[GAR-UNGE] Some bands go through break-ups, and some go through divorces. In the spring of 2005, local grunge outfit Serpentone experienced the latter.
Midway through an opening set at Porky’s Pub, singer Erika Meyer is stunned—convinced that both her musical career and her relationship are about to fly out the window faster than a fleeing burglar. Her bassist and now ex-boyfriend, Tom Drama (really), has stripped to his underwear while encouraging the sparse audience to do the same. Drama cranks his Ampeg up to 10 and smashes his bass onstage à la Mick Jones on the cover of London Calling. Feedback roars. Meyer looked down at the bass, then over at her dismayed drummer, whose girlfriend is the owner of the ruined equipment. Game over, Serpentone. For now, at least.
Despite its turbulent genesis, Serpentone has persevered—not for lack of adversity. For the past three years, Meyer has been something of an everyday acrobat: She simultaneously walks the tightrope of balancing musicians’ egos (going through five drummers and countless bassists), finding time to write songs and work her day job as a web designer for Lewis & Clark College, while juggling the responsibility of a 12-year-old daughter. If there was ever a candidate less likely to resurrect the low-energy zeitgeist of the grunge era than 40-year-old Meyer, it’d have to be Lindsay Lohan.
Yet, Serpentone’s brand of aggressive garage and well-planned grunge echoes the ’90s “Seattle sound” so much that self-released debut Spiraling, with its garage hooks and LOUD-quiet-LOUD schizophrenia, functions more like a time capsule than a showcase of retro copycatting. For Meyer—who jokingly calls indie pop “the new hair metal”—the album signifies closure. It’s been years in the making, and Serpentone currently has a lineup (Skot Duthie on bass and drummer Cyrus Yates) strong enough to convert all its energy to the stage. With lauding press from infamous Brit-rock writer Everett True, who likens the band to Poison Girls and Babes In Toyland, it’s likely Meyer will continue to do what she does best: write smart garage tunes, regardless of her lineup chaos.
SEE IT: Serpentone releases Spiraling on Thursday, June 26, with Polly Panic and Amoree Lovell at Ash Street. 9:30 pm. $5. 21+.