January 2, 2015

20 years of Blenderhead

I have said and written over and over again that 1995 is my favorite year in the history of music. I don't see that ever changing, because it is an ingrained part of my youth. If you aren't in my age range (38 as I write this), you probably won't understand. I write a lot more about 1995 here.

One band I loved in 1995 was Blenderhead. I have been thinking about them a lot lately because their lead singer/songwriter/bass player Bill(y) Power has a new podcast, and I follow him on Twitter.

In the first episode of his podcast (called Urban Achiever) he interviews Ethan Luck, who has played in dozens of bands including The Supertones, Project 86, The Dingees, Demon Hunter, Relient K, and most currently has been releasing solo acoustic folk songs. I learned a ton from the podcast, including that Ethan Luck is the cousin of Matt Wignall (photographer and Havalina Rail Co. band-leader). I am really looking forward to his next podcast with guest Mark Salomon.

I loved Blenderhead because they were the first "angry" band I ever listened to. But despite the angst, they spoke truth, and it filled a huge void in my music collection. I can remember specifically that whenever I had people ride with me in my car in 1994 and 1995, I would want to play Blenderhead. They weren't my favorite band, but I knew they would get a good reaction as they were so radically different than most of what I, or anyone I knew, listened to. Usually it was a negative reaction, because many of my friends were stiff and preppy and couldn't believe I listened to underground punk. I always included one of their songs when I mad mix tapes.

2015 is the 20th Anniversary of my favorite Blenderhead album, Muchacho Vivo. It is actually the least angry of the three Blenderhead albums; it is much more melodic and more similar to my favorite bands of the time. I saw Blenderhead on tour with MxPx in 1995 in Chattanooga, TN. I have written about that experience on this blog before, and would give anything to have photos or video of the experience (Power is intending to publish his journal from this tour soon, which I can't wait to read). This video of Blenderhead is from Cornerstone 1995 is the best I can do, and it is awesome. I have it starting with the song "Power Trip", which is my favorite song on Blenderhead's first album, Prime Candidate for Burnout.



(If you look in the background you can see tons of other Tooth & Nail musicians watching and singing along including Mike Herrera of MxPx and Tim Mann of Focused.)

Last night I found two great, informative, recent interviews with Bill Power that gave me a lot of insight to his background, all the bands he has been in, how he started Blenderhead, and what he has been up to since. Power and I have lived in lot of the same places, yet never at the same time (most notably Germany, where I am now and he served in the military in the late 80's; and Nashville).

I recommend reading both interviews in full if you ever listened to Blenderhead or any bands on Tooth & Nail. The first one is from the blog Welcome to Flavor Country in 2011. The second interview, from Indie Vision Music in  January of 2014, is the really informative one and goes into incredible detail. It outlines all the bands Power has ever been in, which is way more than I had been aware of.

I'll end with this: for years I had no idea where Blenderhead's name came from. I still don't have any official information, but I have to think it is based on the Bad Religion song of the same name. What is so interesting about the early 90's for me is that Blenderhead (and other bands) actually introduced me to the bands that influenced them: Fugazi, Jawbox, etc.

Reactions: