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December 3rd, 2003 Godfre Leung | Music Stories
 

Satisfaction Doubled

Though they've matured in the past year, Jackie and Cocaine Unicorn still share beers, compliments and a retro-rock origin.

     
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Cocaine Unicorn
About a year ago, Jackie, armed with singer Travis Bonilla's spot-on Mick Jagger antics, successfully re-created the vintage Stones sound while their garage-rock soulmates Cocaine Unicorn countered with swagger-heavy Anglophile pop. The two Portland bands--both outfitted with tambourines--had the retro sound and look down pat and seemed ready to ride the garage wave straight to the Strokes' sex, drugs and rock-'n'-roll after-party.

Somewhere along the way, both bands branched out. Jackie brought keyboards and a darker sound to the forefront, while Cocaine Unicorn slowed the tempo and added a '70s Americana element to its mop-top repertoire. The bands still frequently play shows together, but their different trajectories emphasize the varied directions good old-fashioned rock 'n' roll can take you in this city.

JACKIE

Members: Chris De Herrera, Kip Berman, Jen Fang, Travis Bonilla, Danny Taylor

WW: How did you meet Cocaine Unicorn?

Danny: We saw them at a house party a long time ago, and I remember we hated them. They were all really tall. Then after a while, [Jackie guitarist] Kip really liked them and tried to cater to them. So we would show up at their house with beer and be like, "Hey, guys." Then we became friends with them.

What do you think of Cocaine Unicorn's music?

Travis: It sounds like really good music from the '60s.

Chris: The way they play, it's like...

Travis: It's like a cowboy walking down the street with bells on.

Do you consider yourselves a retro band?

Chris: We have a synthesizer.

Jen: Yeah, that ain't retro.

Chris: I don't think it's a bad thing to be deemed as a retro band. Why fuck with the formula? The newest music in the last five years is fusion metal/hip-hop, which is garbage.

What is the function of the tambourine in Jackie?

Danny: It's more of a visual thing.

Travis: At shows, you probably can't even really hear it.

What do you think of the new Strokes album, Room on Fire?

Chris: We were all excited to purchase the album. Travis pre-paid for his.

Travis: They're a good band. I've never been ashamed of liking them.

Where is Jackie's music going?

Travis: It sounds less derivative. In the beginning, you lean on the personality of other bands.

Chris: Basically, the Jackie formula is we take all the songs we really love from other artists and just reverse the chord order.

Danny: You're not supposed to say that.

COCAINE UNICORN

Members: Carl Werner, Collin Hegna, Dasa Kalstrom, Paul Burkhart, Ryan Sumner

WW: How did you meet Jackie?

Ryan: Three members of Jackie came over to our house and they brought an 18-pack of Pabst. Then we played a show with them, and we were all super-impressed because we thought they were going to suck.

Dasa: It was like, these kids are cool but we'll see what they sound like. And they really did blow us away.

What do you think of Jackie's music?

Paul: They've gotten so much better since we started playing with them. They're better musically than us lately.

Ryan: They're my favorite band in town.

Do you consider yourselves a retro band?

Paul: Definitely. We can't deny that a lot of our influences come from the past.

Ryan: And I don't think that's anything to apologize for.

Paul: We all really like the Stones, I think I can say that.

Ryan: That's the standard answer.

What is the function of the tambourine in Cocaine Unicorn?

Ryan: When we've practiced without [tambourine player] Dasa, everyone's commented on how the sound isn't 100 percent. He's just as important as anyone in the band. He might as well be the guitar player or the drummer.

What do you think of the new Strokes album, Room on Fire?

Paul: I think it's good. I listened to it today at work.

Dasa: That'll piss people off, but fuck it, I think it's good.

Ryan: I think it's fucking good, I don't give a shit.

Where is Cocaine Unicorn's music going?

Paul: Our goal is to make a really good pop album, like the first Stone Roses record or [the Beatles'] Rubber Soul, a more well-rounded, cohesive piece of music.


Jackie and Cocaine Unicorn play the Glamportland Two-Year Anniversary with Lovely and MaFord on Saturday, Dec. 6, at Kelly's Olympian, 426 SW Washington St., 228-3669. 9 pm. Cover. 21+.
 
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