w/ Volumen, Cobra High, Starantula
Sat June 23
The Epoxies have been making waves. But first, they made me drink, watching me and whispering to one another in a thick Serbo-Slovo-Kranian dialect. I don't know what I drank; it was very alcoholic and tasted just awful, but they had guns and anyway, I was supposed to win their trust. When I finished the nasty beverage, Moxie put his gun away and gave me a warm Serbo-Slovo-Kranian welcome, shouting "Oskvoy!" and slapping me painfully on the back. The others followed suit, and then they all drank, and showed me their record collection.
The Epoxies' ultra-tight, new-old-wave sound, their notorious stage show, sexy duct tape clothing, and the steely eyes of foxy lead singer Roxy Epoxy have won them the slavish adoration of a growing herd of smitten fans. Groupies grope themselves obscenely at stage front, begging for the stiff kicks in the face that Roxy loves to dispense. They're the most fun, energetic band in Portland's recent history.
But they don't speak much English. Apparently, the five of them grew up together in a Yugoslavian Educational Institute--half prison, half magnet school. Kid Polymer tries to explain: "In the 1980, we are... in Institute. Together. And there is propaganda machine, goes around zup-zup-zup... record prayer! They tell us, 'Make science! So you are born!' But we are... our heads... so tricky! We make Serge, our friend outsite, to steal into this prison... the outside things we are fingering for. Record of the world!"
What's any of that got to do with new wave? I wonder, as they escort me to the record collection. In a dark attic, icons of Deborah Harry and Mark Mothersbaugh hang on the wall, festooned with wreaths of garlic, dried flowers and decorated eggs. Somewhere nearby, plastic burns. "This is our start," shouts Vanderplastic, giggling as he hands me a yellow photograph: six young Slovo-Serbo-Kranians in peasant dress, brandishing balalaikas and marching drums behind a Cyrillic banner that says approximately, NOVILAVKJ EPOKOSOVKJ! "In institute we have only these for guitar... " says Vanderplastic, "but we have new wave! We are killing! Everybody hates, but we are killing."
There are hundreds of new wave records here: Fay Wray, the Stripes, the Vapors, the Sprigs. And old punk singles: Destruction of Everybody, Hero Killers, the DKs. And a teach-yourself-Spanish record. "Serge died," Roxie says, cradling a crumbling Devo single to her breast. "Now these am Serge for us." I ask them to tell me more about Serge, but then Dr. Grip begins to weep and leaves the room.
When I ask them to define new wave, they become very agitated. Apparently, to The Epoxies, everything is new wave--"music, a tree, this chair, your face... see!" They bade me to an enormous chalkboard where Vanderplastic rapidly sketches a mystic, scientific diagram of the New Wave Theory of History, in which a core set of new wave bands--the Diodes, the Vapors, Blondie, and others--branch out into a complex constellation of other bands, musical styles, people, world events, and important scientific breakthroughs of the past, present, and apparently, the future. "This Wave," says Vanderplastic, "is not new. It has always been here. It is... energy of the future! I study."
The Epoxies have big plans. "Next show," says Kid, "Explosions! Anti-gravity! And two new song!" Clearly, the Epoxies are channeling this 'wave energy of the future' to good effect. So if you want to feel that energy, don't miss their next show.