John Francis joined up in 1999 with Portland guitarist Jonzo Wheeler to form Vinegar. Ty Hodson
filled the drummer's seat from 2001-2005, and bass player Richard Gambert joined in 2002. This line-up
released the self-recorded and self-produced full-length record Rock Fetish (2005). John also performs
solo acoustic shows in the Portland area.
Ty Hodson divides his time between two projects: the electronic soundscape-based square_wave
(2000-present), and the solo rock project gradenko (2001-present). square_wave provided tracks for the
fan-produced Muslimgauze tribute El Tafkeera (2001) and Eugene Noise Fest compilations (2007 & 2008),
and has released four albums, Aerodrome (2007), 23 sec coma (2008), Mach Ångström (2009), and The
Mesmer Eye (2010) . square_wave performs locally on occasion. gradenko has released a limited self-titled
demo/album gradenko (2006) which collects songs written between 2001-2006. Ty joined Vinegar on
drums for a time (2001-2005) before departing to focus full-time on gradenko and square_wave.
Adam Wayne moved on to start Drive in 1997 with bassist Pamela Rooney, drummer Shane Fisher,
and violinist Tove Holmberg, releasing Music for Interplanetary Travel (1999). Drive parted in 2000, and
Adam and Shane immediately co-founded The Bella Fayes with singer/songwriter Lael Alderman and
members of Architecture and Thrillbilly, releasing So Much More Than 'Hello' (2001). After departing
The Bella Fayes, Adam and Pamela teamed back up and were joined by Sarah FitzGerald to form
Charmparticles, releasing The Scenic EP (2002) and Sit Down For Staying (2004). Adam departed
Charmparticles in 2006 to pursue his latest passion: style!
Nate Halloran performed with the Brody Theater comedy company from 1998-2001; co-founded the Big
Belly comedy troupe in 2001; performed in and musically directed the improvised musical The Bards at
the Brody Theater (2000/2003/2004); founded the two-person comedy troupe Fort Hal with friend and
fellow comedian Brad Fortier; played bass and sang on Reclinerland's Ideal Home Music Library, Vol. 1:
Show Songs (2003); and from 2005-2006 performed with the improv comedy group he co-founded called
Upchuckle/Funny Business, primarily based out of Portland's Mississippi Studios. In February 2005,
Nate directed a multi-act improv comedy benefit for tsunami-relief efforts.
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