The Blood Brothers revive punk

By Michael Petitti
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, February 17, 2005

Punk is a tenuous musical genre whose heyday is long passed.

For those who once idolized the genre ruled by bands like The Clash and Black Flag, this has become a sad fact of life.

For those who think it doesn't get more punk than the dudes in Ashlee Simpson's band, they never got it.

For the rest, it's a mixed bag that generates equal parts pity and relief.

Enter The Blood Brothers, a band from Seattle's muddy banks that have been making a compelling case for punk's resurgence for some time. Formed in 1997, the band has been putting out its own brand of intelligent and razor sharp post-punk music since then. Guitarist Cody Votolato could not label their music recently in a phone interview.

"We're definitely the type of band that doesn't try to limit what we do," Votolato said. "If we feel like writing a slow song, we'll write a slow song or if we feel like writing a really obnoxious song, then that will happen as well. We're chaotic, but also melodic."

The band is currently on tour to promote their recent release Crimes. The album features a collection of apocalyptic and political thrashers. Through surreal and poetic lyrics, the band rails against everything from politics to the media.

"I think they (principle songwriters Jordan Blilie and Johnny Whitney) write about what they see and what they think about the media and the country and the presidency," Votolato said.

The band's sound expands with each release, including additional and strange (for the genre) instrumentation. This kind of constant change allows the band plenty of freedom and room for invention.

"There's no set structure to the way we do it (write a song), which is freeing for us because it keeps things fresh," Votolato said. "With each passing year, we have other influences and notice other recordings we like and other things we want to try."

For Crimes, the band found inspiration from unlikely sources, which lend to the album's strange and wondrous sound.

"A lot of the influences came from soul and (Captain) Beefheart and jazz," Votolato said. "A lot of influences came from everywhere."

As far as finding themselves like many of their underground counterparts on MTV, only time will tell.

"It seems like everything is a marketing tool now," Votolato said. "I'm excited to see what kind of subversion will come out of it."

The band is set to play the Coachella Music Festival in May and relish the

opportunity to see some of their favorites.

"I'm kind of looking forward to seeing Wilco," Votolato said. "Also, New Order and Nine Inch Nails and Bright Eyes."

The band doesn't have any plans for slowing down. They'll be touring for nearly half the year and may find some time to hit the studio during or after that.

The Blood Brothers play today at 6:30 p.m. at Club Congress, 311 E. Congress St. The Chinese Stars and The Mean Reds open the show; tickets are $10.