Keepin' the water sexy

Keepin' the water sexy

China Starshine of SexyWaterSpiders protests against water fluoridation outside city hall in Portland, OR.

associated press/ may 2013

Rock Bands of L.A.

Interesting bands search to find their musical vortex. It could be the Crossroads in Mississippi? Perhaps it’s in big cities like Los Angeles, London, N.Y.C., Austin or Nashville.
The neo-psychedelic moment happens to be in Portland, OR. . I have a sincere love of Portland since I’ve been there so many times on business and pleasure. Great food , art and has of course rich music roots.
The movie by Gus Van Sant,  “ Drug Store Cowboy” really showed the city as I always saw it. Not the drug contact, rather the romance that film provided about how bohemian the city really is.
I owe a lot of it to Dandy Warhols’, Zia McCabe being the musical maestro/mastermind of Portland.
This time a band SexyWaterSpiders  (for ease I’ll refer to them a SWS) are pursuing musical ground that hasn’t been imitated since the days of Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band. The Beefheart featured “The Captain”, Don Glen Vliet as vocalist and centerpiece of the band. Vliet died in 2010 of multiple sclerosis but left a legacy of “beat poetry” put to music. His music puzzled and disturbed most rock listeners but he left a legacy as one of rocks avant-guard visionaries.   In addition, Captain Beefheart was an accomplished painter. The album “Trout Mask Replica” was ranked # 58 by Rolling Stone’s top 500 rock albums of all time. As I wrote earlier Vliet was an accomplished artist and received many accolades for his work. His paintings were never dull and his work was often called “post-impressionist-modern”.
My interview with members China Starshine and Parsely Phoenix proved that bands are not adhering to the methods of doing business of the “Old School”. They are extremely proficient on how they develop their fan base and they play their hearts out so as to broaden their base. Plus, major use of the internet connection appears to be their best marketing tool. They have no problem connecting “one on one” with their disciples.
They grew up in Christian households which when they got older they rejected. Their musical acumen of the past is unfortunately limited compared to other artists.
Today they are festooned with many alternatives, which range from religion to politics.
I found them overtly suspicious and defiant of the system. They feel that Sir Paul McCartney murdered Michael Jackson while Brian Jones untimely death was a conspiracy devised by the other members of the Rolling Stones.  They included other convoluted reasons of deceit for John Lennon’s and George Harrison’s passing while they spoke to me. Makes good for campfire banter.
You’d think that they’ve done a lot of drugs but when questioned they denied it.
The band met in August of 2007 Venice, CA. in, the same “vortex” where Jim Morrison and Ray Manzarek of The Doors had met and traded stories of poetry and music. Perhaps history just repeats itself when it comes to the synergy of artistic meetings.
Frankly they are a quirky band. However, their music is quite sophisticated and lyrically they are reciting “back-beat” poetry. Almost using wordage famous from beat writers from back in the 60’s; like Charles Bukowski, Hunter Thompson, William J. Burroughs and Jack Kerouac.  Their fave movies are the “Lion King” and “Aladdin”; which I presume was from their generations’ popularity and their parent’s censorship of entertainment. Yet Parsley Parsley stated his first concert was Primus, mine was Jimi Hendrix Experience which changed my life forever.
Their knowledge of their surroundings resonates of being different yet cognoscente of backbeat art. Their juxtaposition of words almost reminds me of my discussions with Jerry Garcia from the Grateful Dead. Honestly, it made absolutely no sense.
They have a compulsion to visit and perhaps perform at Area 51 in Nevada.  I’ve made that trek before and there’s nothing their but barren desert. So let it be.
Musically my favorite song is Black Gold, which epitomizes their diversity. This Video montage really shows their musical diversity. If they had a dream come true they would perform at every psychic vortex in the world.
Support their first nationwide tour by contributing to their IndieGoGo campaign at
All donations are greatly appreciated and you’ll be thanked with super sicky, tight prizes. Including a free download of their most recent and blessed recording Kenny Geezus just for visiting the site, I just love that song and it doesn’t sound like anything they write.
Navigate to this website and you will grasp the musical insights of S.W.S.
Listen the SexyWaterSpiders’ first full length album Black Gold at and enjoy true alternative music.
Jeff Laufer @ 20.08.2012


Nodding Tree Remedies’ brand of psychedelic folk rock reigned supreme in mid-Oughts Cherry City. Time weathered the gypsy orchestra, however, until it finally fractured into different segments and members moved on and/or moved away. At its best, NTR was a sonic wonderland of bubbling creativity made up of fun personalities. At its worst, it was a bad trip that would not end. Though this is a reunion show of sorts, Portland’s SexyWaterSpiders has remained an active branch of the NTR tree, performing at Rose City clubs, hobnobbing with rock stars and embarking on undisciplined tours that appear to be more like open-ended road trips. Like its origin band, SWS is capable of putting on an entertaining show and confusing and scaring a few people as well.

Keepers of the Weird

When I moved to Portland, Oregon, one of the first things I noticed were the bumper stickers and signs everywhere that read "Keep Portland Weird". Over the course of that first year, Portland's weirdness revealed itself in many ways, usually in the form of costumed pub crawls and costumed (or naked) bike rides. At first I was intrigued by the weirdness; then proud. I even participated in a pub crawl dressed as a lumberjack in hot pants. But everyone gets to the point where Portland's weirdness becomes embarrassing and/or annoying, as it has for me 6 years later.

Herky-Jerky, Mutant Spasctic, Rock n Roll Revolution

...SexyWaterSpiders continued the Garage homage, this time focused on the herky jerky mutant blues of John Spencer, circa Pussy Galore. True fucking punk spirit, these guys were like animated marionettes, shambolic but somehow razor sharp. The singer had the finest, operatic sound check i've seen to date, before launching into some throat singing, and then into a rockabilly number. The mutants will always be my favorite, the spastic, the ones that don't give a fuck. Last time i checked, rock 'n roll was not about looking good and fitting in. I seem to remember some rigamorale about 'revolution', and its nice to know that exists somewhere, even if there is pretty much a precedent for just about anything you could think to do, at this point. They ended up with a song dedicated to people high on resin, the singer and guitarist stumbling around the stage like a drunken zombie, or Pinnochio on Treasure Island. Again, highly recommended.

Mongoose Thompson, Parsley Phoenix, China Starshine and Zia McCabe?

“You may know of SexyWaterSpiders as some of the key members that made up Salem band Nodding Tree Remedies. Since splitting off and heading to Portland, SexyWaterSpiders have been creating some of the weirdest 60s-esque garage pop around and gaining a reputation as an excellent and over-the-top live band. As unpredictable as they are great, you can never expect what antics, what songs, or even what genres the Spiders will tap into. What would you expect from a band whose stage names are Mongoose Thompson, Parsley Phoenix, China Starshine and Zia McCabe?” -JS

Great Idea at Enchanted Forest

Great Idea festival organizer Doug Hoffman has announced that influential alternative rock band The Dandy Warhols will headline the second annual lineup at Enchanted Forest. The festival is scheduled for Friday, August 5, and will include K Records owner, Calvin Johnson with his band The Hivedwellers, as well as popular regional acts Brainstorm, Jared Mees and The Grown Children, Symmetry/Symmetry, Sons of Huns, SexyWaterSpiders, Massive Moth, Youth and Hello Electric.

Transformative Years

Salem's Nodding Tree Remedies seemed to be a band on the verge of a major break-out in the winter of 2008. That winter the band was leading the charge of an impressive influx of Salem music into the Portland club scene, bands like Typhoon and Wampire are certainly from this wave. SexyWaterSpiders (the new moniker for a re-shuffled NTR) deliver LSD bar rock in a grand way on their debut album BLACK GOLD.

Mysterious Origins

“The true origins of SexyWaterSpiders is a mystery. It is said that they are three brothers separated at birth, and reunited by the coincidence of matching gingham shirts among strangers at Venice Beach, when they looked at each other and like a message from god they simultaneously heard a voice say: “sexy. music. sexy .” At one time they called themselves Nodding Tree Remedies, after that name was passed to them by the mighty singing swinging willow trees of eastern Oregon. They developed a cult following of hippies, drop-outs and starry eyed kids who burned out before reaching adulthood. In a flash of neon, rainbow, sequined madness, you can see this  trio in the dark basements of Portland, the glowing fields of Yachatz, and the mossy forests of California. They will play your show until dawn, when all the girlfriends and boyfriends wake up naked, confused and wanting more.”

SexyWaterSpiders' name is almost good enough to carry them, but with their slow and seductive way of drumming, strumming and singing, the moniker need only be the lure. Meanwhile, local rock gem Someday Tricycle's first album, Mystic Knights of the Pretty Sun, packs together a pretty slew of finely constructed, solid songs—and another record is already on the way. While they sound a little something like most of their laundry list of influences (Air, the Beatles, Elliott Smith), there's something purely Someday Tricycle in there as well, and that distinction makes them a very happy listen. KJ