'A bit of a supergroup': Green/Blue rock the Local Show

Green/Blue perform 'Ancient Moon,' 'With That Face,' and 'Proto Caves' at The Current. (Nate Ryan/MPR)
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  • Ancient Moon - Green/Blue 02:51
  • Green/Blue interview, part one 07:12
  • With That Face - Green/Blue 03:31
  • Green/Blue interview, part two 04:49
  • Proto Caves - Green/Blue 03:18

"I think my goal, in a weird way, was to do my best work in my 40s," said frontman Jim Blaha of Green/Blue. "To tap into how much I love music...try to tap into it like when you're a teenager and you're like 'I can't not have it.'"

The acidic, yet ariose punk of Green/Blue contrasts dissonance with pop sensibilities. "I knew Blind Shake was done," Blaha said about his former band when Green/Blue came to The Current studio for a performance on the Local Show. "I got a tape machine in my basement and so I just started writing songs kind of like crazy, just trying to figure out what to do next. And I would take anything, it was really weird or heavy or melodic or whatever."

At the time of the band's visit in early March, the coronavirus pandemic hadn't yet shut the state down and the quartet were looking forward to an album release show late last month at the 7th St Entry. The show was canceled due to the public health crisis, but the album dropped regardless.

Despite being named one of the best new bands in Minneapolis last year, Green/Blue comprise scene veterans. Each member has been playing Twin Cities venues for the past decade and a half. Blaha got his bearings with the thrashy Blind Shake, bassist Hideo Takahashi is one-half of experimental-punk duo Birthday Suits, and drummer Danny Henry and guitarist Annie Sparrows cut their teeth playing with the power-pop group the Soviettes from 2000-2005 before moving to start Awesome Snakes.

The group's origin story doesn't start with music, but rather with visual art. Sparrows asked Blaha for one of his collages (he does all the artwork for Green/Blue) and they talked music after he brought the piece over to her house.

"I told her about what I was doing, and showed her some stuff just on my phone. You know, just really, really rough demos, no vocals or anything. And she mentioned that if it became something more, she would like to be involved," Blaha told host Andrea Swensson.

The partnership between Sparrows and Blaha clicked immediately. There was a strong sense of trust and common interest between the two guitarists. Henry, who said he feels like he's been collaborating with Sparrow for 45 years, was an easy answer to the drummer question. Despite having never played bass, Takahashi was quick to fill that role.

Despite being referred to by Swensson as "a bit of a supergroup," the band stay humble and feel deeply rooted in the Twin Cities local scene. They came up in the '90s: Sparrow did security and tended bar at First Avenue in 1997, Blaha describes going to the venue in 1994 as being like landing on another planet, when Takahashi was young he aspired to play the Entry, and Henry opened up for a little band called the White Stripes in that room.

Now, 25 years later, this crew have history at their backs and a bright future as well with some of the best music they've ever made.

Personnel

Jim Blaha - vocals and guitar
Daniel Henry - drums
Annie Sparrows - vocals and guitar
Hideo Takahashi - bass

Credits

Host: Andrea Swensson
Producer: Jesse Wiza
Engineer: Michael DeMark
Visuals: Nate Ryan
Web feature: Caleb Brennan

More video

9 Photos

  • Green/Blue in The Current studio.
    Jim Blaha performs with Green/Blue in The Current studio. (Nate Ryan/MPR)
  • Green/Blue in The Current studio.
    Hideo Takahashi (center) performs with Green/Blue in The Current studio. (Nate Ryan/MPR)
  • Green/Blue in The Current studio.
    Green/Blue in The Current studio. (Nate Ryan/MPR)
  • Green/Blue in The Current studio.
    Annie Sparrows performs with Green/Blue in The Current studio. (Nate Ryan/MPR)
  • Green/Blue in The Current studio.
    Hideo Takahashi and Jim Blaha perform with Green/Blue in The Current studio. (Nate Ryan/MPR)
  • Green/Blue in The Current studio.
    Annie Sparrow's guitars in The Current studio. (Nate Ryan/MPR)
  • Green/Blue in The Current studio.
    Daniel Henry performs with Green/Blue in The Current studio. (Nate Ryan/MPR)
  • Green/Blue in The Current studio.
    Annie Sparrows performs with Green/Blue in The Current studio. (Nate Ryan/MPR)
  • Green/Blue in The Current studio.
    Jim Blaha performs with Green/Blue in The Current studio. (Nate Ryan/MPR)

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