Screams From the Vault: The Neoboys

Most believe that Portland’s girl-rock scene begins withSleater-Kinney and Kathleen Hanna (Le Tigre, Bikini Kill) and thatit ends with more recent acts like The Gossip and Pom Pom Meltdown.The band missing in that equation is Neoboys, an all-girl rock bandfrom the late ’70s/early ’80s. They released one EP in ’78,appeared on the live compilation 10-29-79 (both of these producedby legendary Wiper, Greg Sage) and released one full-length album,Crumbling Myths, in ’82. The band featured sisters K.t. and KimKincaid on bass and vocals, Meg Hentges and Jennifer Lobianco onguitar and Pat Baum on drums. My first Neoboys EP was a thirdgeneration dub that I’d listen to on a cheap Walkman that only hada fast-forward button. The EP had three songs – “Never Comes Down,””Give Me the Message” and “Rich Man’s Dream” – and I would listento the tape at least five times per side.

Kim Kincaid was a teenager when the EP was released, but hervoice and lyrics make her sound older. Her vocals are not on parwith Billy Holiday, but I can get misty-eyed listening to either.Lobianco’s strummed Velvet Underground-like guitar melodies makethe songs fly and K.t.’s bass makes a good Doug Yule to Lobianco’sLou Reed, while the addition of Hentges’ guitar adds anotherinteresting dimension. Their live songs on the 10-29-78 compilationare tighter than other groups on the compilation, like Lo-tek andSado-nation, and Kim’s cadence is dead on.

By the time their album was recorded, Lobianco had left theband. Without her strumming, the band sounds more country or surfthan on their EP. The sound is mellower than previous work, butwith songs like “Poor Man’s Jungle,” “Cheap Labor” and “Dirty WhiteLies” it is as angry as any of the testosterone-fueled hardcorebands coming out of California at the same time.

A few years ago, Greg Sage managed to re-release the Neoboys EPwith early singles of his band and the 10-29-79 compilation all onone disc. The Neoboys full-length has yet to be reissued. Hentgeswould later be a part of the Austin group Two Nice Girls, K.t.Kincaid is currently in the Starlings, Baum is rumored to be thesound engineer in an early Gus Van Sant film and Kim resides herein Portland.

It’s ironic that the Neoboys would choose to have the word ‘boy’in their name. I’ve often wondered what it meant. I always thoughtit might have been a Valerie Solanis inspired statement; in thefuture all the boys will be girls because there are no boys.Whatever the reasoning behind the name, it’s great to know that aband from a small city like ours produced something as landmark asanything out of London, New York or Los Angeles.