Kinky Horse Sex

Let's get filial:The Blood Brothers mix sex and hardcore.

FOR THE BLOOD BROTHERS, it's not so much the drugs or the rock and roll, it's the sex—and not the squeaky-clean, oooh-baby-baby, vanilla-pop stuff. It's greasy, vivid, illicit, insatiably desperate sex: plastic surgery-disaster sex, zombie sex, art sex, chemical sex, mannequin sex, and horse sex . . . kinky horse sex.

Blood Brothers

Paradox Theater, Thursday, December 28

"It's sexual frustration and deviancy," says singer Jordan Blilie. "It's something everyone can relate to, and it lends itself to interesting lyrical images. Everyone's been that dorky, daydreaming, 13-year-old, junior-high kid."

But this isn't junior high, and beneath the out-there imagery—the man with the golden crotch, the swollen vagina in the sky, and even the lonely horse who, in a vain attempt to win Blilie's love, shaves off all his hair—lies a decidedly sophisticated intelligence, humor, and art. The Blood Brothers burrow through barriers, blurring revulsion with seduction and methodically dismantling what a hardcore punk band (you know, the tight-lipped, sexless, feedback-wielding, "shut the system down!"- screaming kind of band) is supposed to be.

For starters, hardcore bands are not supposed to be singing about horse sex. "I've had to defend myself when people say, 'Why is there no substance? Why don't you have a social conscience?'" says Blilie. "But our goal isn't to create political change. It's to give people something different from typical hardcore lyrics. There are only so many times you can hear a song about, like, scene unity before it no longer means anything. If it doesn't grab me emotionally on a deeper level, it's not going to have staying power."

The Blood Brothers know this from experience: Since before they were even in high school, Blilie, guitarist Cody Votolato, singer Johnny Whitney, drummer Mark Gajadhar, and bassist Morgan Henderson were submerged in the ferociously do-it-yourself Northwest hardcore-punk scene alongside local bands like the Death Wish Kids and Behead the Prophet No Lord Shall Live. But after the high-school juniors got together as the Blood Brothers in 1997 (with now ex-member Devin Welch), all the songs started to sound the same.

"You listen to one type of music for so long you want to branch out," says Votolato. "It's our roots and it still has a place in my heart, but none of us listen anymore to the type of music we play."

Instead, just as the Germs somehow turned Freddie Mercury and David Bowie into searing, self-destructive punk, the Blood Brothers distort and warp a diet of Leonard Cohen and PJ Harvey, of smooth '70s soul and easy-to-swallow '90s pop punk into blistering minimalist avant-hardcore. Their newest album, This Adultery Is Ripe, bristles with discordant shreds of post-punk guitar-strangling, spastic staccato rhythms, and Blilie and Whitney's counterpointed shrieks and screams. You can see the strands that connect them to such seminal (and comparably intense) hardcore bands as Born Against and Angel Hair. But instead of "War waged on the people/Government lies fueled by fear," it's "Sugar, I'd come over, but it's very hard to hump in front of your children/They're horrific."

Blilie and Whitney's lyrics are rife with supercharged, gleefully unwieldy metaphors, and they drip with sensuality, sexuality, and uncomfortably rich detail. It's an album of lovers who "keep coming back to get fucked on the operating table . . . keep coming back a different shade of nauseating," of the "swollen navels of pregnant sirens" and "slit-throat confessions licked by randy flames of persuasion." It's largely tongue-in-cheek, according to Blilie, but it reads a little tongue-in-something-else.

"It's an outsider's take on hardcore punk," Blilie says. "Political bands and lyrics are so uninteresting to the senses, but a lot of bands are afraid of doing something without that framework."

THE FIRST BLOOD BROTHERS recordings, two songs on a 1998 benefit for a women's self-defense organization called Home Alive, were just sexually anemic punk punk punk. "Politics isn't important to us as artists or entertainers, but we support it through benefits," Blilie says (their Thursday appearance at the Paradox is a benefit for PCC).

"We weren't serious about being in a band," recalls Votolato. "We just wanted to rock out." But the next single was a bit more evolved, and the cover—a svelte silent-screen vixen smiling over a picked-clean skeleton—pointed straight toward the skewed eroticism of This Adultery Is Ripe.

And so they moved on, "doing whatever we like and doing something other people aren't," says Votolato. The kids followed: Their punk punk punk crowds are now augmented with a legion of staid high-school guys and their mall-crawling girlfriends. The band have done several tours, once flying cross-country during the middle of finals to play down the East Coast. And they've won a reputation as a powerful—and sex-obsessed—band from the national punk press.

"We were in Minnesota and some kid said he thought we'd be a lot sleazier and more coked-up than we were—just all the extreme stereotypes of being in a punk band," Blilie says. "People are taken aback at how normal we look."

After this current tour, it's (fingers crossed) back into the studio to record another full-length, with 10 new songs written to flow seamlessly into one another. It's almost a hardcore punk opera, but Blilie prefers to call it an "opus."

"We're trying to stray a little bit away from the last album," he says. "We have a new concept. But how about we keep that a surprise?"

But the zombie sex? The chemical sex? The mannequin sex? Never fear, high-school guys and mall-crawl girls: They're all slated to appear on the new record, part of the Blood Brothers' unsettling m鮡ge ࠴rois between punk, art, and kinky horse orgies.

"That's our thing," Blilie says. "That's what we're good at."

 
comments powered by Disqus