We interviewed Jordan Blilie, half of the Blood Brothers' dual vocal attack, in a room with the couch, walls and table, all covered in cow spots.
I think the Blood Brothers were assigned to the wrong dressing room. It is difficult to associate cows with the Blood Brothers. As hard as I try, I cannot find a single bovine quality in these five guys from Seattle.
Cows are sluggish, lackadaisical creatures. The Blood Brothers play with an unsurpassed intensity on stage. Their live show is a loud, fast, chaotic frenzy of flailing bodies.
Cows make a deep, slow bellowing sound. The Blood Brothers' two frantic screams atop a sliding guitar, pounding bass and unpredictable drumming make a sound that is harsh, fast-paced and dissonant.
Cows are large animals. If someone tied the Blood Brothers' belts together, it wouldn't reach half way around a cow's leg.
Jordan: Its just something that Johnny had thought up, yeah, it crops up a few times. It's sort of like when he wrote the lyrics to that song ['Marooned on Piano Island'] it was sort of fantasy, just outlandish and fictional. Just something that was a little bit visceral just a kind of picture, I don't think there was much. That was back in high school. So, with 'Burn Piano Island, Burn' it was something like, the more and more shows you play and the longer that you've been a band, you sort of realize that you have an opportunity to reach a lot of people every night and if you don't know where you stand and you miss that opportunity ' so that's what we try to do with the new record just we've got a lot of ideas that we haven't expressed before. But we also wanted something that people who've listened to us for a long time would know.
SPB: Okay, kind of changing subjects here, what do you think of the current state of music with the underground and mainstream?
Jordan: You know, it's a little bit disconcerting and a little bit inspiring to see so many new bands from our background and so many of our peers getting all this recognition and coming out with record deals and be able to financially support themselves and such. I don't have any problem whatsoever with a band that wants to play music for a living and make live on touring and making records. It's a little bit strange, we were talking in the van the other day about in five years, what underground music is gonna be, because we think that there's gonna be a few bands that really changed every single band that's going to get signed to a major. But I think there's some very inspiring things coming out in underground music: Erase Errata, Chromatics, they're in a new band called Shoplifting, yeah there's tons of new bands.
SPB: More specifically how do you feel about Fifty Cent?
Jordan: He's fucking awesome dude! He got shot nine times! ...Fuck man.
SPB: Yeah, he's pretty hard.
Jordan: Yeah, he is, I mean he's, hard shit. like anyone who calls out Ja Rule and his bullshit. I think Ja Rule's a fucking turd.
SPB: Excellent! The internet, how has that affected you guys and your fan base?
Jordan: You know, its nice that kids can check out our records and you know have a friend burn them something. I would hope that they'd take the next step and buy the record. Because when I hear music, I always like to see artwork with my music and hold a nice slab of vinyl.
SPB: Segueing on that, your cover art on the newest album and all the other ones, who did that and how does that tie in to the music?
Jordan: On our past two records, Adultery and March On, Morgan did both of those. With March On, he wanted to take sort of all the ideas and make them into concrete images. With the new one we wanted to try something completely different than the style of artwork we had been trying before. So, Cody, Johnny, and our friend Yaeger designed all that. We wanted something really colorful, something that looked almost silk-screened.
Jordan: Our song writing process is kind of boiled down to a science almost; Cody and Morgan will have a riff or maybe a skeletal structure of a whole song. The three musicians in the band will get together and kind of work it out and exchange ideas while me and Johnny either go and work on lyrics or watch. Its pretty basic, we'll come in and make suggestions, maybe a part needs to be richer and we'll take like a rough cut of it and put whatever lyrics we find fitting to it. Johnny's really good at writing kind of hooky melodies to pretty chaotic parts, so it all works out.
SPB: Did you guys all teach yourselves to play or did you get lessons?
Jordan: No, we all taught ourselves. Mark was in marching band or something like that and I think that was pretty much it. Cody learned guitar a little from his brother. I think Morgan was the same way, he took a couple bass lessons but hated them.SPB: Did Mark being in a marching band have anything to do with 'March on Electric Children'?
Jordan: Nah. It would be cool if it did.
SPB: If you could choose any one of your songs to be in any movie, which movie would you choose?
Jordan: 'Beyond the Valley of The Dolls'' any part because it's all just spectacular, all ridiculous. And' probably, either that or 'Sleepaway Camp' right after Angela says, 'Meet me at the waterfront after the social.' It would play that song.
SPB: Its seems kind of obvious that you guys have some social themes going on in your lyrics...
Jordan: I'm glad that that seems obvious to you, because to a lot of people it doesn't.
SPB: What are some of the underlying themes in the lyrics?
Jordan: Basically just comodification as a whole and exploitation of sexuality. Turning something that has some kind of meaning to it and distorting it into some sort of dollar sign, a product. Just the idea of selling yourself, the idea of doing anything that gets you ahead in this sort of capitalism we live in right now. The idea of severing relationships and things that are worthwhile for personal gain.
SPB: I heard you guys recently played on a truck bed, was that the most metal show you've ever done?
Jordan: Yeah dude! It was the most Kid Rock show we've ever done. It was in El Paso and it was in at a drag race. And we showed up and the stage was like on a flatbed on a fuckin' truck. With lighting rigs and PA equipment on, and as we played there were drag races going on and fuckin' stunt bikes and shit! It was absolutely ridiculous; we thought we would come out injured.
SPB: What are you guys up to next after this tour?
Jordan: More touring. I think we tour pretty much all year round. We have two weeks at home in April that we're looking forward to. It was funny because it is almost like a vacation or something like that.
SPB: Okay, the last question is, we're doing this interview for a magazine called ScenePointBlank.com, the word 'scene', is that an adjective to you?
Jordan: No, I've heard 'scenester'?
SPB: No, just scene. It's like the new 'hip'
Jordan: Really? That kid's really scene? That's really stupid.
SPB: Thank you.
Jordan: Wait, what does that mean!? Does he have black hair? Does that mean he has a profile on Makeout Club?
SPB: Yeah, It's ridiculous.
Burn Piano Island, Burn out now on Artist Direct/Second Nature Records
Interview: Robby Morris with helpful interjections from John Collins and Zed Brecherman @ The Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, CA on 03.01.03
Photos by: Robby and Zed