Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Black Clouds story - Newport Mercury - 7/5/06 - full text

How to be a successful garage punk band from Providence: GET OUT

Should be interesting ... Guitarist/singer Dan Blakney says Black
Clouds won't hit the stage until close to the end of Jake's
anniversary bash after enjoying free whiskey and beer. CONTRIBUTED

Sat., 7-8, 7 p.m. to 2 a.m.
Jake's Bar & Grille
373 Richmond St., Providence
No cover


A recent Monday night at Charlie's Kitchen had all the makings of
a bad joke: Six yuppies walk into a bar ...

While there wasn't a punchline per se, the hasty exit the
unsuspecting revelers made when the (mostly) Providence-based band
Black Clouds went crashing into their first trashy garage punk
number definitely made for quality visual comedy.

"There was a little of that going on tonight," Black Clouds
guitarist/singer Dan Blakney said with a laugh a few minutes after
his band's live set at the Harvard Square haunt. "Getting the
people out who don't belong there is as important as getting the
ones who do to stay."

Black Clouds were the opening slot on a triple bill that has
become something of a Monday night tradition for fans of
slash-and-burn, unadulterated rock 'n' roll. Local fare - like
Boston's criminally unreleased Tampoffs, who headlined that night
- tends to be the common denominator, but it is not surprising to
see an out-of-town underground giant, like the Reigning Sound, pop
in for a set at Charlie's. The middle slot on this particular
night was shaken loose by the Wisconsin band Hue Blanc's Joyless
Ones, a four-piece with a recent release on the Goner Records

Blakney, a 39-year-old welder/fabricator by day who lives in
Somerville, Mass., and 29-year-old drummer/singer Matt Puckett, an
Illinois ex-pat who works as a collision repairman and lives in
Providence, said that the band has gotten a bit more attention in
Boston since they formed a couple of years ago than they have in
Rhode Island. It wasn't long after Black Clouds sent out a
four-song demo of Providence practice space recordings - with
Mitch Murphy and Itai Halevi from Boston's Triple Thick at the
soundboard - that they started getting invites to perform on
Boston-area radio shows, like the "Pipeline!" program on MIT's
WMBR-FM and "Coffee N' Smokes" on Tufts' WMFO. Boston, home to
bands like The Konks, The Curses, and The Turpentine Bros., also
happens to be a city with an arguably more robust garage punk
scene than Providence.

"The noise stuff is really big (in Providence), and metal is huge
there," Puckett said. "If we were a metal band, we'd be going over
like gangbusters."

Although Black Clouds do get on Providence bills fairly regularly
- "mainly AS220 and Jake's," Blakney said - you are probably less
likely to catch them live at a Providence club than at
word-of-mouth loft parties in Olneyville, like a recent one during
which they opened for In The Red Records legends The Country

"I consider our Providence gigs more like a PawSox kind of thing,"
Blakney said.

Sonically speaking, Black Clouds - which is rounded out by
guitarist Glen Quinette, 38, of Providence - have a bassless
two-guitarist/one-drummer dynamic most instantly comparable to The
Cheater Slicks, a trio of underdog maniacs who left Boston years
ago for Cleveland. If the stars align, Black Clouds just might end
up attracting some likeminded national attention. They have a new
7-inch single set for release on a yet-to-be-named Providence
label, recorded last winter by Jack Younger at his Basement 247
studio in Allston, Mass. When pressed, however, the Black Clouds
members tend to be laid back about their aspirations.

"I personally don't set lots of ambitious goals and whatnot for
the music," Blakney said. "There isn't a big audience for what we
do and I don't spend too much time looking to convert the
unappreciative. You can't push a rope."

"We plan to shop around for some labels and see if we can get
someone to help us put something else out," Puckett said in a
follow-up email. "Plus we hope to do some recording of our own.
Then, when our full length LP comes out, we can tour the country
and abroad, drinking, rockin', fuckin' groupies, blowin' up amps
and shattering eardrums, the whole shebang! That'll rule."

For the time being, Black Clouds seem content to pick up shows as
they can get them; according to Blakney, the band "did a bandit
trip to Montreal" for a show recently, and they hope to make a
return to New York for a gig by the end of the summer. Black
Clouds' next scheduled local appearance is part of the Jake's Two
Day Anniversary Spectacular on Saturday, July 8, a gig that
Blakney seemed to be dreading due to the prospect of free booze
for bands; they're not scheduled to play until second to last out
of nine bands Saturday night.

"They're saying we're going to get free whiskey and beer," Blakney
said. "We've gotta find three shopping carts before we play this
gig, because that's what we'll be playing out of."


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