There might seem to be pressure on any group originating in Seattle to live up to that city’s legendary grunge and rock image. But guitarist Cody Votolato of the punk band Blood Brothers doesn’t worry about image.
“We don’t really think about that kind of stuff when we’re writing and creating our art,” Votolato said. “We don’t really consider ourselves a Seattle band. To us it’s just where we live. People in Seattle don’t put as much importance on stuff from Seattle as most people outside of it do. When we were kids, there was always a thriving music community, but it’s less a big deal to people in Seattle.”
The Blood Brothers, one of the most in-demand hardcore indie bands in the country, headline a show Sunday, May 8, with Dance Disaster Movement and Big Business starting at 6 p.m. Admission is $10.
“Crimes,” the Blood Brothers’ latest album, took about three months to put together, Votolato said, but it contained the best of the group’s recent writing efforts. “We wrote a whole bunch of songs and weeded out the ones we didn’t feel were as strong ... It’s the first time we had written songs that we didn’t record. Prior to that we had written songs and they all went on the record. We’ve gotten more interested in writing songs and getting into writing instead of having a whole bunch of parts and throwing it together.”
The sound is a far cry from the grunge that Seattle became famous for thanks to groups like Nirvana, Alice in Chains and Pearl Jam.
“We weren’t really into the grunge scene,” Votolato said. “We all listened to Nirvana when we were really young, and Nirvana is the only band that is really important as far as a grunge band. The others are ****, but we weren’t into that when we were playing music. We listened to weird punk bands and heavy rock. These bands are not as famous as the grunge bands, but I think they are a helluva lot better. A lot of those popular bands were huge, but they were awful, dirt, terrible.”
Sounds of the Bad Seeds, Nick Cave and others “found their way into what we were doing,” he said.
The Blood Brothers formed eight years ago, when Votolato, the youngest in the band, was 14, with Jordan Blilie and Johnny Whitney on vocals and Mark Gajadhar on drums. Bassist Morgan Henderson joined the band later. “We were all friends when we were kids. You kind of forget sometimes that you’ve known these guys the last 10 years and have been making music with the same people,” he said. “It becomes so normal and it’s like we’ve really been through a ******* lot. It’s cool hearing about a band being together 10 years and then I realize, hell, we have. Everything we have is everything we’ve worked for. We’ve definitely had help from people, but it hasn’t been like this is the new cool band that formed next.”
The group has filmed a video for the track “Love Rhymes,” but commercial airplay isn’t one of Votolato’s concerns. “The label [V2] is pushing, but not really, really hard to get our music out there … We don’t see ourselves as a big band, really. We still have the same mentality that we had when we were on an independent label. Nothing changed ideal-wise.”