YOLO COUNTY NEWS
Matt Adams, right, started The Blank Tapes on his own, but now tours with Pear Charles, center, DA Humphrey. Courtesy photo

Arts

The Blank Tapes return to Davis

By From page A9 | August 06, 2013

The Southern California trio The Blank Tapes is bringing its ‘60s style psychedelic rock ‘n’ roll with a beach-party vibe all the way to Northern California.

Fans of early Beatles, The Kinks and The Velvet Underground will dig the band’s groovy sound. The Blank Tapes, along with pals Mystic Braves and Hindu Pirates, will perform at 9 p.m. Friday at Sophia’s Thai Kitchen, 129 E St. in Davis. This 21-and-over show is $5 at the door.

Front man Matt Adams has been recording and performing as The Blank Tapes for 10 years. Until recently, Adams played the majority of instruments himself in a series of home recordings. Now he’s joined by his girlfriend Pear Charles on drums and DA Humphrey on bass. The band just released “Vacation,” which is available at www.theblanktapes.com. This bright and sunny collection of catchy tunes is the perfect summer soundtrack.

Adams, who mixes songs at his home in Los Angeles, is ready to take his act on the road.

“We got back from a tour a couple of weeks ago and we go on the road again in a week,” Adams said. “For years I’ve done the solo, solitary hermit type of recording, where I hang out in a garage all day, which is cool.”

While he enjoys the work, it’s not always easy adjusting.

“It’s like working on a painting or drawing, where you just dork out by yourself,” he said. “But I’ve done it for so long. I found that I like working with someone else. I’m into collaborating to see what other people bring to the potluck. Now it’s merged into one thing; I record with my band and perform with them.”

Before this newest release, Adams worked on a “weird psychedelic album” that is due out soon. During the process he “abandoned” the project, then “resurrected it.” 

“I have a bad habit of starting new projects and not finishing them,” he admitted. “I have a back catalogue of three or four albums’ worth of stuff. It’s not a bad thing, I just have this gigantic to-do list in front of me that’s overwhelming. I hope to finish it in my lifetime.”

One stand-out track on the album is “Earring,” in which Adams gleefully sings, “There’s a ringing in my ears.” It turns out that playing in a rock band for years leads to tinnitus.

“I do have ringing in my ears,” he said. “It’s kind of debilitating. You have to do your best to pretend it doesn’t exist. I fill my life with noise and sound and play music so I’m not listening to it.

“And now I have really good ear plugs,” he added.

The comic cover art for “Vacation” — which was drawn by Adams — expertly captures the music within. It features a caricature of Adams lounging on the sand with a cresting wave above him.

“I’m stoked on how the album art turned out,” he said.

Adams worked for the legendary Mad magazine for three years before The Blank Tapes became a full-time gig.

“I was an assistant to a cartoonist,” he said. “I did a lot of background stuff. I sometimes even drew The Blank Tapes and myself in the background.”

His career could have taken a very different path.

“Before music, art was my thing,” he said. “In high school I got interested in rock ‘n’ roll, but before that it was art. I basically spent my entire school life drawing on every paper. I went to art school for a couple of years and have continued doing art since. Lately it’s been posters and album art. It’s cool that I can merge the two.

“I have a hard time doing it all,” he said. “I focus way more time on music. But I do have interest in doing a comic book or comic strip. I have a bunch of characters and ideas.”

He continued, “Art is something that I love. It’s its own type of meditative creativity.”

Adams looks forward to returning to Davis.

“We’ve played Sophia’s four or five times,” he said. “We’ve played at Delta of Venus a lot. We’ve played half a dozen shows in Sacramento and a few house shows.

“I usually have good times in Davis,” he said. “I have good memories there.”

Landon Christensen

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