Hop on the band wagon

Eugene based band Station Wag breaks out at Lesbopalooza

By Mason West

Candice Kingrey and the other members of Station Wag sat at a long assembly line of tables examining two preliminary sticker designs before a show at the Samurai Duck. One, a simple but elegant symbol combining an "S" and "W," the other a cute yet demonic cat with horns behind the band name spelled out in sharp letters. All members were pleased,especially Kingrey.

"The S and W makes a great tattoo on the heinie of cute little girls," Kingrey said.
Candice Kingrey wails at the Samurai Duck audience, while Ana Hewitt hunches over to strum her loosely hung guitar.

That's a start at explaining Kingrey's unabashed demeanor. As the lead singer, she stands out more than any other member in the band - or maybe it's the white contact lenses and glow-in-the-dark horns that are responsible.

"I can't wear this stuff at work," she said. "It's the rock star I always wanted to be. But I do tend to reinvent myself every show."

Work for Kingrey is the opposite of her job in Station Wag: she doesn't even have to use her voice. She is the staff administrative sign language interpreter for the University of Oregon. Her skills came in handy as she signed with friends during an opening band that made conversation a moot point.

The other members of Station Wag daylight in various careers. Bassist Eric Merchant is a graduate math student at the University. Lead guitarist Andy Dent works at Eugene City Bakery. Rhythm guitarist Ana Hewitt owns a security system business. But Drummer Tom "Just Tom" takes the cake - or keg - as a distributor for Deschutes Brewery.

"We always have plenty of free beer at practice," Kingrey said.

Station Wag is a fledgling band, having less than a year under its belt, but Kingrey said there's no lack of talent.

"All these guys are pretty experienced," she said. "I'm the newbie."
Dueling guitarists Ana Hewitt and Andy Dent.

Dent said that because Station Wag is such a young band, he feels extremely luck to get a top billing at Lesbopalooza.

"I've been in four bands and I've never played the WOW Hall," Hewitt said with a mopey tone barely masking her excitement.

However, the choice to play Lesbopalooza wasn't a no-brainer. While Hewitt and Kingrey are homosexual, the male members of Station Wag are not.

"It felt like a stupid question, but on the guys' behalf I asked if it was going to be a problem having straight guys in the band," Kingrey said.

Dent wasn't too concerned.

"I mean, we all like girls, right?" he said.

In preparation for their biggest show, the members of Station Wag are working on the stickers and a CD to help get more people exposed to their music. Aside from Lesbopalooza, Station Wag primarily plays at John Henry's, Brickhouse and Samurai Duck.

None of these venues draws a specifically homosexual crowd, which is fine by Kingrey. She said she doesn't want Station Wag to be about labels.

"Some of my songs I sing to women. Some I sing to men. I don't sing fiction. If it's to a man or woman, it's something I've felt," she said.