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The Bangs and The Need

By Tucker Petertil, 7/14/10

Tears seldom figure into my musical interviews, but there they were being shed by Sarah Utter as she talked about the upcoming benefit show for Natalie Cox, her friend and former Olympian who is battling angiosarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer.

from left: Sarah, Rachel, Maggie and Peter

Sarah, Maggie Vail and Peter Connally of the Bangs and Rachel Carns of the Need have reformed their bands after not having played together for a long while (6 and 9 years respectively) as the best way they can figure to raise money and awareness for their stricken friend.

Sarah, Maggie, Rachel and Peter were all pretty morose when we talked in the Voyeur’s back room about the upcoming three shows their bands will be playing along with C Average and the Thrones. But Sarah was able to joke “Party like it’s 1999!,” referring to a year when all those bands were in business.

Sarah, Maggie and Peter all grew up in Olympia. Sarah plays bass in Western Hymns and is a painter, Maggie lives/works in Portland for Kill Rock Stars and is starting a new band with Kathy Foster of the Thermals, and Peter is playing in bunch of other bands including his own project, the Mona Reels.

Rachel, who moved here in 1992 from the East Coast with her band Kicking Giant, recently started a successful local Komebucha business and has been doing theatre in Cloud Eye Control. She mentioned that she was more than glad to participate as last year she herself was diagnosed with cancer and had received a lot of help from fellow musicians who put on benefits for her around the country. “My situation wasn’t as dire as Natalie’s…but I’m still taking this many supplements a day.” She says indicating a small hill of pills. “I’m super lucky.”

It’ll be a really great show,” says Sarah. “I mean, it sucks the reason that it’s happening but I’m just like ready for some fierce women action back in this town. It’s been lackluster lately…for a town built on major feminist movement.”

A long time Olympia resident, Natalie is married with a 3-year old. “She rides her bike everywhere and grows her own vegetables,” says Maggie, but is still losing ground to her malady. They hope to make enough money to help with blood transfusions and allow her to travel to alternative treatment centers as she has been pronounced incurable by traditional Oncologists.

There will be shows in Seattle, Olympia and Portland. The Olympia show is July 22nd at the Cherry St. Loft.

There is also an on-line fund set up. Sarah says, “There been really amazing who have donated there.” “People who don’t even know her,” Maggie adds.

In addition there will be a benefit screening of Don’t Need You: The Herstory of Riot Grrrl, “a documentary movie that tells the story of the origins of Riot Grrrl in the American independent music scene of the 1990s.” Natalie is an original riot grrrl and is featured in the movie, along with Bikini Kill, Heavens to Betsy, and Bratmobile. (8:30 PM doors, 9:30 PM screening, $5-$5000 donation, all ages with 21+ beer garden.) ◙

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