“Our last album came out before Youtube was invented,” says Dan Nordheim, guitarist-keyboardist for the Blanks. “We got our start in Michigan, during the garage rock revival of the early-to-mid 2000s, and released a few albums and toured the Midwest and East Coast a bit. We called it quits when everybody graduated college and moved to different cities on the West Coast, but continued to work on music.”
The Blanks debuted back when cassettes were still a thing, with the Center Street Sessions cassette EP (recorded on a 4-track machine in a basement bedroom), followed by the full-lengths Kiss You On the Mouth and Love You Too, the latter recorded with famed Detroit producer and Dirtbombs bassist Jim Diamond (the White Stripes, Von Bondies). They even recorded a live album at NYC's legendary CBGBs.
“We were a college band that had some very limited success… we never considered ourselves broken up, just not all in the same city. So, over the last decade, we got together in various locations to write songs and play the occasional show. We were in each other’s weddings and everything. We eventually accumulated enough new material that we thought we could put out a pretty good album.”
Nordheim ended up based in San Francisco, while drummer Mike Ried moved to his wife’s hometown of San Diego, where singer James Peterson came to visit before moving himself to Encinitas. Bassist Todd McKenzie took a publishing job in St. Louis.
Their first new album in 13 years, Yellow Fading Glimmer, was recently recorded in San Diego. “It’s a natural meeting place, since two of us live here. We randomly found a great studio, Rarefied Recording in North Park, and an excellent engineer in Roy Silverstein.” A video was just released for the album track “I Didn’t Ask For This,” directed by Nordheim.
"The album title takes its name from the track 'Sugar for Sugar,' which we’d never performed like it is on the album, with James [Peterson, singer] seemingly making up the lyrics on the spot. We chose it because we thought it fit with a lot of the themes in the record: getting older, having more responsibility, coming to terms with your lot in life, and personally for us it represents our own fading glimmer as a band."
The Blanks will premiere Yellow Fading Glimmer on July 7 at Riviera Supper Club. “We’ve been known to play the occasional sloppy cover. Chances are it will be by one of our Michigan heroes, like Iggy Pop and Bob Seger, especially as we age into their demographic. If you’re past your prime and your life didn’t exactly turn out like you thought, and you love short little rock and roll songs that are under two minutes, then this show is for you. We play music for people who like rock, dancing, and fun. Not sure if there are many of us left.”
According to Nordheim, “Plans are underway for the next album, and there’s a chance it won’t take over a decade this time.”