FLOWER CHILDREN: As a solo project, Guy Blakeslee’s band Entrance often was praised for its no-holds-barred rehashing (and reinventing) of ’60s-style blues and psychedelia, drawing comparisons to everyone from the Stones to Eric Clapton to Jimi Hendrix. Today, Blakeslee has loosened his hold on the project and brought onboard longtime collaborators Derek James (drums) and A Perfect Circle’s Paz Lenchantin (violin, bass) to form Entrance Band. While the newly minted trio’s eponymous debut has yet to live up to Blakeslee’s aforementioned hype (Pitchfork slapped the disk with an inexcusable 2.2 out of 10 rating), I maintain that the Entrance Band still has that magic, whacked-out, guitar-driven touch.
“Now [the words] are pretty much the only thing that I can claim to be solely responsible for,” Blakeslee said recently from a tour stop in Chicago. “We compose all the music together in relation to what we’re all playing. My role as the lead vocalist is still the same, but it’s also based on a lot more musical influence from them. It ends up being a completely different style of music [from Entrance] as far as I’m concerned. … It’s kind of like a four-piece band and I’m two of the pieces.”
Most notably, Blakeslee’s verbose, often longwinded guitar solos have been tempered markedly here, giving way to tracks that balance Entrance’s loose style with more recognizable classic-rock arrangements.
“My tendency is to be pretty unstructured and kind of ramble on forever, so in a way, both Derek and Paz are responsible for bringing an element of rhythm and structure and melody to it that I would never be able to come up with on my own,” Blakeslee explained.
Songwriting strategies aside, Blakeslee remains the off-kilter neo-hippie prone to eight-minute-long guitar jams and rambling ruminations on music and life. In conversation, he moves between subjects like an enthusiastic—if slightly attention-deficient—six-year-old, imparting spiritual and philosophical wisdoms along the way.
“I’ve always thought that true artists, whatever their medium, are people who would be losing their minds or going insane if they didn’t have that channel to put their energy and madness into,” he nonchalantly explained before jumping gears entirely. “I kind of see my artistic vision as someone who wants to use electricity and energy to transport myself, and hopefully others, into an alternate reality. I try to think of it as the punkish version of a New Age concept.”
As for his thoughts on being a poster child for modern psychedelia, Blakeslee is all about embracing the term with open, if slightly cautious, arms. “As much as I try to get away from labels and resist classification and blah blah blah, the word ‘psychedelic’ and the meaning of it are very important concepts to me. It’s the closest thing to my religion that I can think of.”
The Entrance Band stops through town for an all-ages show at Jensen’s Mainstage (2905 De la Vina St.) this Wednesday, February 17, at 8 p.m. For tickets and info, call 563-3200 or visit clubmercy.com.
ALL YOU NEED IS LOVE: Proving that the kids are, in fact, all right, Santa Barbara’s best and brightest young music makers are teaming up for a Valentine’s Day-themed benefit concert to help Haiti earthquake victims. This Wednesday, February 17, Santa Barbara garage rockers the Martyrs headline a night of music at SOhO (1221 State St.) starting at 7 p.m. The evening will include sunny, SoCal-flavored pop rock from Loomis & the Lust and dance-worthy punk from Verna Beware, as well as sets from The Windmill Vandals (myspace.com/oddjob805) and Sierra Reeves. Tickets are $10 at the door, or $8 with a donation of two or more canned food items. Call 962-7776 or visit sohosb.com.