Local Spins’ countdown of 2018’s Top 10 stories continues with a sad one at No. 3: The Beveridge Brothers’ frontman died unexpectedly in early December. The loving tributes poured out quickly.
EDITOR’S NOTE: One of the top stories of 2018 was published by Local Spins in early December, following the sudden death of Hal Beveridge, frontman for the Beveridge Brothers, one of Grand Rapids’ most popular rock bands in the 1970s and 1980s. Tributes from relatives, friends and musicians poured in, with some of them published as part of this news story about the beloved musician. They’ll pay homage to Beveridge from 3-7 p.m. Jan. 12 at Eastern Avenue Hall, 506 Eastern Ave. NE, in a “celebration of Hal’s life” with jam sessions and more. Get more details about that special event in this Local Spins story.
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The Beveridge Brothers are one of those bands that qualifies as an institution in Grand Rapids’ rock history, firing up and packing venues such as The Shamrock, Eastown Saloon, Danny J’s, Bavarian Inn, Russo’s and others during the group’s heyday in the 1970s.
Now, this “hard-hitting, boot-stomping Southern rock” band – as it once was described by local musician Mark Swanson – has lost its much-beloved frontman, Hal Beveridge.
Beveridge, 72, died Thursday (Dec. 6) “suddenly and unexpectedly” according to a relative’s Facebook post.
His son, Jessie, lead singer for popular Grand Rapids rock band The Rockit King, eulogized his father on Facebook by writing: “You were so incredibly kind to me. I love you and wish I could talk to you one more time.” He added that there will be plans to “throw a party and play some music,” with funeral arrangements still pending.
Guitarist and bassist Jim Shaneberger, who played with Beveridge for about two years, told Local Spins that Beveridge was “a real, genuine guy. He was always so nice. He was a true Grand Rapids legend and I’m grateful for the experience being bandmates. I’ll miss him.”
The Beveridge Brothers attracted huge crowds for their performances across West Michigan in the 1970s and 1980s, and the band reunited in 2008 after Hal Beveridge spent a couple of stints in prison on a cocaine-related charge and parole violation.
Beveridge told reporter John Sinkevics for a 2008 Grand Rapids Press story that he continued to play and write music while incarcerated, and he fondly recalled The Beveridge Brothers’ immense popularity.
“We were really real,” the bassist said. “We had a lot of followers, a lot of bikers … plus factory workers. We always had a big crowd and that made the club owners happy.”
‘INCREDIBLE ROAD STORIES,’ LIVING LIFE TO THE FULLEST
Fans and fellow musicians quickly flooded Facebook with posts about Beveridge and his impact on West Michigan’s music scene:
John Connors (The Frog King): “Hal was legendary, man.”
Lar Fitzgerald (Weezil Malone): “Still in shock.”
Lou Musa (The Verve Pipe): “Had the privilege to jam with Hal Beveridge many times and each time he kept me on my toes. He was an amazing bass player and one of those guys that played better the more he partied. His road stories were incredible, too.”
Jerry Davis (The Beveridge Brothers): “It was an honor for me to be in the original band with him and the brothers. We played for years together and created a lot of these road stories together. I’m so sad and broken-hearted.”
Fred DeVries: “Lessons taught to me by my friend Hal Beveridge: ‘Just do the gig.’ Hal always did the gig. Love and light to all the Beveridge Brothers family of relatives, friends, musicians and blues fans. Everybody learned something from Hal.”
April Thorsten Hubert: “Hal was such a kind and loving person! He always had the biggest hugs waiting for anyone. He will be missed. I love you friend.”
Theresa Beveridge: “Hal’s life was unconventional, but he lived life to the fullest, always seeing the glass as half-full. His attitude never changed.”
Brian Morgan: “Hal was an amazing musician as well as an amazing friend to myself and so many musicians. A true icon and cheers to everyone that had a chance to share the stage with Hal.”
Jake Gerard: “I’m chasin’ my dream in Nashville. Truly wouldn’t have happened without Hal. He was definitely one-of-a-kind. There’s a million hilarious stories about him. He was good to me and I’ll never forget him.”
Denny Larsen: “I’ll miss sitting in with him; he was so gracious with sharing the stage. Playing lead, I usually play 12 bars but with Hal he’d scream do it again which helped bring out more out of my playing. Meeting in the ’70s and since — always cheerful and a kind person. He will be missed.”
VIDEO: The Beveridge Brothers, “A History of the Band”
VIDEO: The Beveridge Brothers, “Every Day I Have the Blues” (with Jim Shaneberger)
STORY: Musicians to pay tribute to Hal Beveridge in January
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