Covered in Nerds
An op-ed by Boo
Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Boo. I sing for the Portland death-punk band Covered in Bees, and my band loves Halloween. Our love for the holiday and all its trimmings is neither normal nor healthy. CIB makes Tim Burton look like Tim Horton.
We didn’t start with the goal of playing every Halloween for nearly 10 years. Heavens no. We started like every band in Portland, with the goal of using our group as a tool to mask our drug and alcohol addictions, and with the secondary goal of headlining Tuesday night shows for bored bartenders and maybe someday opening for a third-tier national touring act when they stumbled through town.
After a few rehearsals, and the sad realization that we could not stay drunk forever, we began to craft our first set. From those first few songs through today, we have created a rich universe of characters and stories to rival those in the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm. From Swampman and Spiderlady to The Black Grimace and The Girl With the Octopus Arms, Covered in Bees tells tales filled with monsters and murders, using humor and kick-ass rock ’n’ roll.
After writing “Zombees,” our song about (you guessed it!) zombies, we played a number of zombie-themed shows where everyone dressed as the undead. One night, CIB guitar player Doug Porter was wearing bloody make-up so realistic that the Portland police were convinced they’d identified the suspect who’d just smashed a Starbucks window. Luckily there were 80 people in the club, also wearing gruesome make-up, to back up his alibi.
Covered in Bees went on to organize other themed shows that encouraged the audience to dress up. Propers to Sinferno, By Blood Alone, and the High Fiving White Guys, our regular accomplices at these gigs. (For the record, Cruella of BBA built the spaceship for Halfway to Halloween 2.) We also put on a handful of Zombie Kickball after-parties.
Some of our more popular themed shows include Superhero Night, Death Punk Mardi Gras, Rocksgiving, Cowboys and Aliens, and Beach Party in Hell. Believe me, there is no greater sight than seeing Cap’n Crunch and RoboCop walking down the street and knowing they are headed to your show. The one theme we’ve never done, but have always wanted to do, is Bachelorette Party. Can you imagine filling a rock venue with dick balloons, dick straws and dick lights? Maybe I’ve revealed too much — this has nothing to do with Halloween.
Anyway, Covered in Bees, as a band and individually, loves dressing up in costume. CIB drummer Tristan Gallagher, co-owner of Coast City Comics/Fun Box Monster Emporium, loves Halloween so much that he and his wife got married on Oct. 31. And if memory serves, Ed Porter (a.k.a. Eddie Numbers), CIB’s bass player, would also have gotten hitched on Halloween had Tristan not beaten him to it. Not to be outdone in the who-loves-Halloween-the-most contest, his brother Doug roomed with a pumpkin at Sleepy Hollow University, where he earned a 4.0 GPA in Black Metal and Dream-Catching. Go Black Cats!
Covered in Bees is to Halloween what The Pubcrawlers are to St. Patrick’s Day, or what Clash of the Titans is to St. Borings Day. The only people who might like Halloween as much as CIB are Dan Blakeslee and the organizers of Gothic Maine, but we are punk, so they can all “Goth fly a kite”!
Halloween is not the only holiday the Bees have played. One year, CIB played every single possible holiday. After three consecutive Valentine’s Day gigs, my partner threatened to get a second boyfriend, one who didn’t force her to spend that romantic evening drinking PBR tall boys at Geno’s, Brian Boru, The Alehouse or Free Street Taverna.
But Halloween soon became the night we always played, the show that people who hadn’t seen us in a while would be sure to attend. Nothing could stop Covered in Bees from playing Halloween — not even my decision two years ago to quit the band. Halloween has become a celebration of CIB’s one-night reunions as much as a celebration of the holiday. Our fans come dressed as Swampman, Spiderlady, The Bride of Swampman, Swamp-Boy, Fighting Pineapples, Moody’s Diner diners and, of course, bees of all sorts. I often wonder how many of them are CIB fans and how many are actually very confused Blind Melon devotees.
So I am happy to announce here that the buzz is true: Covered in Bees have decided to officially get back together. We are writing new tunes and in pre-production on our death-punk musical, Corpse in the Mattress Motor Lodge, using Kickstarter to raise funds and awareness (www.tinyurl.com/cibcitmml). We are super excited to bee back together and look forward to headlining on a Tuesday night for a bored bartender near you.
This year, Halloween falls on Nov. 9 for Covered in Bees. We’ve opted to play the Coast City Comicon’s Nerd Rave kick-off party instead of the usual dive-bar beer bash. Nerd Rave will have all the costumes, contests and candy (visit our merch table) that you expect on Halloween, but with the Comicon you’re also going to have Superheroes, Villains, Furries, Clunkers and Steampunkers. At your run-of-the-mill Halloween party, you might get a sexy Ghostbuster, but at a nerd rave, you get a sexy Ghostbuster plus Venkman, Stantz and Spengler.
So, who you gonna call? Covered in Bees!
The Coast City Comicon Nerd Rave, featuring Covered in Bees, Math the Band, and The SideScrollers, takes place Fri., Nov. 9, at Geno’s, 625 Congress St., Portland, at 8 p.m. Tix: $8 (free with Comicon registration; 21+). 221-2382.