Vermillion Lies: Some fun facts about this twisted folk band from Oakland, fronted by the vaudevillian Vermillion twin sisters, Zoe and Kim: "We are not identical and we were born two days apart - Jan. 18 and 20," they say. "Kim was born with an amplified typewriter in her hands and Zoe with a kazoo in her mouth. We pay our mother's therapy bills." Vermillion Lies' first gig was on their mother's birthday. They rented a small theater and transported the entire contents of their living room onto the stage. "Kim was so nervous that she couldn't talk for 10 days before the show. After the show, she wouldn't stop talking for just as long. Zoe only gets nervous about Sherpas." At a recent Vermillion Lies gig at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, they played to a crowd of 700 drunks for Russian New Year. They got the gig because the booker did an online search for Russian entertainment and found Vermillion Lies, which was touring Russia at the time. "We went to Lenin's house and we played a Cyrillic typewriter. Russians love Vermillion Lies. We also do well with the Portuguese."
Lineup: Zoe and Kim Vermillion (Bockbinder) are real-life sisters who fight only onstage. They are sometimes joined by Myles Boisen (guitar) and Seth Ford-Young (bass).
1. Vermillion Lies' music should be filed between:
Kim: If Tom Waits and Jim Henson and Billie Holiday and Tiny Tim and a house cat and a barbecue grill were put in a blender ... that would be really gross. But I like the music that all those people (and things) make.
Zoe: We sound a bit like an Edith Piaf/Tom Waits/Billie Holiday/Jim Henson smoothie garnished with junk shop treasures.
2. The soundtrack to what movie would your music best match?
Kim: An ephemeral film about carpet manufacturing in the 1930s - with dancers.
Zoe: The next Muppet movie. Or the YouTube series, "Who Wants to Be a Vermillionaire?"
3. If you could collaborate on a song with any person, living or dead, who would that be?
Kim: Nikola Tesla could probably make some really great instruments if we asked him really nicely and promised to give him millions of dollars to fund his experiments in blowing up Siberian wilderness. None of his biographies mention his singing voice, but everyone can play kazoo.
Zoe: Your mom could probably make some really great instruments if we asked her really nicely and promised to give her millions of dollars to fund her experiments in blowing up Siberian wilderness. And she sings at least as well as Serbian Super Genius. And, no Kim, not everyone can play kazoo. (Kim wrote both of the above answers and Zoe would really like to collaborate with Blind Lemon Jefferson).
4. If a junior high school asked you to play a cover song at the next talent show, what song and school would you choose?
We were both homeschooled as we traveled around the continent with our wandering parents. Our entire upbringing was basically a talent show. If our parents asked us to do a cover song, Kim would play "The Cat Came Back" by Fred Penner; Zoe would play "Big Rock Candy Mountain" by Harry McClintock.
5. What is the meaning of life?
Unlike live foods and frozen fare, which are limited to prey that is small enough to be swallowed whole, the food that is used for hand feeding can be cut into convenient, bite-size pieces. Therefore, just about any type of fresh or frozen seafood that can be obtained at an aquarium shop, pet store, grocery store, fish market or bait shop can be used for hand feeding, which makes it much easier to provide a healthy diet for your sea horses.
Check them out: www.vermillionlies.com, myspace.com/vermillionlies
Next gig: 8 p.m. Sun. Part of the 2nd Annual Sunday Gorey Sunday Edwardian Variety Night. With Vau de Vire Society, Eric McFadden Orchestra, Fou Fou Ha, Allison Lovejoy, Dark Garden, Vima Burlesque, others. $18-$42.95. Ages 6+. Great American Music Hall, 859 O'Farrell St., S.F. (415) 885-0750. www.musichallsf.com.
Watch Vermillion Lies in action in a video by Chronicle staff writer Delfin Vigil and Art Director Matt Petty at sfgate.com/96hours.
To be featured in Bay Area Bandwidth, you must have a confirmed gig coming up and a recording that readers can buy, download or listen to via a Web link. Then e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org with: band or artist name, gig info, Web site and/or MySpace link, a one-paragraph bio that includes your lineup, city location, description of your sound and a link to your two best songs. Do not e-mail music files or other attachments.
- Delfin Vigil, email@example.com
This article appeared on page G - 5 of the San Francisco Chronicle