By Rob van Alstyne
By Zach McCormick
By Emily Eveland
By Jack Spencer
By Michael Madden
By Reed Fischer
By Emily Weiss
By Emily Weiss
Bloodnstuff have done their best to adjust to a recent career facelift, which came when the independent Minneapolis metal duo hit the road with Alice in Chains. The two-piece didn't have a tour bus, nor anything resembling a crew, and were initially taken aback by the tour rider they were asked to fill out for five East Coast and Midwest dates.
"I think they were expecting a bigger operation than us," jokes drummer Dylan Gouert. "This lady bugged me for 20 minutes about what type of hummus we wanted," adds guitarist/vocalist Ed Holmberg with a laugh. So what did they settle on?
"Mostly we just asked for beef jerky and cigarettes — and they actually got it for us," Gouert states proudly. The guys showed a relaxed camaraderie as they gathered with City Pages for pre-show drinks and dinner at the Triple Rock between sound check and their show with STNNNG, Gay Witch Abortion, and Kill to Kill, a.k.a. three bands much more likely to be paired with Bloodnstuff.
Bloodnstuff play at the Stone Arch Bridge Festival on Saturday, June 15, at Water Power Park; more info at stonearchbridgefestival.com.
You might be wondering how this hookup with the Seattle grunge veterans even happened. At this time last year, City Pages' Best Rock Band of 2012 were just refining a live sound featuring menacing guitar riffs and rhythms of metal icons like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and Dio, as well as the anthemic fury of Wolfmother.
"Somebody fucked up on their end," kids Gouert when asked about how the tour dates emerged. But it turns out that AIC's management team came across Bloodnstuff's debut album and liked what they heard.
Locally, the Bloodnstuff buzz had mostly been built by word of mouth regarding their scorching live performances. The grads of Perpich Arts High School in Golden Valley have played together in bands for 10 years, including in the energetic rock trio Economy Team, and found local support before Bloodnstuff ever released a thing.
"For how much good press we got, and how many people kept coming to shows, and how much we were playing, by the time we finally put our LP out, it felt to us like, 'Shit, now we've got to play these same songs for three more years,'" explains Holmberg. "Because by that point, we had played those songs hundreds of times. But for people to pay attention to a band that didn't have any released music for half a year is impressive to me. I might think people are too fickle, but I was obviously wrong."
Among those not too fickle were Alice in Chains, who offered up the coveted supporting slot to them a few months back. Even though the 20-year-old group's live production and experience dwarfed Bloodnstuff's, the veteran rockers couldn't have been friendlier to Holmberg and Gouert. "They were all super nice, and it was great to meet them," recalls Holmberg. "They were like so nice that you just wanted to leave them alone, and not do anything to spoil it."
Bloodnstuff proudly played their tempestuous material to large alt-rock audiences awaiting high-profile headliners. (Just a few weeks ago, they played a slot opening for Bush at First Avenue.) For the most part, the audiences were receptive. "We did fine. Everyone liked us, and our live shows were good," says Gouert confidently. "It was just weird getting an inside view of how much money and effort goes into an Alice in Chains tour. It's ridiculous."
While they appreciated the catering and added exposure, Bloodnstuff are happy to be back home playing to more modest, intimate clubs, and the Stone Arch Bridge Festival this weekend.
"I definitely felt like we skipped a step," reflects Gouert insightfully. "We want to be playing the First Ave-sized rooms — that's where we need to be right now, not in front of 5,000 people. We're not built for that."
Bloodnstuff have honed and refined the songs on their dynamic self-titled debut LP, which they released last year. But they want to stay busy and tour as much as possible, and claim they are about a year out from recording anything new at this point.
"I still want to get back out again," says Holmberg excitedly. "Our songs might be old here, but we still need to push it other places, and make it a little bit bigger. That's kind of the idea behind these tours in a way — it's what needs to happen for a little bit."