Karen Jessica Evans Was Goth Girl, A Bay Area Icon

Jessica Evans a.k.a. Goth Girl

By Sara Liberte

December 12, 1955–February 13, 2018

Most of the V-twin-riding girls today will tell you they more than likely caught the Discovery Channel show Motorcycle Women and were inspired to straddle a motorcycle and take charge of their lives. One of my best friends was on that show and I got to stand by and watch her shine and graciously talk to everyone that approached her asking for an autograph or a photo, and she treated them all the same—nothing but respect. Her name is Jessica Evans, but you most likely know her as “Goth Girl.”

Most of our good times revolved around Morgan “Samantha” Storm and the American Motor Drome Wall of Death. Samantha was the best female wall trick rider, and if you were lucky enough to ever catch her ride the wall, you would have seen just how special she was, and always will be. Samantha passed away in 2008 and left a major hole in our hearts. At Sam’s memorial service I had the song “Somewhere over the Rainbow” stuck in my head. I confided in Goth about it; I actually thought I might be going crazy, but she assured me it was normal, just a coping mechanism. I accepted that, because I trusted her and respected her.

Jessica Evans a.k.a. Goth Girl

For those of you that didn’t know Goth Girl, she was a legend through and through. She lived life on her terms; she played hard, learned lessons and applied those lessons in her everyday life. I have yet, to this day, to find another human as loyal and solid as this woman. Her word was gold, and a handshake was all you needed to know just how trustworthy she was.

My friend wasn’t like anyone else… period. She was a graduate of Berklee College of Music, she rode a motorcycle, she stood up for the weak, she fought for what was right, and she did this all with the goal of making someone smile or laugh.

Goth was a warrior in so many ways. She let her heart lead her in everything she did. This was a woman that would never sell out; it had to be a legit operation, with a goal she was passionate about, or she just wasn’t on board. She was an esteemed piano player and was the house pianist for many years at One Market Plaza in San Francisco where she ran her business “Shine ’Em Up.” She loved to shine leather and no one could shine a pair of boots like these girls could.

Goth was also the co-founder of the infamous Devil Dolls MC. She developed “Goth Block,” a sunscreen with “SPF 666.” I could never go anywhere without my Goth Block. Jessica was hip to the damage the sun can do to your skin, and her porcelain white skin was flawless, her beauty was ageless, her style was classic and glamorous and her heart was genuine.

She loved animals and along with Samantha and me, we were determined to help animals however we could. We used to tell each other stories of how if we were superheroes we would swoop in and help the innocent, the children, the animals, we would fight to right a wrong; we would make a difference in someone’s life, human or animal.

When I learned of Goth’s passing, that song “Somewhere over the Rainbow” popped into my head again. They say when an animal passes away they go to the Rainbow Bridge. It makes perfect sense now why that song is in my head. Goth and Sammy are taking watch at the Rainbow Bridge to look after all the animals.

Ride in peace, my dear friend; thank you for sharing your beauty with us all. I’ll see you and Samantha soon, but not too soon. I still have our work here on earth to tend to. You guys got the bigger shift upstairs.

Karen Jessica Evans

Goth Girl

Musician
Born December 9, 1955
San Francisco, California
💀Died February 12, 2018 (aged 62)
San Francisco, CaliforniaFebruary 12, 2018 (aged 62)
🏳️ Nationality American
🎓 Alma mater Berklee School of Music, BA 1991
💼 Occupation
Motorcycle Women, Makaface, Devil Dolls

Karen Jessica Evans (Goth Girl) (December 9, 1955 – February 12, 2018) was a multi-talented personality who has appeared in numerous magazines, books, videos, movies and television as a model, pianist, entertainer and iconic female biker.

Early life

A child prodigy, Evans started exploring the piano at age four. She graduated from Fullerton Union High School in Fullerton, California in 1974[1]. Matriculating to the famed Berklee School of Music, she was a classically trained concert pianist, earning a degree in performing arts piano. While at Berklee, she was an under-study to the noted classic jazz pianist, Ray Santisi, a faculty member at Berklee who played with the iconic Charlie Parker, Stan Getz, Mel Torme and many others. She briefly worked with Bill Evans before becoming the house pianist for the Boston Marriott, later forming a jazz duo, Double Take, and continuing to perform at the Marriott.

Recording Artist

In 1983 Evans left Boston and traveled to Hollywood, California with her songwriting partner, Leslie Smith, to break into the recording industry. After organizing several bands, including Goldilocks, Two Tall Blondes and Makaface and playing numerous local clubs, including Whiskey A Go Go and Troubador, her band, Makaface, auditioned for A&M Records. A fixture in the evolving musical genres of synthpop, glamrock and goth, Evans was a contemporary with other female-led alternative rock bands, including Dale Bozzio of Missing Persons, Toni Basil, Cyndi Lauper and Gwen Stefani of No Doubt, exerting an influence on stage presence and cultural style in the world of 1980’s Hollywood pop culture.

Makaface was offered a recording contract with A&M Records, at the dawn of the new wave and synthpop era, releasing Sleeping Girls Don’t Lie[2], scoring underground club hits Normal for Norman[3], Little White Lies [4] and Bump in the Night. The album was recorded at the historic Eldorado Studios in Burbank with Supertramp producer Dave Jerden before the studios relocated to Sunset due to damage from the 1987 Northridge earthquake. Evans and Makaface later went on several national tours as an opening act.

Devil Dolls Motorcycle Club

Exhausted by grueling tour schedules, Evans returned to San Francisco in the early 1990’s, settling in Rincon Hill, renewing her lifelong interest in Harley-Davidson motorcycles and choppers and taking the stage name of Goth Girl. It wasn’t long before she discovered other independent-minded women, forming the first all-female outlaw motorcycle club in America in modern times, the Devil Dolls[5][6], on Valentine’s Day in 1999 in San Francisco, with co-founders T Rexxx, Calamity and Harley.[7][8][9][10][11][12] Once affiliated with Hell’s Angels, the Devil Dolls became the first female biker club to earn a full three-piece patch. The club started a successful merchandising arm with a line of clothing, Worship Your Devil Doll, soon growing an international presence with establishment of a chapter in Sweden. Evans remained as club president with the Devil Dolls until 2004 on tours and participating in annual runs to Sturgis and motorcycle events throughout the country. The club remains active twenty years later. After leaving Devil Dolls she toured frequently with the Wall of Death, a traveling motordrome roadshow, as the piano accompanist. Evans passed away on Valentine’s Day, the anniversary of the birth of this iconic and infamous one-percenter female motorcycle club.

Motorcycle Women

In 2002, Evans was contacted by Original Productions, seeking a lead actress for a documentary film about the world of female motorcyclists, to be broadcast by Discovery Channel. Janice Engel discovered Evans after reading about the formation of Devil Dolls Motorcycle Club by Evans, Theresa Foglio and two other women in San Francisco in 1999. Engel, Thom Beers and Original Productions were then commissioned to make the film. Evans was cast as the lead actress in Discovery Channel’s Motorcycle Women, exploring the resurgence of female biker culture, the phenomenon of alpha women and the empowerment of women. She joined five other women bikers, three from the East Coast and two from the West Coast on a cross-country road trip to San Francisco[13][14], produced, directed and written by Janice Engel. Motorcycle Women was broadcast on PBS. Evans received credit for composing the film’s soundtrack.[15][14]

The movie, in turn, led to television appearances on To Tell the Truth, MSNBC, 20/20, Evening Magazine, Travel Channel and Mary Anne’s Bikes. Evans also appeared in numerous magazines, including Cycle Source, Outlaw Biker, Easy Rider, In the Wind, The HORSE Backstreet Choppers, Thunder Press, Full Throttle and Scooter Goods. She also filmed an iconic commercial for V-Rod published in Conde Nast Travel in 2004.

In 2002 Evans appeared as Goth Girl in The Biker Code, published by Simon and Schuster.[16]. In the words of the publisher “The Biker Code captures the iconoclasts, free spirits, and born-to-ride outlaws of Planet Harley.” She was also the centerpiece in Chicks on Bikes, published in 2009 by Paper Wings.[17][18]. Other book appearances included One Percenter Encyclopedia[19] and Soul on Bikes[20]

Political and Environmental Activism

Karen Jessica Evans 2003

Evans had returned to San Francisco in the early 1990’s, seeking refuge from the hectic demands of Hollywood in piano gigs around San Francisco, including Biscuit and Blues, Sheraton Palace and One Market Plaza, while writing new classical compositions. Alongside the busy Devil Dolls and new touring schedules, she started a music school in her rapidly growing Rincon Hill neighborhood, From Bach to Broadway, which she operated through Thumbtack, training hundreds of students through the years.

Later in her life, Evans became involved as an environmental and political activist with her partner, Matthew Steen, fighting to preserve open space in Rincon Hill, against urban deforestation and contributing to political fundraisers for the Democratic Party in San Francisco.[21][22][23]. San Francisco held an official Memoriam for Jessica in February 2018, the Board of Supervisors suspending their regular meeting in her memory.[24]

References