Bliss Blood Returns to Houston this Week
As the voice of the noisy, experimental rock band The Pain Teens, Bliss Blood along with her bandmates carved a style that forshadowed other Houston bands like Indian Jewelry, Balaclavas, and The Wiggins. Yet, after a sucessful decade-long run, the band called it quits in the mid-90s and Bliss left Houston for New York. In place of the noisy, dense sound of The Pain Teens, Blood moved into more traditional jazz forms, playing in ensembles like The Moonlighters, The Cantonement Jazz Band, Here’s How, and Voodoo Suite. Needless to say, she’s hasn’t been resting on her laurels but has continued moving forward as an artist with a vision. This week though Blood will be looking back as well as forward for, in addition to her performing solo shows at Rudyard’s (tonight) and Vinyl Edge (Wednesday) showcasing her more current ukelele-centered work, she will also be perfroming with a reunited Pain Teens for the Axiom 25th Anniversary show at Fitzgerald’s (Friday). We took a few minutes out of Bliss’ busy schedule to ask her a few questions on her return to Houston.
This is your first time in Houston in a while. What brings you to town?
Bliss - J.R. Delgado from the Axiom invited me down to play the reunion show, so I thought I would add some other shows while I was here so I could see as many folks as possible.
What do you have planned and what should people expect from the show at Rudyard’s?
Bliss - I’m going to be playing some of the material I do acoustic in New York with Al Street, accompanied by Scott Ayers on guitar.
After the Pain Teens you’ve kept a pretty busy schedule, can you give us a rundown of all those projects, how they came to be, what drew you to them, and what’s been most satisfying about each?
Bliss - I learned ukulele before I moved to NY and when I got there I started playing 1920′s jazz music since it seemed like a good fit. Most of my subsequent bands (not all) sort of stemmed from that repertoire. I did have a “goth rock” band called Lovecraft that opened for people like Elysian Fields and Foetus for a while, a Martin Denny-style tiki exotica band with a great vibes player named Tom Beckham called Voodoo Suite, and a 1920′s-30′s blues band called Delta Dreambox. I started playing with Al Street in 2010 (our duo was originally called Evanescent), and we are working on our 3rd cd right now. They are all satisfying in that I get to pick or write the material, and they’re REALLY satisfying when I can find work with them! Life in NY as a musician can be a grind because it’s so competitive, so your bands tend to be like little flowers you’re trying to find space in the window box for, hoping they can start to thrive. When they survive, you are just happy that they exist.
I read that you and Scott Ayers would be performing some Pain Teens songs on Tuesday nightin addition to the whole band reuniting at Friday’s Axiom show. How is it revisiting that material after all these years?
Bliss - Kind of weird, haven’t had the rehearsal yet. I’m not all that into those songs 20 years down the road, but I think people will enjoy hearing them again. I don’t think we’ll play too many at the Rudz gig, mostly my newer material. You can listen to it at the “Bliss Blood & Al Street” music player on my website: http://www.blissblood.com
If I remember correctly, you did some gig where you played a cruise ship with the Moonlighters. If that’s so, how was that experience?
Bliss - I DID. We played 2 cruises across the Atlantic Ocean on the Queen Elizabeth II before she was retired. The first time was awful, crossing the North Atlantic. I felt like we were on the Titanic! The sea was so stormy that for days you just had to stay in bed to keep from being seasick! When we were playing, the floor was tilting so much that bottles were falling over behind the bar!
The second time was much nicer, we sailed to Bermuda, then to Newport, RI, then back to NY. It was lovely, the sea was like glass most of the time. Bermuda was great too, but I am not much of a sun-worshipper. I watched “Lord of the Rings” all alone in the huge movie theater the afternoon everyone went out to catch the rays in Bermuda.
Is there anything you miss about Houston since you left?
Bliss -All of the people, of course. The warm weather! I DON’T miss the freeway driving! I love taking the subway everywhere. I love Houston restaurants too. Missed Kim Son and places like that. Hope they are not all turned commercial like Pappasitos!
The Axiom reunion show is coming up this weekend and having seen you perform there a few times, I gotta ask, what was you favorite experience there?
Bliss - Wow, I had so many great times there. Seeing Live Skull on New Year’s when there was no heat, go-go dancing with White Zombie and getting attacked by a skinhead girl and her boyfriend who tried to pull my shirt off on stage, playing the Sabbathon with all of the other great bands who did that, playing the centurian in “Jesus Christ Superstar”, opening for the Swans, Psychic TV, Cop Shoot Cop, Honeymoon Killers; and playing with great local bands like Sugar Shack, Mike Gunn, Dry Nod, Sprawl and awesome Austin bands. And going to great shows every week for years! The music scene was so much fun and I was really privileged to be a part of it and have so many great friends!
Bliss Blood performs this week
Tueday November 20th at Rudyard’s (10pm)
Wednesday Noveber 21st @ Vinyl Edge (6pm)
Friday November 23rd - the Axiom 25th Anniversary Show performing with the Pain Teens @ Fitzgerald’s (doors 8pm)
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