Although usually tagged an "alternative" band during their brief career, Beat Rodeo wasn't afraid to let their retro-rock roots shine through in their music, comparable to such other similarly styled bands of the era as the Blasters and Green on Red. Led by singer/songwriter and guitarist Steve Almaas (who was previously a member of late-'70s punkers Suicide Commandos and country rockers the Crackers), the Minneapolis, MN-based quartet originally formed in 1983, consisting of other members Bill Schunk (guitar, vocals), Dan Prater (bass, vocals), and Mike Osborn (drums). Rising from the same scene that spawned the Replacements, Hüsker Dü, and Soul Asylum, the quartet issued a self-titled EP before signing a year after their formation with a German label, Zensor Records, which released Beat Rodeo's debut, Staying out Late With...Beat Rodeo, in July of 1984.
By 1985 however, the IRS label had signed the group to a U.S. deal and reissued their debut and the band toured steadily throughout both the U.S. and Europe. 1986 saw the release of the group's sophomore effort, the Scott Litt (R.E.M.) produced Home in the Heart of the Beat, which saw Osborn replaced with newcomer Lewis King and the arrival of keyboardist George Usher. But the disc would prove to be Beat Rodeo's final offering, as they split up shortly thereafter. Almaas relocated to New York City (where he was originally from), playing briefly alongside fellow former bandmate Usher (who was a singer/songwriter, as well) in a group called the Gornack Brothers, and issuing an obscure album, Refund, for U.K. independent label Strike Back Records. Almaas then struck out on his own as a solo artist, issuing such releases as 1992's East River Blues, 1995's Bridge Songs, 1997's Human, All Too Human, and 2000's Kingo a Wild One. ~ Greg Prato