The Lost Box of the X-Ray Cafe

With XRAY.FM now broadcasting citywide, we rummage through its namesake's past with former co-owner Tres Shannon.

Last year, when XRAY.FM was in the final stages of raising funds to get itself on the air, reporter Jay Horton spent some time with Tres Shannon, who, before becoming the mind behind Voodoo Donuts, co-owned the fledgling community radio station's namesake: the X-Ray Cafe, the club that defined Portland's early '90s rock scene. With XRAY moving to a much stronger signal this week, we thought it appropriate to share the following three-part video series, in which Shannon rummages through a lost trove of old X-Ray memorabilia. We'll let Jay explain further:

Quintessential emblem of old, weird puddletown's thriving eccentricities and irreplaceable pillar of a burgeoning indie rock scene soon envy of the world, the X-Ray Cafe wasn't really meant to survive beyond legends and liner-notes.  All-ages venues of expansive tastes and shoestring budgets are difficult enough to sustain under the best of circumstances, and given rarefied booking policies that showcased absurdist cabaret and career curiosities alongside a murderer's row of then-unknown acts soon to define their era, it's no small miracle co-owners Tres Shannon and Ben Ellis kept the early '90s Old Town clubhouse afloat for four years, through relentless energy, aggressive whimsy and the adaptability of inexperience. 

While iconic landmarks borne upon inspirational spontaneity typically vanish from the earth as quickly and completely as they pop up, the lords of the X-Ray recognized the powers of left-handed promotions better than most and always had a flair for myth-making. Ellis' documentary X-Ray Visions remains the official history, but the stroll down memory lane reminded Shannon, better known these days as ringleader of the Karaoke From Hell combo and co-founder of the Voodoo Donut empire, he'd recently come across a separate trove of memorabilia.  What secrets are held by the Lost Box Of The X-Ray?Join roving correspondent Jay Horton as WW takes a look inside...