An Evening With the Whale Riders

Orca Team holds back, looks sharp.

The Situation I'm spending the evening with the surf-rock trio Orca Team—vocalist/bassist Leif Anders, guitarist Jessica B., and drummer Dwayne Cullen—in the back room of Capitol Hill's Liberty Bar. The South Park episode in which Cartman's hand is Jennifer Lopez is playing distractingly on a large screen. Anders is wearing a dark sweater and a bow tie; his penchant for wearing tuxedos onstage (he owns several after a brief stint working briefly at a tux shop) next to B.'s usual uniform of chic cocktail dresses attracts a lot of attention to the band's smart appearance. "Why play a show without making it a performance?" says Anders.

How They Got Here The current Orca Team lineup is less than a year old. Anders and B. went through three drummers—the first went to Argentina, the second got carpal tunnel syndrome, the third didn't want to tour—before settling with Anders' old high-school friend Cullen.

Orca Team is probably the most Northwestern band name I've ever heard. "Ever since I was young I had this attraction to orca whales as being like hunters," says Anders. "They seem very majestic and cutthroat. I like that."

"They are the biggest porpoise in the porpoise family," says B.

"A lot of whales have actually been beaching themselves," says Cullen. "They say it's because they have no porpoise." (Beery laughter.)

Shop Talk Orca Team's released a string of tapes and 7-inches, but they just finished recording their first LP. They're planning to call it Restraint, a word frequently used to describe their simple, straightforward pop tunes—an assessment they all agree with. "A lot of '60s music is like that," says B. "People used to say that about Dusty Springfield, like she doesn't ever give it all. You can always feel that she's holding back."

"It creates a different tension," says Anders.

BTW: This summer the band will tour the country in a Toyota Corolla, a tight squeeze that they somehow managed last year.

"I'm bringing two pairs of underwear and two socks," says Cullen.

"I'm not bringing anything this time," asserts Anders. "Just two tuxes."


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