AN INTERVIEW WITH BLEACH PARTY
Bleach Party, an amped up Chicago-based band, recently released their album Endless Bender. Their rock n roll, go-all-the-way attitude creates a solid, hardcore sound that brings the best parts of classic rock to life in a whole new way. I talked with the band [Meg (guitar and vocals), Bart (guitar), Richard (bass and vocals), Kaylee (drums)] to get the down low on their latest album, talk about our love for Sleater-Kinney, and list reasons why we all wanna be like Jimmy Page.
How did you guys start your band?
Meg: Richard and I met at a show that our former bands played at together. We got to talking about other bands that we liked to listen, and I told him I used to be in a surf rock/pop band and really missed writing that style of music because it is natural to me. We decided to meet up and give writing a go! Bart had recorded a split for another band in the area and we recruited him on guitar. We went through a few drummers before Kaylee answered a Craigslist ad, which is funny because we had talked about asking her since the get-go but figured she would be too busy to join since at that time she was in a Chicago band called Rabble Rabble who were touring constantly. It was a hell of a coincidence that SHE was the one to answer our Craigslist ad. It was like fate. That’s when it started.
Why did you want to get into music?
Meg: I think my “A-HA! I want to do this!” moment was watching the MTV music awards in 1996 and seeing KISS perform “Rock and Roll All Nite.” It was the last act of the show and I went to bed feeling completely AMPED. I must have been 11. Rock n roll had burrowed itself into my heart from that moment forward.Then when I was 12, I got a fortune cookie that said “now is the time to try something new” and I remembered my mom had an old acoustic guitar in the crawl space. I taped that fortune on the back of that acoustic and learned how to play on that very guitar. I burned that guitar in a fire pit last summer, and now I’m wondering if maybe I should not have done that.
Richard: Music has always spoken to me since I was a child. One of the first toys I remember being infatuated with was a little toy trombone. I took piano lessons for years in elementary school. Eventually, I bought a guitar and started teaching myself using tablature. I connected with the guitar much more than piano and started taking lessons, going to guitar camps and playing in the guitar club in school. At the time, I was majorly into grunge and heavy rock, so that’s where a lot of my inspiration came from. I really wish I had kept up with piano, though. I regret not taking it seriously when I was younger.
What bands influence your sound the most?
Meg: I have never modeled my writing after another band in particular, and I find that very important in being able to find your own voice as a writer. I usually, if anything, would model writing after a SONG I’ve heard. Like I love this song, I like the way it makes me feel. I’ll try to recreate that “feeling” not necessarily that sound. And remember good tunes is good tunes whether it be KISS or disco. We are all very influenced by ZEPPELIN at this point as we have gone for 3 years in a row as a Zeppelin cover band for Halloween. Just learning those songs alone has improved us as players, as a band and definitely has influenced our style in some way. If you listen to the breakdown in “Single Summer” you can hear that we definitely took a “Page” out of Jimmy’s book.
Richard: Honestly, I think our influences are all over the place. We all have personal influences that really drives and shapes our sound. As mentioned, I grew up on hard rock, but as I grew older and went to college, my music tastes evolved. I started to get into hip hop, jazz and even some pop music. Bleach Party plays a Led Zeppelin cover set every Halloween, and after the first year we did it, you could hear some Zep creeping into our sound.
What’s an album you can’t live without?
Meg: Tom Petty’s Full Moon Fever. Just beautiful, perfect songwriting from start to finish.
Richard: That’s a tough question. So here’s my top five records of all time:
1) Fugazi - The Argument
2) Beastie Boys - Paul’s Boutique
3) Sleater-Kinney - Dig Me Out
4) The Beatles - Revolver
5) Fiona Apple - When The Pawn…
Any tracks/any part of Endless Bender that you’re especially excited about/proud of?
Meg: Probably “Thought I’d Seen A Ghost.” An old band of mine used to play this song but with a different arrangement, a little more watered-down and low-fi. I love how this new version turned out. I made sure to only show the band the old version after we had completed our version, so that was a fun surprise.
Richard: I’m proud of the entirety of the record and our approach to releasing it. We had the songs done and mastered for months but held back on putting it online. We were very proud of the record, and we really wanted to release it on vinyl. So, we were patient and started cold emailing a number of national and local Chicago record labels. Tall Pat were really positive about it, and they were super amazing at helping us get everything together. It took over a year and a half from the recording to the release, but it was totally worth it.
What band would you love to tour with if you had the chance?
Meg: The Midnight Creeps from Rhode Island. Not sure if they’re still actively touring though. Jenny Hurricane is one of the strongest front women I’ve ever seen, and that band sure knows how to party.
Richard: For me, personally, Sleater-Kinney, no doubt.
Why do you think music is important to 2017?
Meg: Music is the soundtrack of our lives
Richard: Music is art, creation, and escape, and it’s extremely important in today’s political and societal climate.
interview by ALEXANDRA PASQUARELLI
photo by AARON EHRINGER