It Has Been Said...

The Dandy Warhols joined the Public Water/Public Vote music festival soon after the city council’s 2012 decision to fluoridate, drawing bands with names like The Shivas, Guantanamo Baywatch and SexyWaterSpiders, and creating enough buzz to gather the 20,000 signatures required to put the fluoride vote on the ballot....

China starshine of sexywaterspiders protests against water fluoridation outside city hall in portland, or.

associated press/ may 2013

“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 Feenix, China Starshine and Zia McCabe?” -JS
Enchanted Forest
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.
Reverend Christoff Molesworth became inspired to make a music video for the band SexyWaterSpiders after discovering them at a seance, in which the group was apparently practicing telepathy and attempting communications with extra-dimensional beings.
4:32 pm: LOVELY NUMB FILMS Actor China Starshine (of Portland band SexyWaterSpiders) lights a blunt.
“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.”
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.

Listening to SexyWaterSpiders, though, I’ve become intrigued again. 

A Portland by way of Salem trio, SexyWaterSpiders play an adolescent, bluesy psych rock. They don’t take themselves too seriously, and they don’t want you to take them too seriously, either. This point is made evident by their 10 minute forays into new age psych pop and cheesy power metal. Actually, all the songs on Black Gold have a tongue in cheek sneer through which the tongue is more directed at the listener …almost to test your patience and ask “why so serious?”

First listen aside, they aren’t just a weird Portland band. They’re a breath of fresh air in a city that’s nearly choking to death with conventional rock bands uninterested in testing the boundaries of their own “coolness”. That said, there is something undeniably cool about them. Their songs are good and at times evoke the likes of John Spencer, Royal Trux, Railroad Jerk …even The Fugs. And while they may not be as garage or punk as those groups, the SexyWaterSpiders approach their music with a similar playfulness that escapes a lot of musicians these days.

Loosen your buttons.
There is something undeniably uplifting about a band like SexyWaterSpiders. The funk element infused with rock and roll is something we have really been missing lately. Also the weird as fuck element has been missing as well. And these guys definitely bring a heft portion of each into their crazy stylings.
SexyWaterSpiders have been rocking out the city of Portland, Oregon for quite some time now. They’ve been known to run amuck with likes of The Dandy Warhols, 1776, and The Upsidedown. Needless to say, the gang is in good hands. And like their fellow brethren, they are known to be insane showmen, another element that seems to get lost in the shuffle lately. They are pure guitar wielding entertainment at it’s finest. When the apocalypse surely comes upon us, these are the sort of curators of the weird that you are going to want to have around when the world goes mad.
Even without knowing these cats personally, it seems perfectly reasonable to assume that these are the types of souls that live to rock. They want to perform for you, and make you lose all sense of being (and possibly your bowels) and the worry of being another senseless hack amidst the millions of other senseless hacks on this bloody and sometimes disgusting earth. The screaming may surprise you. The funk may guide you. And let it be known, while you are fixated upon the circus of rock before you, all the fucks you used to give will surely be the furthest thing from your mind when you let SexyWaterSpiders take over.
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 Sexy Water Spiders 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.
...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 spazzes, 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.
Finies les vacances. Retour à la grisaille. “Il me semble que la misère serait moins pénible au soleil”, disait si bien Aznavour. Faites venir le soleil, François, Nicolas, et je voterai pour vous. Celui qui installera durablement l’astre solaire sur notre hexagone, qui remettra le rêve au goût du jour, qui revendiquera le droit à la beauté, recueillera tous mes suffrages. J’ai regardé le débat de l’entre-deux-tours. Elle est belle, quand même, Laurence Ferrari, non? François et Nicolas s’interpellent, s’invectivent, s’admonestent, s’insurgent, se, elle, au beau milieu de ce combat de coqs, elle sourit. De ce sourire émane une bienveillance et une tendresse quasi maternelles. Allons, les enfants, cessez donc de vous chamailler, semble-t-elle signifier du regard. Maman vous aime tous les deux. Mais l’empoignade continue jusqu’à la surenchère finale. C’est là le drame de notre société. Le laid l’emporte le plus souvent sur le beau. La culture, dans le débat présidentiel? Nulle part. Et, moi, ce que j’en pense? A tous ceux qui m’ont soutenu, je veux exprimer mon respect le plus sincère et ma plus profonde gratitude. Alors que, demain, les Français seront face à un choix historique et éliront, en leur âme et conscience, leur nouveau président, j’appelle celles et ceux qui m’ont fait l’immense honneur de m’accorder leurs suffrages à voter...pour Laurence Ferrari. Qu’as-tu fait, Laurence, la nuit suivant le débat, lorsque, lassée de toutes leurs simagrées, tu as quitté le plateau? T’es-tu allongée, nue, sur un matelas douillet pour t’endormir d’un sommeil paisible? As-tu fait l’amour, gémissante, entre les mains expertes d’un amant entreprenant? Le plus excitant, c’est ce qu’on ne voit pas, ce qu’on ne sait pas, ce qu’on ne dit pas. “The Holysexyness cannot be seen”, proclament les psychédéliques et farouchement addictifs SexyWaterSpiders...

Mais, me direz-vous, qu’est-ce que c’est que ces bêtes-là? Comprenne qui pourra leur biographie sur le Net ou les réponses qu’ils donnent en interview. Les araignées d’eau vivent à la surface de l’eau, là où l’eau et la lumière se rencontrent. Elles communiquent en faisant des vagues. On ressent dans le son des SexyWaterSpiders cette attirance pour l’eau. Un titre comme Spirit Dome, avec ses multiples couches sonores sexy et aqueuses, donne l’impression d’avoir été enregistré à vingt mille lieues sous les mers, au milieu de bancs de poissons multicolores et pourrait bien déclencher chez l’auditeur une irrépressible envie de faire l’amour dans la piscine la plus proche. Une bande-son qu’on ne saurait trop conseiller aux producteurs de télé-réalité soucieux de pimenter une émission un peu sage. Les trois araignées, Parsley Phoenix, Mongoose Thompson et China Starshine, déploient leurs innombrables pattes pour tisser une toile sonore protéiforme et intrigante. Au petit jeu des comparaisons, je dirais que c’est un mélange de Beck première période, du Jon Spencer Blues Explosion et des Dandy Warhols. Une chose est sûre, ces garçons-là ne se prennent pas au sérieux, leur univers qui relève plus du trip sous acides que la gentille promenade digestive du dimanche après-midi rebutera probablement les bienpensants et les oreilles chastes. Ce serait oublier que le rock n’est pas une musique sérieuse. C’est un style fait par des branleurs pour des branleurs, où la morale et le bon goût n’ont pas leur place. Ça fait tellement de bien, parfois, de tomber sur un de ces groupes imprévisibles, outsiders géniaux, qui font la légende du rock. Alors qu’Anton Newcombe et son Brian Jonestown Massacre semblent s’enfoncer, d’album en album, plus profond dans la dépression, les SexyWaterSpiders offrent une version rigolarde et fantasque du psych-rock des années 60 sans, pour autant, mettre de côté la qualité et l’exigence musicale. Leur premier album Black Gold est un véritable trésor caché du genre, à mettre entre toutes les oreilles. Alors, n’hésitez plus, jetez-vous à l’eau et laissez vous emporter...
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
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