The mysterious stranger in the store had Ron Evans pegged.
The 35-year-old musician-artist was perusing the shelves at Fred Meyer one day when an older gentleman padded up and asked him if he enjoyed the “Star Wars” films. Evans, of East Wenatchee, replied yes, and the stranger said: “I thought so. The moment I laid my eyes on you, I said to my wife” — there was no wife in evidence — “‘There’s a boy who enjoys spacemen and robots.’”
The man wandered off, never to be seen again. Was he a ghost? An alien visitor? Evans’ future self?
Whatever his origins, he was right. Evans makes music — and visual arts, and a gleefully profane podcast — involving spacemen, robots, werewolves, the whole gamut of things that probably don’t exist but would make the world a cooler place if they did. Evans and his band the Bloody Oranges, featuring bassist Christopher Hart and guitarist Jon-Mark Pitts, unfold these songs and more Saturday at a Caffé Mela show to benefit pediatric cancer research.
“Even the more interesting parts of my life I don’t think are worth putting down into a song,” Evans says. “So why not sing about B-movie spacemen? And Mars running out of cats, so we send them? It’s a much funner song to write, and to listen to.”
Evans has made eight full-length CDs and several EPs of original music under his own name and the Bloody Oranges rubric, even when he was the sole member. (Hart and Pitts only joined within the last 18 months.) He recorded grand suites at home with computer software — multitracking, singing all harmonies and playing all instruments — but he could never replicate the effect live. His theatrical side demanded more fulfillment.
What: The Bloody Oranges, rock
Where: Caffé Mela, 17 N. Wenatchee Ave.
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Of note: All proceeds go to the Extra Life program for pediatric cancer research.
“Most of my songs on my albums are not all acoustic music — it’s not even close to being acoustic music. So I’ve gotta do acoustic versions of my songs. I want to do a full-on production. And I want to have robots on my stage.”
The Bloody Oranges
Tales From the Spacepod
Raised in Entiat and East Wenatchee in a musical and religious family — at age 8 he played drums on recordings by his mother, gospel singer Keta Evans — Ron would have graduated from Eastmont around 1994 had he not been kicked out for truancy. At the time, he was fleeing school to hang out in Seattle and play with a troubled rock band, which made some strides but eventually imploded. (Just as well, Evans says: “I would probably be dead. We were heading down a weird path.”)
Evans took a job 13 years ago with The Wenatchee World, where he’s still employed in graphic and online design. Music and art became sidelines, although he still produced both, as well as writing and directing several short films starring friends and co-workers. (This writer has appeared in two of them.)
In the last few years, though, Evans experienced a creative spurt. He recently pushed out the fifth issue of his dark comic book “Edgar Rue,” about a suicide who goes adventuring through the afterlife as a disembodied skull and spinal column. He produced a series of ornate panel drawings that he’s now shopping to Seattle galleries. Since 2005, he’s written and recorded more than 200 songs, most available through iTunes.
Part of his visual output stemmed from a paralyzed vocal cord he suffered around 2005. Unable to sing or even to effectively speak, he put most of his energy into drawing and writing. The paralysis, whose cause was never concretely identified, dissipated after six months.
“A weird thing happened though — I’m literally twice as good a singer as I was before,” Evans says.
Hart, then a Wenatchee World web designer, began playing music with Evans last year. He enlisted Evans to do a Bloody Oranges show in 2009 to benefit Extra Life, a program that raises money for pediatric cancer research through sponsored video game marathons. The Caffé Mela show on Saturday is their second such benefit concert.
“We raised something like $400 last year,” says Hart, 29. “I suspect we will do better this year.”
All the Bloody Oranges have ties to The Wenatchee World: Pitts’ wife Annette works in the company’s new media department. Beyond their music, the band also unites for the “Tales From the Spacepod” podcast, a free-ranging, Art Bell-inspired weekly webshow that dwells on the lewd possibilities of the paranormal. (Questions pondered include the ultimate fate of D.B. Cooper, and whether he was raped by a Sasquatch upon landing. It’s not for kids.)
Evans expects paranormal participants in the Saturday concert as well — he’s been building a robot to bring onstage. At one point, he had to rip out his dryer vent to give it arm sockets.
“I can’t promise it will move,” he says, “but it will be a robot.”
Jefferson Robbins: 664-7123