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Shaun Palmer: The ultimate Lake Tahoe goof

The band is cramped inside a backyard tool shed. Stacks of bright yellow Marshall amplifiers line the back wall. An electric blue carpet and space heater cozies up the room.

Decked in red pants and a red western-style shirt and red boots, Shaun Palmer – legendary extreme athlete and South Lake Tahoe native – prepares for a jam session with his band, the Elkos, also dressed in similar attire.

Palmer pulls out a bottle of Crown Royal, tilts his head back, takes a slug and gargles before swallowing.



“Better than Listerine,” he says before passing it around the room.

Hardly recognizable from previous pictures, Palmer now sports a close cropped hair cut and a long beard that makes him look more like a member of a bluegrass outfit than a hardcore, heavy metal band.




The band begins to play. Billed as redneck metal, Elkos’ music is influenced by Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Alien Ant Farm, Raging Slab – and includes a sarcastic touch of country twang. It booms in the tiny space. The riffs grind and crunch, moving like a well-lubed four-wheel-drive vehicle, tearing through the bush, fire shooting from the exhaust.

Palmer’s vocals are a guttural growl, scraping like gears grinding and spitting sparks – a mosh pit symphony.

The Elkos are slated for their first official gig Friday at the Elks Club, but the similarity between the name and the venue prove to be coincidence. The name comes from the town in Nevada, a place of desolation. As to how the name came about Palmer offers: “Go there and you’ll know.”

Palmer, Jason Butterfield (bass), Robey O’Day (guitar), and Elijah Lucero (drums) take a break after a four song set to relax in Palmer’s south “Y” home. On the marble fireplace mantle hangs a custom bicycle with a Cadillac-shaped body, car steering wheel, adjustable seat, cigarette lighter and car-style automatic shifter to change the three gears.

Stacks of snowboards are lined up in a bedroom and the Elkos kick back on an L-shaped leather coach in the living room.

“I just want to play in front of a bunch of people who are into it,” Palmer said. “I don’t care about money or nothing.”

But why should he? Palmer, 32, has owned his own snowboarding company, Palmer Snowboards, since 1995; he has been a professional athlete for the last 15 years and a Sony Playstation snowboarding game featuring Palmer will be available for Christmas 2001. (The Elkos plan to help out with the sound track.)

But like most things Palmer does, he plans on going big and the Elkos are no exception. In their future is a trip to Los Angles to record a two-song demo, which they plan to shop to major label record companies.

So why is extreme sports most accomplished athlete singing in a band? After all he has claimed national status in several disciplines including snowboarding, skiing, motor-cross, mountain biking, and snowmobiling.

“It’s all for kicks,” he said. “Anything I ever do is for kicks.”

The Elkos plan to take their show on the road in Palmer’s custom tour bus, which is silver and painted with red flames. Right now the bus – which has a master suite with a queen size bed – is being fitted with custom marble tiles. The band will play Aspen, Colo. and Salt Lake City, Utah. before playing at the Winter X-Games at Mount Snow, Vt., Feb. 1 through 4, where Palmer will compete in Snowboarding and Snowmobiling.

Break Out Box:

What: Elkos, Lavish Green and Devil Heads

Where: Elks Club, 1635 Elks Club Dr.

When: Friday, Doors open at 7 p.m.

Cost: $5

All Ages and the Bar will be open


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