BLOOD OF THE SUN – “We Decided To Do The Crotch This Time”

November 6, 2018, 10 months ago

Aaron Small

feature hard rock blood of the sun

BLOOD OF THE SUN – “We Decided To Do The Crotch This Time”

“With the new guys in the band, everybody was up for doing it and the songs came real easy. It was a natural thing, like Led Zeppelin I, just blow and go; try not to overproduce it or overdo it. There was so much energy,” exclaims Blood Of The Sun drummer Henry Vasquez, talking about his band’s new album Blood’s Thicker Than Love.

Available via Listenable Records, Blood’s Thicker Than Love is the fifth album from Blood Of The Sun, and the first since 2012’s Burning On The Wings Of Desire. “We had other guys in the band for years… getting to be a little bit older, it’s hard to get people to commit to doing stuff you were doing in your 20s and 30s,” continues Vasquez. “People ask, ‘why do you change lineups?’ It’s not a matter of us changing lineups, it’s a matter of us telling some 40 or 50-year old guy, you’re going to have to go out and do this and this. They’re like, ‘Well I’ve got a family, I’ve got a job.’ It just didn’t always work out right. We’ve always been on the bad luck side of it. But it’s kind of cool because we’ve been fortunate enough to have some pretty heavy hitters on the records before like Mark Zamarron from Las Cruces, and Derek St. Holmes from Ted Nugent, the guys from Point Blank, Wino and Tony Reed from Mos Generator.”

“We’ve had the same lineup for quite some time now, we just jumped ship with the guitar players. Sean (Vargas, vocals) has actually been in the band for two or three years, but we haven’t had the guitar players to come forward with it. It’s not that the guys couldn’t do it, it’s just that everybody had their hands in too many pies; me included, being in Saint Vitus, and doing the Spirit Caravan and The Skull tours. Blood Of The Sun never had its fair shake. So, I saw a window of opportunity and I took it… I guess we shit out a record. That’s what it boils down to, to be quite honest with you.”

The cohesiveness heard on Blood’s Thicker Than Love lends no credence to the fact that guitarists Wyatt Burton and Alex Johnson are brand new to the fold. “Well, Wyatt and Alex are in a band called Steel Bearing Hand – they’re heavy! But, those two dudes are serious players,” confirms Henry. “They came in full blown, ready to kick ass and make a record; ready to do everything we had been working on for a while, but never got around to doing. Those dudes steeping in; the rest of us were all ready. Once they came in, we already had a couple ideas, then they brought theirs, it was like, boom! And Gryder, the keyboard player, he’s just a monster. It doesn’t matter what you throw at him, he’s ready for it.”

That’s where a lot of the Deep Purple sound comes from – Dave Gryder on keyboards. “Absolutely! Bands just don’t do that anymore, and if they do, they barely touch upon it. But Dave is a super weapon! I don’t think anybody has that kind of keyboard player, he’s something else! And the other guys really dig it. A lot of guitar players out there are like, ‘it’s too old man, it’s too Dad rock.’ With this record, we tried to bring Grand Funk or Deep Purple, but these other guys brought a little bit of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal; that era of ‘70s rock going into heavy metal like Riot and Saxon. The relentless guitars added in with what we already do, is heavy ‘70s rock. That’s what we set out to do in the beginning, and that’s where that Lemmy song came from. We were trying to do something like that for this album, instead of writing the same record over and over again. I’m really happy with the way it came out.”

“Keep The Lemmys Comin’” is such a great way to start the album! Anybody who knows anything about Lemmy Kilmister of Motörhead knew his drink of choice was Jack and Coke, and when he passed (at age 70 in 2015), people were ordering Lemmys in tribute, as a sign of respect. “It was a matter of… we started writing a song with one of the old guitar players, and it was kind of like that riff, but Wyatt and Alex changed it up. Me and Roger (Yma, bassist) basically put the song together; he’s a big Motörhead fan. The enthusiasm is what it’s all about.”

The band is called Blood Of The Sun, the album is called Blood’s Thicker Than Love, and the final track is “Blood Of The Road” – that’s a whole lot of blood! “We always try to keep it like that; it’s real ‘70s to do that. There’s a Sly And The Family Stone song called ‘Family Affair’ and he says ‘blood’s thicker than mud’. I thought that sounded cool… how can I make this work? Most of the songs, and everything with the band, is tits, ass, chicks. You know what, it doesn’t matter if it’s the ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s – it’s always the same fucking story, no matter what year or time it is. I get a lot of questions, ‘what’s with all the naked chicks and the tits and ass?’ Well, for one thing that never gets old. What dude doesn’t like tits and ass? And what chick doesn’t like to look sexy? I always try to keep that vibe in it. If you look at the old ‘70s horrorscopes, they always had those sexy chicks. I remember my Mom never letting me look at that; so, I was always real fond of it. Even when you’re flipping through records, if you see one with a half-naked chick on it, you’ll stop and go, what the fuck is this? That’s where that all comes into play at.”

That being said, this album cover is rather tame, focusing on an oversized Blood Of The Sun belt buckle. “It’s super tame, but when you open it up, it’s all naked chicks inside. A friend of mine, his wife bought a belt buckle from us; she took a picture and sent it to us. I thought it looked like old Kozik art from when stoner rock first started coming around. That’s what it reminded me of, so I was like, fuck it, I’m using it. We hadn’t done crotch yet, it’s always been tits, so we decided to do the crotch this time. But the inside has tons of tits, as usual.”

Blood’s Thicker Than Love is comprised of six songs. At first glance, that appears to be an EP, as opposed to a full-length album. However, two of the songs, “Livin’ For The Night” and “Air Rises As You Drown”, are both over eight minutes long. Does the band initially set out to write an eight-minute song, or does it just become that on its own? “We try to write a good song, with some in and out leads. At the end, we try to do the grand finale, like ‘Child In Time’ (by Deep Purple), where all three guys can put their spin on it. We kind of set it up like thrash metal, like Bonded By Blood (by Exodus); you can always tell when the other guy hits it; he’s got a little different tone. That was something I always admired about thrash; I wanted to do that with this ‘70s rock – one to another, one to another, back and forth – almost like ping pong with freaking leads. So, that’s where the big stuff comes in with the dramatic ending.”

There’s both a retro flair, and a jam band aspect to Blood Of The Sun, yet the songs still maintain structure; they don’t meander aimlessly. “Right. There’s structure, and within all that stuff it’s still high energy; it has some intensity, like a Maiden album during the lead section. That’s what I’m shooting for. It’s stuff I admired growing up. When I was coming of age and starting to play, I was always jamming with older guys. I really liked the middle parts and endings to Maiden, so I kind of throw that on top of the ‘70s rock. There’s a little bit in there for anybody who wants to take a listen.”

In closing, just to leave you wanting more… “There were a couple of songs left off. One was a Foghat cover, ‘I Just Want To Make Love To You’, that we didn’t quite get in there cause we were pressed for time. But we’re going to play it live for sure. With the two guitar players, we can really pull that off; and we put a lead on it. It’s really cool man.  Once it kicks in, nobody can deny that song.”

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