Arts & Entertainment

Press Pass: The Blakes

The Blakes have not had it easy.

Unlike some artists who have hit it big with singles recorded in their apartment, or their parents’ basement, the Seattle-based band — by way of Los Angeles and a year spent entirely on the road without a home — has suffered for its art. But with those experiences, and some lessons learned, the trio of Snow and Garnet Keim and Bob Husak have put themselves on a path to success, earning some rather well-known fans along the way. 936presspass

The Blakes have not had it easy.

Unlike some artists who have hit it big with singles recorded in their apartment, or their parents’ basement, the Seattle-based band — by way of Los Angeles and a year spent entirely on the road without a home — has suffered for its art. But with those experiences, and some lessons learned, the trio of Snow and Garnet Keim and Bob Husak have put themselves on a path to success, earning some rather well-known fans along the way.

936presspass

The Blakes (Photo: Courtesy Christen Thomas/ Daffodil Publicity)

Two words define this group: resourceful and rock-and-roll. (Yes, rock-and-roll is one word because true rock and roll cannot be contained by the limitations of grammar.) The first characterization is evident in the band’s time spent living in Los Angeles.

“When we went down to L.A., we didn’t have much money between the three of us and there was a deal where you could do an extended stay at the Days Inn without a first and last payment deposit, so it was just 800 bucks a month. There was no contract or lease and we didn’t know when we’d be leaving, so it made sense for us and we couldn’t afford anything else,” Snow remembers.

The three of them spent a year there, picking up shows when they could, but none of them could hold down a steady job, so they found another means of making money.

“We would do studio audience shows like ‘Will and Grace’ to get by,” he says. Finally, with some accumulated funds, Garnet moved out and Snow and Husak split a year later. Just in time if you ask Snow. “The only place you could get any privacy was in the bathroom in a four-by-four area. L.A. was nothing but obstacles for us.”

Looking back on the time, Snow says he would have done “everything” differently, but he also acknowledges that the band grew a lot over that period, particularly musically, as their sound was heavily influenced by the early shows they played.

“When you play bars and those kinds of places, you just want to make music that people want to dance to and have a good time to. So, that really started affecting how we played our sets. We started improvising a lot and we really started becoming a live band, which made our records sound very live and energetic and somewhat chaotic,” Snow says.

With Seattle station KEXP championing the band, The Blakes began to receive national exposure. With Spin comparing them to the Kinks and the Stooges, the trio began to make a mark with their loose, live-show-friendly sound that’s also rather reminiscent of The Who. They’ve tempered some of that sound on their latest LP, Souvenir, from which the song “Basket” would appeal to fans of both Smashing Pumpkins and Silversun Pickups alike.

“We’re slowing down and mellowing a little and maybe trying to stretch ourselves a bit,” says Snow, who adds that he’d like to work more vocal harmonies into the band’s future music as well.

And color Iggy Pop a fan, too. The former frontman of the The Stooges is quoted on The Blakes’ MySpace page thusly: “Who is this? This s— is good!”

With an endorsement like that, you’d be foolish to turn down an opportunity to check out the Blakes when they storm into The Red & The Black Bar in D.C. on Nov. 8. Tickets are $8 and doors open at 9 p.m.

• For more on The Blakes, visit www.myspace.com/theblakes.