Hail to the Beef is the second studio album of the American dance-punk band Screaming Yellow Players, released on March 12, 2001 by Maverick Records. The album was recorded over three months in late 2000 at Starsound Studio in Bremerhaven, Germany, and is the first Screaming Yellow Players album produced by Ric Ocasek, and the first of three to be co-produced by Helge Rehder and Lothar Eike Rösch. The overall recording costs were paid for by Maverick founder Madonna because the band were unable to cover it.
Hail to the Beef received a positive response from music critics, who saw it as a more ambitious effort than the band's debut album. The Screaming Yellow Players promoted the album on the Hail To The Beef European Tour in the spring of 2001 (which saw the live album Live at Velodrom recorded during the show at Velodrom in Berlin), and on its North American leg in the summer and early fall of that same year. The band performed at major music festivals such as Coachella and the Gathering of the Juggalos later that year. Hail to the Beef peaked at number 7 on the Billboard 200 despite it's singles' radio exposure being mostly limited to alternative rock radio. It was certified 6× platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 2016 for shipping six million copies in the United States.
Background and recording
The Players started recording on October 17, 2000 at Starsound Studio in Bremerhaven, a city and seaport in the German state of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen. The album was produced by the Cars frontman Ric Ocasek, along with Starsound owners/founders Helge Rehder and Lothar Eike Rösch. Derek chose Ocasek, as he was a huge fan of the Cars and liked his work on Weezer's "Blue Album" (1994), while Gabriel Haim chose Rehder and Rösch, as he liked their work on Starshine's comeback album Confrontation (1996) and was keen to record "in the country where we started." The Players rehearsed the album's material at Tocotronic's practice room in Hamburg.
Ocasek, with the assistance of English-born session multi-instrumentalist Zoë Gemmell, taught the basics of timing and the usage of pickup switching to Samantha E. Aizer, who had a tendency to increase speed and had little knowledge of rhythm theory or how her guitar worked. The band members stayed in the Park Hotel, at the south end of the Bürgerpark in Bremen. The band members slept by day and recorded by night because the studio was booked by other artists during the daytime.
The album was recorded with the following equipment: Derek's guitars were a 1982 G&L SC-2, a Dean Budweiser Bowtie, and a 1980s Cort Les Paul copy, all played through a Fender Frontman 15G practice amplifier modified as a pre-amp; Lionheart used a Music Man Axis guitar played through Orange amplifier heads and cabinets; Aizer utilized a Fender Mustang played through a Marshall Lead-15 G15MS mini amp head with associated mini cabinet stack; Espinola played his modified 1958 Gibson EB-1 through Ampeg amplifier heads and cabinets; Haim played a Korg M1 and Yamaha SY77; and Browne used DW Drums equipment with Zildjian cymbals and AHEAD drumsticks.
All tracks written by Derek De Vriendt and Polaris Browne with the exception of track 8 originally written by Mark Mothersbaugh and Gerald Casale, track 9 written by De Vriendt, Gabriel Haim and Terry Scott Taylor, and track 11 originally written by George Michael.
- "667 ½" (lead vocals: Derek De Vriendt, Tommy Lionheart)
- "Hail to the Beef" (lead vocals: Derek De Vriendt, Polaris Browne; backing vocals: Samantha E. Aizer, Vinny Espinola, Tommy Lionheart, Gabriel Haim)
- "Alternative Cigarette" (lead vocals: Tommy Lionheart)
- "Watch Out, Look Out" (lead vocals: Derek De Vriendt, Polaris Browne)
- "Crazy Man Talking" (lead vocals: Derek De Vriendt)
- "The Chainsaw" (lead vocals: Derek De Vriendt)
- "Upside Down" (lead vocals: Polaris Browne)
- "Jerkin Back 'n Forth" (Devo cover) (lead vocals: Samantha E. Aizer; backing vocals: Vinny Espinola, Derek De Vriendt and Polaris Browne)
- "International Madman" (lead vocals: Gabriel Haim, Polaris Browne (one line); backing vocals: Vinny Espinola, Derek De Vriendt)
- "Get Me The Girls" (lead vocals: Vinny Espinola)
- "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" (lead vocals: Derek De Vriendt, Polaris Browne; backing vocals: En Vogue, Natalie Hooley)
- "Dr. Electro" (lead vocals: Derek De Vriendt)