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Elliott Smith Devo tribute band

Elliott Smith in a 1994 Devo tribute band

In the early ’90s, before Elliott Smith was nominated for an Oscar and Chris Slusarenko played in Guided by Voices, they were just some guys knocking around Portland’s independent rock scene. Smith had just released his first solo album and was still in a band called Heatmiser. Slusarenko performed in a band called Sprinkler with his brother, Nate.

In 1994, the folks behind legendary Portland venue The X-Ray Cafe decided to have a talent show for the local music scene. The Brothers Slusarenko, Smith, and two other local musician friends—Sam Coomes of Quasi and Crackerbash’s Sean Croghan—thought it would be a gas to enter as a Devo tribute band. So they did. And the result was downright excellent.

Twenty-two years after the fact, the video of the performance has finally been digitized, and Chris Slusarenko’s current band, Eyelids, has put it on their YouTube channel. Take 20 minutes and bask in its glory.

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