When you think of the blues, who springs to mind? BB King? Elvis? Gary Moore? Or do you just think “ugh, boring!” Well, stop that negativity and check out The Bloody Nerve, ok? Musical duo Stacey Blood and Laurie Ann Layne met in Nashville in 2011 and combined forces with Blood’s father, veteran musician Bobby Blood, to form The Bloody Nerve. If you listen to their debut album ‘Taste’ (they’ve also released two EP’s), you will hear the blues in its purest, most streamlined form. Let’s not forget that rock ‘n’ roll, R&B, and a host of other genres sprung from the blues! I chatted with Stacey and Laurie about their musical tastes, falling outside of what’s ‘trendy’, and the band’s future.
Welcome, Stacey and Laurie! You’re obviously heavily influenced by blues music. Is that the music you grew up with?
Stacey: “Actually no, not really. I think it’s more something that you come to understand as you mature musically. I think, in my case, as I evolved, I did a re-cap of every musical phase I’ve been through, and I latently found all of them were about the blues. There’s nowhere you can’t go with the blues. It is the gateway. The best of what we’ve ever had are all off-shoots from the blues.”
Laurie: “Basically I grew up around rock ‘n’ roll and R&B. Pretty much the same story as Stacey, this is something you realise as you mature, the blues is where the truth is. That was the very attraction to the blues – it created popular music. It’s the heart and soul of everything.”
What other music are you influenced by?
Laurie: “I’m influenced by whatever moves me. I’m not really stuck on any particular genre. I listen to everything from Jeff Buckley to Three Dog Night to Albert King.”
Stacey: “I’m also influenced by stuff like big band music, Stan Kenton stuff, old Satchmo records. There’s tons of melodies in there to steal. Texas swing just soaked in early on, even to my resistance as a child, but it has come sweating out. I have no limits. If it’s believable and not fake industry crap, I probably like it.”
As a metalhead, when I saw you described as ‘blues’ I thought you would sound a bit old fashioned, or too meandering, but goodness me, you’re not! Where does the bounce and energy in your music come from?
Stacey: “It comes from the bass player. Today, it’s mostly “third guitar just dropped real low” so real bass lines stick out today. The bass is the secret. It’s how you make the pulse of the record musical. We could sing better than the Staples singers and come up with better riffs than Keef but if the rhythm is stiff who fucking cares?”
You had a difficult time making ‘Taste’. Did that make you more determined to create a fun, vivacious album?
Laurie: “Not really. The album started that way, and ended that way. How the record came out sounding is exactly what we had wanted from the beginning.”
Stacey: “To be fair, the album does have its dark moments! ‘Changin’ Mind’ is pretty dark. So is ‘Find Ya Love’ and ‘Luminol’, but it has plenty of levity as well. If music is honest, it will carry the same duality we experience in life. Even ‘The Wall’ has its rays of light.”
I’d like to highlight ‘She’ in particular, as it’s such a beautiful and haunting song – it actually made me cry! Where did it come from? Is it an original or a cover?
Laurie: “She’ is actually a Gram Parsons song. In the early 70’s Bobby [Blood] was in Sylvester And The Hot Band, and they had a rendition of this song that was just amazing, and a real departure from the original. Nobody ever got a chance to hear it so we did it for ‘Taste’. So I guess it is a cover of a cover.”
What’s next for The Bloody Nerve? Do you have any touring plans in place?
Stacey: “No touring plans at the moment, but that will maybe change soon. We’re really focused on making records. We have a lot of material. It’s all about creating right now. When you are touring you aren’t creating, and we don’t want to let any of this get away. We’re patient.”
I hope you come to the UK one day! The music industry is a tough place to make a living these days, isn’t it?
Stacey: “The music industry is a tough place to find any real art too! That’s the consequence of the “industry”. Technology has created some issues, but that is compounded by mistakes made by the industry. The real artists are going to have to accept they probably won’t make a living making music now unless they tour constantly and probably on their own dime for a while, but then they are touring and not making new music. Lots of touring and little creative time = mediocre records. The pressure to tour is enormous. It’s a ‘Catch 22’, but I like the fact that artists might have to make their money doing something else. You’ll find out real quick who the real artists are. Get out and shovel some shit. Live some life. The pretenders will quit. The real artists will say “shoveling shit… how does that song go?”… and now we’re actually doing something again.”
You are clearly not bothered by what’s ‘new’, ‘trending’, or ‘the latest thing’. Does that make it easier or harder to be heard, do you think?
Laurie: “Easier, in that we are different and that sticks out, but harder in the sense that lots and lots of people are scared of that very thing.”
Stacey: Trends make it harder now with how much more programmed people are to opt into them. Short attention spans, and the repetition of the Facebook timeline is the most fearsome tyrant yet to independent discovery. We’re just comatose bags of blood staring at a screen waiting for stuff to appear on it… but fundamentally, trends are fleeting. They come and go so quickly, by the time a record can be made to fit it, we’re already onto something else. I have to question someone’s artistic integrity who chases trends.”
Where do you see the band in five or ten years time? What are your ambitions?
Stacey: “Honestly, I have no idea. If we’re doing this right then we can’t imagine how it will be five years from now, much less ten. I’ve learned to stop having ambitions and just let the river take me where it takes me. It always has anyway, despite my plans. I guess I just hope we’re better than we are now.”
Laurie: “I just want to still be loving what we’re doing, and have the ability to keep doing it wherever it leads. I want to still have the fire and passion for the music as I do now.”
Interview: Melanie Brehaut