Blameshift is a fast rising hard rock quartet originating from Long Island but they’ve spent so much time on the highways and interstates of these United States that you might as well say they’re from Anywhere, USA. The band, led by stunning vocalist Jenny Mann, has been doing things the old-fashioned way, criss-crossing America and playing their music on an indie level since 2005. Converting the masses seems to be paying off because the band has been getting major sponsorship attention, nice touring slots and tons of social media/YouTube action. With the help of a very devoted fanbase they released their last EP, “The Black Rose” through Kickstarter and they already have another new album ready to go which I’m sure you’ll be hearing about. Blameshift is capable of walking the fine line between wholly unique sonics and instantly accessible melodies and you need to check them out. They’ll be out on the road all summer including a major campground/Midwest Mardi Gras festival here in Illinois called ROCK’N THE VALLEY on July 13/14. We talked to band founder and guitarist Tim Barbour, read on….
Legendary Rock Interviews: Hey Tim….Are you on the bus right now?
Tim Harbour: Yeah, we are (laughs). Right now we are somewhere in the middle of Illinois.
LRI: Ahh, I will make no comment on the scenic beauty of my home state. I hear your bus is a pretty amazing vehicle though, tell me about it.
Tim: (laughs) Yeah, our bus is pretty special I suppose. We converted it a few years back to run on straight vegetable oil which, as an indie band, saves us a hell of a lot of money. We’re able to stay out on the road longer and put money into the band rather than into the gas tank so it’s pretty cool. We’ve probably put 130,000 miles on the bus since we released our last EP so it’s paying off as long as we take real good care of it. The odometer is at about 298,000 miles as we speak.
LRI: It’s like a fifth member of the band. How did you guys end up getting together? Were you all friends prior to starting BLAMESHIFT?
Tim: The band all came together from members of various bands out in New York, along the way we acquired a whole new rhythm section which literally happened a few days before we were set to get back out on the road again so we were really lucky. Nathan (Saake, drums) and Vince (Monticciolo, bass) were really thrown into the fire and just immediately went out on tour. They’ve worked out perfectly which has really helped us take off even more.
LRI: It’s not always easy to do EVERYTHING yourself out there on tour but your name does seem to be popping up with more and more regularity which is paramount. Does hooking up with the right band and right audience seem to be happening a lot this year?
Tim: Yeah, we’re pretty excited about how it’s been going. We were able to do some Vans Warped dates a while back and getting in front of fresh faces definitely helps the cause. Now we’re touring with a great band in 12 Stones and it’s shaping up to be our best year yet, we’re definitely expanding the fanbase because we’re playing L.A. and everywhere in between the coasts as often as we’re playing New York. It’s grown and grown and really I think that a lot of it is because, for the most part, we tend to concentrate on a lot of the out of the way towns. That’s really been our plan is to play a lot of those markets and then build our way into the cities. Like, I’m sure you know with Chicago, any big city like that has a lot going on on any given night so it can really be beneficial to play some of those other areas where people are really excited about seeing national bands and don’t get ten bands a day coming through town. It’s really helped us and helped lay the groundwork because then when we do play the bigger cities those people we’ve already connected with will drive in to see us.
LRI: The touring can be equal parts adventure and risk. How important have some of your sponsors been in keeping you guys happy and moving forward?
Tim: As an independent band, sponsorship is huge. We have great people and are very lucky because, as a band, the equipment we use is very good and very expensive. We have a great relationship with those companies we endorse and we rely on them a lot. They’ve given us a lot of love because they realize that everything we’re doing is being done independently so they’ve taken great care of us as far as stage gear and things like that. The companies and the fans that support us have really allowed us to even do what we do.
LRI: Your music video for “Ghost” is a great clip, a great track and really a good introduction to the band in general. Was that shot in New York?
Tim: It was, it was shot in Brooklyn. We basically took over a whole section of town under the Brooklyn Bridge which was cool because obviously we’re a New York band, it kind of added a hometown feel to the clip. It was a lot of fun.
LRI: Jenny is a really strong singer and I realize it’s 2012 where there seems to be more female-fronted rock bands than ever before. Still, are there unique challenges, drawbacks or at least, assumptions, people make?
Tim: For the most part, I think having a female fronted band has really helped and has really made things easier on a lot of levels. Once in a while promoters will pair us up with other local bands that seemingly have nothing in common with us other than the fact that they too have a female singer (laughs). They’ll have a “female fronted” night with all these different girl singers and it’s kind of….
Tim: Yeah, it’s kind of cheesy and it’s like, not only are there less female fronted bands, there’s even less that are really great.
LRI: There’s only so many Halestorms in this world.
Tim: Right, exactly, I mean a few of those bands are really great and even some of the local ones we can appreciate and try to help encourage and support and stuff but we’d much rather be playing in front of a rock crowd that’s not drawn by gender lines.
LRI: Are you selling the EP at gigs?
Tim: We are, we have had it available digitally but we’ve sold more physical product in the last year than ever before. It’s cool because we all grew up in those days where you’d unwrap it and have the art and be able to take it with you rather than just have it on your computer as a file. We have seen a lot of bands just selling the download cards and stuff but it’s kind of important to us to actually have something people can take home immediately after seeing us.
LRI: The show you have coming up ROCK’N THE VALLEY is a big 2 day camping, Mardi Gras atmosphere festival . Is it always fun to do outdoors shows like that where there are SO many bands and fans coming out?
Tim: We are all about that festival. We booked that before the 12 Stones tour and we kept it because it sounds like so much fun. We’re getting to play on the same bill as bands like SKID ROW and WARRANT which are bands I grew up on and we’re getting to play both days. You can’t get any better than that. We have fans that we know who are driving to that from Texas and St. Louis and they are gonna be meeting up with us. It’s always a totally different vibe at those outdoor festivals. As long as they have showers we’ll be okay (laughs).