Wade Coggeshall

Being the largest city in the nation, it only makes sense that New York City's music scene should spawn some of the best names and most eclectic sounds. Indiana will get a live rendering of just one of the city's unconventional hipsters when Dirt Bike Annie brings its punk-powered dance party April 11 to the Melody Inn, 3826 N. Illinois St., Indianapolis.Actually, according to DBA vocalist/guitarist Jeanie Lee, the band more closely associates itself with the Jersey City, N.J. music scene, as that's where she and guitarist/vocalist Adam Rabuck now call home."With other bands we don't really sound anything like, we're all based around this bar called Uncle Joe's," Lee said during a phone interview. "We all play there and we're all good friends. That's another scene I like saying we're a part of."The New York roots are definitely still there. The band's bass player, Dan Paquin, calls Manhattan home, and all three members started playing together while students at New York University around 1993. Rabuck, who started Dirt Bike Annie with different personnel, went to high school with Lee and she started at NYU a year after him. After some members quit, Rabuck recruited Paquin, whom he met while living in the dorms. Lee came into the fold in different way."I had begged them to be in the band for a while, and they wouldn't let me join," she said. "And finally they lost their drummer but had all these recordings, and I was like, 'Why don't you let me sing on them for fun, and we'll see what happens from there.' They really liked it."After going through several drummers, DBA now has Tommy Vinton, formerly of Too Much Joy, manning the kit. The big and jumbled pop-punk scene the band is most closely associated with has its lineage and devotees on both the left and right coasts, but Lee credits Dirt Bike Annie's start in an Oregon basement."The scene kind of started out of this label called Mutant Pop Records," Lee said. "It's a tiny, tiny label run out of the basement of a shoe store out in Corvallis, Ore. by this guy Tim. He put out a 7-inch of ours that kind of caught on. Then eventually we started meeting the people who liked our record in New York." Before that the band issued its first 7-inch on its own Richie Records, which to date is the only record the label ever released. DBA has, it its time, put out a combination of 11 7-inch and full-length records. The group is touring this spring in support of last year's album, "Show Us Your Demons," on Seattle's Dirtnap Records.If there's one area Dirt Bike Annie has developed a reputation for, it's showing club haunters a good time. Behind a propulsive rhythm section and Rabuck and Lee's juicy guitar energy and spirited vocal tradeoffs, the quartet turns any performance into a free-form party-ready atmosphere. DBA has even been known to sport some choreographed moves for lucky fans. "On the surface we want people to have a good time," Lee stated. "That's most important, to enjoy it. But if you listen to the lyrics, there are definitely some songs that sound happy. We're kind of known as a happy-go-lucky, high-energy band. Life isn't always happy and fun, so I think there's some serious things mixed in there. The way we handle our songs is the way we live life — try to make the best of everything."It's most important that we're engaging, helping other people have fun."Despite Dirt Bike Annie's indie rock cred, the band isn't opposed to flirting with mainstream success."If a major label wanted us and it was a good deal, we wouldn't say no just because they're a major label," Lee said. "But I don't think we'd take just anything either, and not just because we want to stay independent. We'd like to make a living off this someday."——On the Net:www.dirtbikeannie.com

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