Monarchs anonymous

Farewell to Sacramento’s Queens of York? (Wait, who are they, anyway?)

Say cheese! Eh, good enough.

Say cheese! Eh, good enough.


Catch the Queens of York at Alive & Kicking’s Rock for Tots, with the Lonely Kings and A Single Second, Friday, December 19, 9 p.m.; at Old Ironsides, 1901 10th Street; $5 with a toy, $10 without.

Queens of York is a rain cloud looming over a dirty London alleyway. They’re a heroin dream and a cobblestone road, a pint glass and a cigarette. And the metric system. OK, that’s a bit much, but Natasha Ogle’s vocals sure are overly affected and somber for an American girl. And it’s hard to consider the Queens of York an American band—or a Sacramento one. The guitar riff on their new track “Vampliar,” for instance, is so filled with momentum and rawness that it could be a lost sound bite from the Damned’s practice session.

So it’s surprising to sit down with Ogle, a shy-looking blond with angular, European features, and hear her speak in a perfectly American accent. “People comment on that occasionally. It just comes out of my mouth sometimes,” says Ogle, who grew up in front of ’80s MTV, raised on bands like Depeche Mode and the Cure, so the inflection makes some sense.

The Queens of York have been a band for more than a year now; the individual members have been in the area, and in other bands, for most of their lives. They cite Deftones, Will Haven and the Lonely Kings for giving them support, but it’s likely you’ve never heard of them. “We’ve been playing music around here for a really long time. We went to Sac High for crying out loud,” says Luke Pedersen, who feels like he’s been around long enough to see the scene’s vicious circle, from birth to death.

The members have even been around long enough to get banned from The Press Club. Some sort of drama happened several years back, which keeps the band from playing there. What actually occurred isn’t clear—and Pedersen isn’t exactly eager to talk about it—but he says that nobody got hit and nobody stole anything.

“We were really young, and now we’re being prevented from playing at this place. We don’t feel it’s necessary. We’ve tried to apologize to this person and make amends,” Ogle says. But a grudge is a grudge.

It’s all part of being in the same city for a long time. People fight, they get over it and then they leave. And, if the band follows through with their plan of moving to Los Angeles, Queens of York could be out of Sacramento as soon as the next few months. They just have to convince their bandmates, bassist Jeremy Costello and drummer Zak Wheaton (neither of which could make the interview), that going south is the right thing to do.

“We’re going to get them,” says Ogle. “And they’re the perfect bandmates. They’re so quiet.”

“They’re like Ringo and George,” jokes Pedersen.

Their album, Sympathy for the Violently Unloved, is due out in the near future with no set release date. It’s an ode to Sacramento and to the cycles of love and hate that it seems to breed.

“[The album title] speaks a lot of Sacramento,” explains Pedersen. “People fall violently in love with each other, then we all just break up and date.”

Life is fickle. People come and go. Infatuation turns to love, love turns to hate. People leave, and when they do, someone sits in a room, missing them impossibly. Broken hearts are the most interesting hearts. It’s all very British, you see.