PORTLAND BIKE PSYCHOS Show Me the Pink make vigorous, robust new-wave dance anthems that sound like the theme to Flash Gordon sung by a team of horny teenage motivational speakers. The core of the group is originally from Richmond, Virginia but their new record, Velocipedomania (Chainsaw Records, 2006), feels like Portland partytime incarnate—complete with trashy lyrics about rock shows and sex ("come wrap it in plastic and load me like a dump truck"), and a hard-line sociopolitical undercurrent. The band is about to go on "hiatus" until next year, during which time they'll be living in Richmond and working on Velocipedomania's follow-up. Zach Archibald (drums, vocals) tells the story.
Is Richmond much of a bike town?
I hope I don't get in trouble for blowing up the spot, but Richmond, Virginia is the bike city on the East Coast... We were just there for the annual Evil Fool's Day Cycleslaughterama and it was off the chain... like 700 people on this island in the James River having bike chariot races, riding monster truck bikes, jousting, all that stuff.
Do you think doing the record out there might make it feel less Portlandish?
Velocipedomania was 90 percent written in Richmond before we ever came out here and the sound was filled out by the newer members. So I would think this album being written out of our Portland experiences will actually be more Portlandish. Just like everybody in Portland, our music isn't really from here. But now I guess it will be.
Talk about the new album.
What I'm most excited about for our next album is the "Memory Dance Chain." MDC is a game Emmy [keyboards, vocals] and Noelle [bass, trumpet, keyboards] invented. Music plays and a few people form a circle. One person does a dance move, then the next person does the first person's move and adds their own, then the next person does both plus adds one. Eventually you get this rad dance choreographed and when the song ends everybody lines up and does the dance together. It is super fun. We are writing a theme song for the game and are going to try to use it to help America exercise in a fun way. It is going to be the next Twist. Eventually we would love to make a whole physical education program to get kids playing in gym class. Also we plan on teaching Ellen how to play on her TV show.
The Ellen thing is a long-term goal for SMTP, but with our rad friend-extended-network, don't be surprised in about 18 months when you see Ellen playing Memory Dance Chain. It is all part of the five-year plan.
What can people expect from your final two pre-hiatus Portland shows?
We will be putting everything we have out there. Probably some synchronized dances, maybe some skits. If we can get a proper adhesive, our feather/oatmeal/glitter cannons might be in full effect. Maybe some crowd surfing, possibly a naked conga line. And we will probably have some sort of a raffle...