Branden Blacker of Suburban Paranoia “Respected. I’ve treated everyone I’ve jammed or worked with respect and love.”

Suburban Paranoia began in 1990 as punk/metal band and over the years has grown into fierce speed/power/thrash metal with melody unit that needs to be seen. Since the 90’s Suburban Paranoia has played many shows and tours and have evolved in their line up to what they are now. Currently a 3 guitar assault of sound of crunch and melody that needs to be heard. Charismatic and always full of energy, Suburban Paranoia’s live showcase is pure adrenaline and power that consistently wins over fans at every venue.

How did you first get into music? Who or what turned you onto metal?

“When I was about 13 my friend Matt showed me how to sort of play ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ on guitar. Before that I was into sports, and it steam rolled from there haha. Needless to say I no longer played sports after picking up the guitar. In terms of metal, I was turned on to it by my deadbeat dad who picked me up for a visitation when I was around 5 or 6 years old. I got into his Trans Am (no joke) and he turned it on and started blasting something loud and crazy, so I grabbed his arm at 5 or 6 years old and asked him…”What is this!?” He replied… “This is SLAYER SON!” and my love grew from there.”

What got you started playing music and how old were you?

“As I said in the last question, I was about 13 or so and just kind of picked up guitar. I never had to really be taught anything… I just picked it up and did it. Same thing with bass, vocals and drums. It came naturally.”

What was your local scene like in the beginning, was there a particular band you aspired to be like, favorite local bands back then, favorite local bands now?

“Oh man.. The local East Bay area rock and metal scene were incredible in the years I started around 97/98. There were shows every weekend at The Depot, The Concord Vets Hall, The Pound SF, Slims SF, Bourbon St Bar amd Grill, The Time Out, The Danville Grange Hall and more.. there was always something to do. Back then I was in a couple shitty bands like The Burning or Bloodstool just having fun, but I truly enjoyed bands from that era like G2K, Domeshots, Fingertight, Insolence, Minus Capita, Clearing Autumn Skies, Un I.D. and a few others. ”

“Now, the scene is definitely not as prevalent, but it is there, with shows always at Red Hat Concord, Pine St. Livermore, Toots Tavern in Crockett, Ca and Vinnie’s Bar and Grill there is usually a good amount of shows happening every couple weeks. Some of the fore running top bands from this area include Toy Called God, Gurschach, His Name is Robert Paulson and The Devil In California.”

How did you become a vocalist and drummer? Are you proficient in any other instruments?

“I started singing hardcore punk rock in Bloodstool, where I was trying to channel the likes of AFI, NOFX, The Misfits and The Nerve Agents back when I was like 14 or 15. Eventually that changed to metal as I mostly focused on guitar for some old metal bands I was in. I didnt start taking up vocals again until I started creating Giving The Devil His Due, which the 1st recording were so awful haha. It was a brand of chaotic hardcore like Every Time I Die, From A Second Story Window and Bleeding Through and started playing guitar and singing for GTDHD live as a two man and drum machine unit. It was ok when it worked, but thats what turned me into a drummer. I was sick of having technical difficulties live from our “drum machine” so I started playing the tracks I programed and even sang lead vocals and drums live, it was weird, so eventually that turned into a full band. Chaos followed after that.”

You are currently in Surburban Paranoia & now again in Giving The Devil His Due, what kind of satisfaction does each band give to you?

“Suburban Paranoia gives me the satisfaction of being able to song write with like minded individuals who enjoy thrash metal. GTDHD gives me the satisfaction of writing the dark moody hardcore that I really want to create as it shows my internal struggle, as the vocalist of both, I can only do that with GTDHD because too many personalities bog down my vision in SP.”

Has music at all been therapeutic for you, is there a particular artist or type of music you go to for comfort?

No I wouldn’t say comfort, but I will say, when I’m having a bad or empathetic type of day, any band that Howard Jones (Killswitch Engage, Light The Torch) is in will typically put me in a good mood as I belt out tunes in my car on my way to work.”

How has the metal scene, in the Bay Area changed, since your last Devastated Fest? What have been the positives and the negatives?

“The positives are that the bands are so good right now. There arent many shit bands clogging up good shows. The negatives are, there are not too many venues for a variety of shows to choose from sometimes. The bands for some reason are much easier and humbler to work with. I tried sooo hard to get Devastatedfest 3 off the ground in 2014. But, ALL the bands I was approaching wanted something, local bands, bands that didnt do much out of their county, etc.. they wanted guarantees, refused to sell tickets, etc etc etc… It didnt make any sense. So I gave this selfish scene a break. Now… The talent and musicians are sooo cool to talk to and deal with that it made booking D3 this year simple. Other than a headliner.. I had booked the entire line up within a week tops.”

How would you like to be remembered?

“Respected. Ive treated everyone Ive jammed or worked with respect and love. I would want to be remembered as someone did what they could to be creative while keep the music a priority.”

What was the first music you bought, what was the first concert you saw, where was it and with who?

“Haha, I honestly don’t want to say the 1st cd’s I bought myself because it was an impulse, because I had 6 bucks in my pocket and will buy the most affordable thing I could see… Lets just say, it wasn’t very metal haha.

“My first concert was actually with my friend who showed me the guitar. It was with him and his Dad, we sae The Misfits, Fear and The Groovy Ghoulies at The Crest Theater in Sacramento in 97.

You’re on a desert island and only have three albums to listen to for the rest of eternity, what are they and why?

Every Time I Die – “The Big Dirty”
Iron Maiden – “The Book of the Souls”
Metallica – “And Justice for All”

What does metal mean to you?

“Emotion. Life Pulse.”

Categories: Interviews, News

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