It was the early eighties; Punk Rock had come to Hollywood, it was all over the clubs on the Strip, and it was branching out to surrounding cities and neighborhoods. It then worked its way in to the beach cities of Los Angeles and Orange County .The first local bands from the West Side that I knew of to make a name for them selves were The Germs, then Suicidal Tendencies. Then from Hermosa Beach were Black Flag and The Circle Jerks. Social Distortion, TSOL; a long with many other bands came out of Orange County. Minor Threat & Bad Brains were on the East Coast. A lot of shits that Beowulf liked came out of England such as GBH, Sex Pistols, Discharge, and Motorhead. They grew up listening to Lynyrd Skynard, Judas Priest, AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, and shit like that. In the early eighties, Dale Henderson, Mike Jensen, Paul Yamada, & Michael Alvarado were barely students at Venice High School; they were also musicians starting to form a band called Beowulf.
Beowulf started out as Black Sheep, playing the 9th grade student picnic at Mark Twain Jr. High School.
They played more backyard parties then one could remember. These parties usually came to an end much earlier than planned, due to hostility, violence, and alcohol. The police and/or riot squads would inevitably shut these parties down without hesitation. Beowulf also started playing clubs and halls while still enrolled at Venice High School. They sold out The Troubadour in Hollywood before graduating or being kicked out of High School. A lot of their shows ended the same way as the parties. The night of The Troubadour show, Beowulf never even got on stage due to a riot that had shut down the club earlier that night. There were similar Uprisings at The Country Club in Reseda, when Beowulf was on stage; Madame Wong’s in China town while Beowulf was on stage opening up for Slayer. The club was shut down and Slayer never took the stage. All the local police departments got very familiar with Beowulf and their shows.
Beowulf would rehearse at Michael Alvarado house; Larry Flynt’s Lawyer lived across the street from him. Every once in a while, the Lawyer would tell them how much he liked some of their songs and never complained about the volume like the other neighbors did. One day he asked Michael if his band would play at a birthday party for his wife, they said they would so he gave them the information along with the address. The day of the party, they piled in to their trucks and headed for Bel Air, a very affluent area of Los Angeles. When arriving at a huge mansion behind the Bel Air gates, they realized that the party was actually taking place at Larry Flynt’s Mansion.
They were met at the front gate of the mansion by security dressed in black suits, fully armed. The security went through all of their equipment with a fine toothcomb before letting them in. Beowulf played a few bluesy covers before all of the aging party members left and made their way to the other side of the mansion. The Lawyer came out and gave them $500 and said, “Fuck those people, you guys were Great!” Then he told the band and their roadies that they were welcome to stay and eat and drink. The band and their roadies ate and drank as fast as the Butlers could bring out the food and the drinks. It wasn’t long before one of the roadies got rowdy and out of control. Beowulf and their crew were asked to leave. On the way out of the mansion, Motley Crue pulled up in a limo and went in. Hey, this was about 1984.
One of the first shows before Beowulf’s first record came out, was at The Balboa Theater. They were having a Battle of the Bands contest/show. Beowulf was on the bill with approximately eight other bands. Beowulf played the tightest and had the most energetic show that night. They won The Battle of the Bands and took home the $500.00 first place prize money.
In 1985 Mike Muir of Suicidal Tendencies approached Beowulf, he asked them to be on a compilation L.P. he was going to release on Suicidal Records called Welcome to Venice. Welcome to Venice was to also feature Suicidal Tendencies, No Mercy, and Excel and be released that year. Beowulf played on a few road shows in Northern California with Suicidal Tendencies and the other bands on the compilation, No Mercy and Excel. Beowulf’s following began to increase dramatically from their appearance on the Welcome to Venice L.P in 1985. In 1986 Mike Muir released Beowulf’s debut L.P. on his label Suicidal Records. That record contained hits such as Taste The Steel, Americanism, and Drink, Fight, Fuck. These songs describe the bands right out of High School attitude and their street life style. Drink, Fight, Fuck was an anthem.
Beowulf was asked to play a few bigger local shows at the time. The Balboa Theater in Los Angeles and Fender’s Ballroom in Long Beach was a couple of the main venues. They played with bands such as Suicidal Tendencies, The Descendants, D.R.I., Nuclear Assault, The Cro-Mags, C.O.C., and many others while promoting their debut L.P. While recording they had Mike Muir in the studio with them everyday, Pamela Neil and the band, they had all worked hard recording the first album. It took a couple of weeks to mix and record and finally have mastered.
After the recording was finished they asked Michael Seiff, a local Santa Monica artist do the album cover artwork.
He did it all with airbrushes, the front, the back, and the inner sleeve. They were blown away with his artwork. Michael Seiff is the same artist that did the artwork for all of Suicidal Records at that time. He did the artwork for the Welcome to Venice, No Mercy “Widespread Bloodshed, Suicidal Tendencies “Join The Army”, and the Excel “Split Image” albums. They all thought his artwork was dope.
Beowulf was on the Atom Bomb show on KXLU, They played a bunch of live shows from Los Angeles to San Francisco, and they believed in this record, they worked hard on this record. You can hear their anger and hostility in the vocals, the tight guitar riffs, and the intense drumming. Dale Henderson, Mike Jensen, Paul Yamada, and Michael Alvarado were all about 21 years old when they recorded Beowulf’s first record in 1986.
Beowulf's second album: Lost My Head... But I'm Back on the Right Track was released in 1988. Beowulf played Many Local Shows and a US Tour promoting the Album. They had achieved significant success with these two albums but, difficulties within the band caused them to disband in 1989. Dale restarted the band sometime later with a new line up; Dale - Vocals and Guitar, Clint Schuyler (RIP)- Lead Guitar, Buckit - Bass and Rich Rowen on Drums. In 1992 Beowulf signed with Restless Records, in 1993 they released "Un-Sentimental"
Beowulf toured extensively through the United states and Europe, doing videos, shows and festivals to promote the album. In 1995 after losing their Bass player, Dale asked longtime friend Doug "Dug Mug" Swanson to join the band, after writing and practicing they went into the studio and recorded "2 Cents" which also featured a song on the sound track of the comic cult classic movie Tank Girl .
After releasing "2 Cents" and shooting videos in support of the CD, Beowulf hit the road on extended Tours of both the United States and Europe, Fan support was Incredible, playing everywhere from small intimate shows to Huge Festivals. Upon returning to the U.S. they continued, playing numerous Local shows, but Due to unforeseen personal reasons the Band again broke up.
At this point Dale decided to pursue another avenue, he formed a new band "Kool- Whip" and proceeded to write and play !!!
In 2000, he released the first Kool-Whip CD - "The Now " which was nominated for the Best Rock Album at the 2002 L.A. Music Awards, and in 2004 he followed that up with Kool-Whip second CD- "Dirty Movie"!!!
Around 2006, Dale put Beowulf back together, playing shows and writing music. In 2007 they released Beowulf - "Westminster and 5th"
Beowulf continued to do shows and write more music, in 2011 they put out the CD Beowulf - "Jesus Freak"
Beowulf continues to play shows and write music. There have been a few changes to the line up, most recently in 2018, Mike "Milkbone" Jensen, Beowulfs' OG Guitar Player has reunited with the Band. They are sounding Tighter and Tighter with each Practice, and music is better than ever !!! They have been starting to play show again and are going to Europe soon...