“We’re usually jarred out of our comfortable sense of normalcy anytime we stop at rest areas and gas stations along the way. We still feel like average mid-westerners on the inside…”
…But I believe they are aliens that have tuned into some performance frequency rarely witnessed by our generation. Who is to tell me my beliefs are wrong, especially when I have seen it with my own eyes? The first time I saw Not Blood Paint perform they literally peeled their own faces off right there in the basement at Webster Hall.
“We then become acutely aware that our caked ear makeup, silver toenails, and banter with one another is highly irregular.” Well, yeah dude, not to mention they play highly irregular music. Yes, there are prog-rock guitar riffs a la King Crimson, and yes the vocal harmonies are reminiscent of Queen, and the drums at times harken back to Q And Not U…but more, there is a fully-constructed theatre in the music. There is a unique world for their music to live in, with its own fundamental gravity and man when you see it live… you fucking believe it.
Not Blood Paint is a rock band from New York City, but I picture them more like a traveling troupe of actors. They’ve been performing together for almost a decade but it could also be centuries. Who knows?
From what I gather, each album is a thematic platform, each song is an opportunity to develop a character or characters, and each live appearance is it’s own play or production. Music is the tool they use to design and build their sets, to present the scene if you will. The actors wield guitars, bass and drums like prop-swords and shields and their lyrics give them dialogue to tell their incredible stories.
For example, one of my favorite Not Blood Paint songs is about a schizophrenic airplane passenger having a meaningful debate with the birds on the tarmac over whether or not to blow up the plane. Yet another classic is the guy who is willing to submit to being made into a rug for his beloved and her family to walk on – a beautiful love song. The characters from their songs are never average. Instead they are highly irregular, sexualized, outspoken, tormented, and sarcastic commentators on all things absurd, or better yet absurdly normal. Add to this elaborate costumes that are rarely worn twice and you have a huge undertaking that would make most touring bands squeamish. Like I said before, aliens. “I have caused grown men to physically jump out of shock upon my entrance to a men’s rest stop bathroom. Many times. It’s quite fascinating.”
Not Blood Paint is currently touring in support of their latest release entitled Believing is Believing. Wait a second. Did they really do that? Did they create an entire world with which to suspend our disbelief and then call the album that? Does one hand really wash the other? Because, follow me for a minute, belief is not only the trust that something is true or that it exists, making real and palpable our emotional connection to the characters and stories in their songs, but belief is also a tenet or set of tenets held by a group, not unlike a crowd of people at a concert or an entire fanbase or (Alice down the rabbit hole) a group of musicians. The band itself! The play within the play! They believe in each other. Not in a cheesy way, that’s the only way a band stays together for 8 plus years. They believe in the art because why else would they load up and drive thousands of miles to sleep in strange places for little to no money. Their fans believe in them because they show up in real-life real-time to fully display this world they’ve created. Every piece reflects the convictions of every other piece and believing is believing. I personally believe they’re aliens because I’ve seen it with my own eyes.
Here’s the Official Music Video for the song “Trial By Fire” from the album Believing is Believing:
“We hope that this (tour) will bring a flood of fresh live performance techniques, better ways to play… or total disillusionment about our entire paradigm.”
All quotations in this article were delivered by Not Blood Paint’s Seth Miller during a casual chat over the internet. He plays drums alongside Joe Stratton and George Frye on guitars, and Mark Jaynes on bass. They all sing. Stream their new album and entire discography on bandcamp. Click.