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Blood on the Walls Q&A

Power Trio Keep it in the Family

Despite the group's somewhat demonic name, Blood on the Walls is all about family and having a good time. Guitarist/vocalist Brad Shanks and bassist/vocalist Courtney Shanks are siblings, and with a name like Miggy Littleton, how could the band's drummer not be considered a part of the clan?

The indie rock act returns to San Francisco for a gig at Bottom of the Hill just weeks after ending a tour in the opening slot with the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs. Brad Shanks took a break from mixing a new 7-inch to speak with SF Station.

SF Station (SFS): What are you mixing right now?

Brad: We're in Olympia right now recording with Calvin Johnson of K Records doing a little 7-inch. We're recording one song we made up on tour, one we made up in the studio and one that we made up about five years ago. It's a weird mix of songs, but it turned out pretty good. We're pretty happy about it.

SFS: How was your tour with the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs?

Brad: It was incredible. They are amazing people and everybody on tour was amazing. We were pretty bummed out when we had to leave it actually. We're buddies now.

SFS: I heard the name of your band was inspired by Slick Rick in a roundabout kind of way.

Brad: When I first moved to New York me and Miggy were driving around Brooklyn and listening to all these tapes on a little tape cassette player -- Slick Rick, B.I.G. and just a bunch of rap tapes. We started making up names for bands that didn't exist and Blood on the Wall was the name I thought would be good for a metal band.

We kind of laughed about it and I went home. I ran into some people a couple of days later and they told me I was in a band with Miggy called Blood on the Wall. Me and Miggy and Courtney had just started playing music together, so the name just kind of stuck.

SFS: But you're not in a heavy metal band, do you ever get lost Metal-heads that show up to your concerts?

Brad: No. The only weird thing was a metal-fan Web site with a huge encyclopedia with metal bands had our name on it. It just said, "If you have any information on this band please e-mail us." I'm sure once they actually got information on us, they probably took us off their site.

SFS: When did you start playing music with your sister?

Brad: She played bass when she was younger -- like her early- or mid-teens. I didn't really start playing guitar until I was 17 or 18. She had already moved out of the house (to New York) because she is two years older. When I decided to move to New York she had a four-track recorder in the apartment and we just started messing around. We have been playing about six years, basically, since Blood on the Wall has been a band.

SFS: How is it spending so much time with your sister now that you are on the road and recording a lot?

Brad: It's cool. Since we're brother and sister, if we fight or anything it's resolved pretty quickly because we still have to go home and visit our parents and stuff.

SFS: Do you have other family members that play music?

Brad: My dad played bass. It kind of got him through college. He was in a band that played once a week. He always says, "Back then we played three-hour sets, you guys get away with 40 minutes."

SFS: What's next for Blood on the Wall? Are you looking to break out into the mainstream or are you happy where you're at?

Brad: We just take it as it comes and talk about it when its there. We're really happy with Social Registry and what we're doing now.

SFS: Just got with the flow, right?

Brad: Go with the flow, man. Go with the flow and down a few beers on the way.


Blood on the Walls performs with Physic Ills and The Death of a Party at Bottom of the Hill May 8th. The show starts at 9 pm. Admission is $8.