CP 208's Tripp Wallin on why he performs in drag
CP 208 closed out the night at Roostercat Coffee House for the Westword Music Showcase. Most of the crowd had filed out following Echo Beds' set. Their loss. The four-piece took to the stage and sprawled out a herky- jerky, noise-jazz, No Wave-esque post-punk. Its sounds are used like a calligrapher's brush with a strong, dense sections of sound and thinning, sometimes abruptly, in tone while employing unconventional melodies and inventive rhythms. Fronting the band was William Wallin III, known to most as Tripp or even Tripp Nasty, his solo-performance moniker. His vocal style for this project is reminiscent of the nearly atonal poetry of Witch Doctor's Justin Kinnett -- fitting, as guitarist Doug Mioducki was in that band. But it is Wallin who leans into the crowd with his blond wig, see-through blouse and large-lensed sunglasses, like something Kim Gordon would wear.
Tom Murphy Tripp Wallin of CP 208 at Roostercat Coffee House
Wallin's gender transgression is part of the inherent challenge of the music, uncompromising in its conception and execution, yet too original and accessible to dismiss. After the set, we sat down with Wallin to discuss this most fashion-conscious phase of his career as a performer.
Those steeped enough in the underground scene going back a decade got to see Wallin perform in the noise-punk band Dream Wig, playing modern classical compositions (some his own) with the Tripp Nasty Orchestra, creating a hybrid of Turkish, Indian and Western music with Bongo Fury and as a confrontational performance artist up and down the front range. But it wasn't until July 2013 that Wallin got the confidence in his dressing as a woman for a secret performance at Carioca Cafe, where he told everyone in attendance the he was his own sister coming into town.
"I did take a Women's Studies class at the University of Arizona, and we had to do something that broke gender boundaries for ourselves," reveals Wallin about his earliest forays into drag. "So I shaved my arms, legs and chest and got my friend Becky, who's about the same size, to dress me up."
Over the course of this last year, Wallin has benefited from his friendship with bandmate Tiana Bernard, formerly of noise-rock phenoms Hot White, and Kayla von Haubenschild for ideas on honing his look.