There were no signs of it anywhere.
As I drove through the alley and parked in front of The Bloodflowers' rehearsal space—which also happens to be bassist Jimmy Armbrust's house—there was absolutely no visual evidence that the location was a breeding ground for dirty, deafening, hip-shaking rock 'n' roll.
Of course, I'm not exactly sure what I was looking for in the first place. It would've had to be something telltale—perhaps multiple pairs of leather pants hanging from a clothesline or a turtle pool full of topless hangers-on. Even a handful of strategically placed, emptied whiskey bottles would have hinted at the promise of rock debauchery.But that's just not the way it is with The Bloodflowers. Their songs serve as the only accoutrements they need.
“We're not trying to emulate anything or anyone,” says guitarist and lead singer Rey Hoover. “We just put it out there and let the music speak for itself. People can relate to it or not. It's really up to them.”
And that's not to say the power trio isn't well steeped in wild and wicked ways. They've just never felt the need to advertise.
“I mean, I am someone who does love to party,” Hoover adds through a smile.
The power trio formed when Armbrust, gone for long stretches on tour with his other band, Louis XIV, rented his underused garage / rehearsal space to Hoover and drummer Jona Herominski. Because of the close proximity between house and band space, Armbrust couldn't avoid listening to the pair practice when he was home from touring. His interest was piqued almost immediately.
“It was cool,” he remembers. “I'd sit out there with an acoustic guitar while they were jamming and play along to it. A lot of the songs would still be in my head when I went to sleep.”
Things fell into place shortly after. Armbrust just happened to be home on break at the same time that Hoover and Herominski were looking for a new bass player. In preparation for a show that never happened, the threesome started rehearsing together, and “the rest is history,” Herominski says.
Their live debut at U-31 was, by all measures, a success. Yet it still made Armbrust, a seasoned tour professional, a bit anxious.
“I was actually nervous about that show,” he says. “I know [DJ] Gabe Vega, and that's a dance crowd. He assured us it would be cool, but 20 minutes before we went on, he was just killing it with some hip-hop and the crowd was going crazy. I finally had to go up to him and say, ‘This is great, but can we please throw on some AC/DC?'”
Despite the abrupt shift in style when they took the stage, the vibe in the room remained electric, and the band was well-received—the dance crowd didn't discriminate, and The Bloodflowers' blasts of choppy, straight-ahead rock inspired plenty of continued ass-shaking.
With the lineup in place and the live show starting to take shape, the band knows exactly what it has to do next.
“It's about that time to get a van and go,” says Armbrust. “We're a power trio, yet people are always saying that it sounds like there's four or five people up on stage. I can't think of a better way to hit the road. And I like playing with one guitar because it gives me enough room to do my thing. But that'll all have to wait until we put the EP out. It's a big step for us and it'll be great to see if other people like it as well.”
Their five-song debut EP channels multiple influences, including Kyuss (“Beat & Liquor Store”); a Josh Homme-fronted, Too Fast For Love-era Motley Crüe (“Feeling It”); and a revved-up Golden Earring (“Hollow Maker”).
Although they only play it live and will never record it, their aptly titled anthem, “Rock 'n' Roll,” boasts the self-defining chorus “It's all about rock 'n' roll!”
“I love when we play that,” Herominski says. “It really gets the crowd moving. And then it's not just a bunch of cool kids standing there with their arms crossed. Really, it's just totally rad to see the people out there enjoying themselves and feeling it.”The Bloodflowers play with Publicists, Geezer and The Cankles and the Canton Mudders on Sunday, July 26, at The Casbah. www.myspace.com/thebloodflowersmusic.