Black on Black plays CD release show tonight
Local punk rockers Black on Black are celebrating the release of their new EP, "Help Yourself," by playing with Dirty Ghosts and Major Games at the Bottleneck tonight. I talked with member Wade Kelly, who told me his songs are like paper airplanes. "I make them, throw them off of something high, watch them fly, but when they land, I don't really want to go pick them back up," he said. "I just want to make another one." Read more from my interview with Wade below.
The release show is all ages, begins at 8 tonight, and costs $5. Look out for another 6-song EP from Black on Black, which consists of fellow members Aaron and John, in January (it will also be free to download and stream, and $3 at shows).
On playing music as an outlet: "This band is really just a pressure release valve for my life. My level of anxiety and frustration and agitation is like at an all-time high right now and I need something medicinal that isn't going to end up sending me to jail. Playing different kinds of music does different things for me. My other bands are variations on pop, and although there is a certain level of creative release that comes from making and playing that music, there are some itches that pop music can't scratch. Sometimes you need a massage and sometimes you need a punching bag. Black on Black is the latter."
On the formation of the band: "My brother John and I started the band last spring as a two-piece with no real goals, except maybe to just sweat a lot. We just wanted to play the music we grew up listening to and feel unashamed in doing so. When we decided to add a third member, we originally were just going to let any bassist play with us that wanted to and we would just have a bunch of bass players that rotated. Sometimes we would be a two-piece, sometimes a three-piece. We scrapped that plan as being pretentious pretty quickly. Aaron is such a great match for these songs that we decided to just hog him all for ourselves. He also shares the same cross section of musical influences."
On the songs: "So far I have written all the songs, but one or two that Aaron has written, and I write all the lyrics, which I promptly forget and make up on the fly when we play live. I think we will start doing more songs written by the other guys since they are great songwriters."
On the name ‘Black on Black’: "The band name is just an expression of our aesthetic. It was the first thing we thought of. It's not about race crimes or fashion... unless you want it to be."
On their new single, "No Good So Far," and its message about Lawrence: "The first lyrics in 'No Good So Far' say, 'This town is made of wool I just pull over my eyes, I can't seem to find a way to take it sober' and the chorus is 'LFK I love and hate you, no good so far, so good so far.' I think that pretty much explains it. Sometimes I love this town and sometimes I absolutely hate it. The song is a shoutout and a middle finger to Lawrence. That's just how I feel."
Being a music fan versus a musician in Lawrence: "The reality is that being a music lover in this town and being a musician in this town are two vastly different things. For people like me that are both mostly unsuccessful musicians and also rabid music-lovers, it is a really frustrating place to live. It's like living your life with the carrot dangling in front of your face. The thing is, I'm not asking for anything to change; I'm just telling my story. Music scenes should be Darwinian for sure. If I'm writing songs that nobody likes, I should pay the price. I totally agree with that, but it doesn't change how it feels. It's discouraging. But I'm finally at the point in my life that I'm comfortable in my skin and I'm able to admit that I'll never be part of that upper echelon of regional musicians."
On not charging for music: "I had someone ask me why we aren't charging for our albums and I just say, 'Would you rather have $100 or 100 fans?' I always choose the fans... and I hope the record makes them want to come see us play. We've been getting a lot of good feedback about these songs and the record so I think we've stumbled onto something decent. We'll see. Here today, gone tomorrow around here."