Led Zeppelin had Bonham's bass drum. The Carter Family had those unmatchable Appalachian harmonies. Devo, hats. Great hats. No doubt the best hats in all of rockdom. 10yoGF (10-Year-Old Girlfriend) has a foul drink called the "Crass Monkey." It's an alcoholic concoction that is a bit sweet, a little sour, quite crass, and a good time, much like the band itself.
It's no surprise that lead vocalist and keyboard player Hana Montana—not to be confused with Disney's Hannah Montana®, average teen by day, pop star by night—says that most everything that's funny or clever about the band has been conceived while wasted. Of course that is something one would expect to hear from loud cock rockers or weed rappers, but 10yoGF's sound is much more akin to the "good times and great oldies" sounds of yesteryear, reminiscent of mid-'60s girl groups and The B-52s with a pinch of The Slits. Tambourinist/vocalist/super-fan Cassandra Rabe has a unique way to describe the band's sound and style: "We all bring a different positive background with a peaceful sort of combustion. It's like the best fruitcake ever. People talk shit about fruitcake all the time, but when it's done well and everything is right you can't talk shit about fruitcake anymore." Perhaps, but drummer Mat Côté who, notably, has never tried fruitcake, has a simpler description of their sound: "fancy brat punk." Montana's jukebox selections at the VFW prior to the interview may best illustrate 10yoGF's sound and influences: The Supremes "Love Child," The Statler Brothers "Flowers On the Wall," and Patsy Cline's "Walking After Midnight." Old people music.
Early on, 10yoGF operated as a duo that took on the persona of a 10-year-old runaway. Montana, along with former member Eila Tron, decided to "make up stupid songs about a 10-year-old getting drunk and hurting boys." Cough syrup and other medicinal and alcoholic delights were often the impetus for creativity. But for Tron nothing was more inspiring than garbage. Montana recounts, "We were playing by a dumpster full of medical waste. We said, 'Let's save all our beer cans and cover ourselves in them while we drink cough syrup.'" And so they did that—that and other things, which are none of your business. But the original lineup was short-lived, and as Montana says, "Eila, being a transient, transiated somewhere else."
In the parlance of professional wrestling, 10yoGF lives their gimmick. This is no put-on. Montana is aware of the professional and personal perils that come with all the shenanigans. She says, "I feel bad because every time I talk about 10yoGF I'm like 'I was drunk and then I was high. Then we drank all that cough syrup and hung out in the dumpster with the medical waste...'" No worries, the band isn't always on a bender or a toot. Sometimes they are touring Missoula (Top Hat, house show, The Palace, BSMT). Probably on a toot.
Now about that Crass Monkey, which according to bassist Isaiah Laura is "the drinking sensation that's sweeping the nation." It's a sensation that the bandmates concur tastes like Flintstones vitamins. Much like Danny Glover in the Lethal Weapon movies, I am getting too old for this sort of manure, but in the interest of journalistic excellence I had to sample some of that juice. Besides, in a world where rappers have their own vodkas and tequilas, and every tour is either sponsored by Budweiser or PBR, it's nice to see some enterprising locals create their own alcoholic definition of rock and roll. The following is the recipe as told to me by Hana Montana:
40 oz. Olde English 800 Malt Liquor
12 oz. orange juice
1 5-Hour Energy bottle
1 bottle Ten High whiskey
1. Pour out some of the O.E. (for your homies, of course).
2. Add some orange juice, leaving room for the 5-Hour Energy.
3. Add 5-Hour Energy to the bottle of O.E. Swirl with care.
4. Fill a pint glass two-thirds full with the 40-ouncer.
5. Fill a shot glass with Ten High.
6. Drop shot glass into pint glass "boilermaker style" and slam it all down.
7. Wake up in the morning with a wicked case of the guilties, a deflated sense of self, and your wallet in the refrigerator.
The current line-up is also the final line-up. The band will play two more shows (Total Fest Aug. 19 and with Japanther Aug. 27, both at The Badlander/Palace complex), release a cassette tape called High, Wild, and Free, and call it quits once Côté moves from Missoula to Oakland (purportedly to play folk music).
"This is my favorite incarnation of 10yoGF," Montana says. "Cassandra and I sing real well together; Isaiah is heavy, experimental, and 'garagey' enough that he fits my preconceived sensibilities; Mat Côté is an angel and can do no wrong."
Adds Laura, "The best thing about this band is that there is no future."
10yoGF plays Total Fest Friday, August 19, at the Badlander/Palace with 14 other bands. $20.
This year’s Total Fest kicks off Thursday, August 18, and runs through Saturday, August 20. Three-day passes cost $45 in advance until Aug. 15 at totalfest.org or Ear Candy, and $50 at the door. Per-night costs vary. (see below)Thu., Aug. 18
Badlander/Palace: Big Business, White Lung, Dead, White Shit, The Men, Gun Outfit, Unstoppable Death Machines, Kowloon Walled City, Grown-ups, Milk Music, Religious Girls, Underground Railroad to Candyland, Omotai, 10 YO GF and Pigs. 9 PM. $20.
Badlander/Palace: Hammerhead, The Arrivals, Leaders, Shellshag, The Trashies, The Blind Shake, Gull, Shannon & the Clams, P.R.O.B.L.E.M.S., Helms Alee, Friendo, Pine Hill Haints, Shahs, Microbabies & Thrones. 9 PM. $20.