The name may be familiar to members of Fordham’s Class of 1982, especially if they lived in Queen’s Court in the late 1970s and heard the guitar riffs, drumbeats, and boisterous banter emanating from a second-floor cluster of rooms in St. John’s Hall. That was where four guys who had a thing for musical mischief found themselves living as freshmen. After their room assignments happened to bring them together, they wrote a slew of songs and performed in Bishop’s Lounge, calling themselves the Richie Beakman Band.
“We were very surprised at how into it everybody was,” reminisced one of the band members, Bill Lobley. “We had, like, a following.”
Nearly 40 years later, the Beakman Band is back together, preparing to perform at Jubilee weekend—specifically, the multi-class cocktail party to be held at Dagger John’s Pub on the Rose Hill campus from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday, June 2.
They’re still penning songs that have a tongue-in-cheek flavor, like “Listen to Beakman,” with its reference to middle-age musicians “rockin’ gray goatees / and reconstructed knees.” And their sense of fun persists from their days of dorm-room raillery, when the name “Richie Beakman” emerged as they made up possible names for someone shown in a photo.
“We were having such a good time,” Lobley said. “We gave ourselves different names, aliases, because everything was about parodying the band, and rock and roll in general. We had all different styles of songs—we had a country song, we had a song that mocked disco. We did a protest song; it was just called ‘The Protest Song.’ We kept saying, what don’t we have? We have anything funky? We wrote a funky song. Before we knew it, we had 10 or 15 songs, and we said, ‘We should do a concert.’”
The other band members are Mark Coughlin, a schoolteacher; Peter Morello, a cameraman; and Bob Kaufmann, who is retired from his former job as a bank’s vice president. Lobley is an actor, filmmaker, and comic. All are 1982 graduates of Fordham College at Rose Hill.
They’ve performed several times in Manhattan since getting back together in 2009. It’s not easy to keep the band going, given that they’re spread across the New York region—one of them as far away as Buffalo—and juggling busy careers, unpredictable schedules, and parenting duties.
But it’s always worth it when they manage to get together. “We just had this weekend where we were all in the same place, and it’s like getting back on the bike,” Lobley said. “It’s like, ‘You know something? We really play well together.’”
In addition to the Bishop’s Lounge concert, the band made a handful of appearances at the Ramskeller before the members drifted apart later in their time at Fordham, with some of them forming other bands. At Jubilee, they’ll play a mix of cover tunes as well as their own songs from back in the day.
“It’s great—we’re coming home,” Lobley said. “We’re just really excited about it. This is music for music’s sake, for the fun’s sake, but primarily it’s for the reunion. It’s the getting together again. I don’t know where we’d be without the Fordham connection. There’s so much joyful nostalgia.”