Sister act: Bleached invades Frankie’sWritten by Mike Bauman | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Since growing up deep in California’s San Fernando Valley, sisters Jessica and Jennifer Clavin have used music as their escape. That desire to break away has led them on a musical journey which now finds the two of them fronting punk outfit Bleached, who will perform at Frankie’s on Feb. 2.
“It was just different,” Jessica Clavin said. “Growing up, things were hard. Going to shows were always a nice release for us. Just hearing punk bands, it was just really fun. I feel like we met so many of our friends through going to shows.
“I just don’t think I had, like, really any friends in high school. I actually ended up dropping out of high school, but I still have so many friends outside of it from shows; same with Jennifer. And we would go to shows together.”
The Clavins’ gateway to punk music was actually through their parents, in particular their dad. He played in bands when he was younger, and the first guitar that Jennifer played was one he made. Their mom is a good singer, though Jessica said she never took it seriously.
By the time they were teenagers, the Clavin sisters already had their first band, as well as connections for leaving the Valley to get to punk shows. One of Jen’s friends had her driver’s license before the other girls, and they’d pack into her car to catch concerts at places like The Smell in Los Angeles.
And the one club from the Valley that Jessica still remembers—The Cobalt Café—wasn’t such a cool place to her. One of the sisters’ previous bands—Mika Miko—got disqualified from a battle of the bands concert there.
“The guy basically made it seem like we won, but we were disqualified because we didn’t bring in enough people for the show,” Jessica said. “That was in the Valley. And then I think we actually got banned from Cobalt one time because someone in the band when we were playing ripped down a sign that said, ‘No Dancing.’ But that was, like, the only venue in the Valley.”
Though Mika Miko experienced some success, the band eventually fizzled out in 2009. After that happened, Jennifer joined New York-based Cold Cave while Jessica began playing with Cold Showers out of L.A. But after experiencing time apart and pursuing other things, the Clavin sisters reunited for a more focused effort with Bleached.
“It’s different because I think we’re taking it a lot more serious, and we’re really thinking about the songwriting process,” Jessica said of Bleached, whose current lineup features herself and her sister both on guitar and vocals, Luis Caceres on bass and Jon Safley on drums. “Before, it was just like we knew we wanted to play music and tour, but it was just kind of, like, a punk band. And I don’t think we cared as much as we care about with what we want to do with Bleached.”
Like its music, which draws inspiration from such artists as Blondie, the Ramones, the Misfits, Fleetwood Mac, Siouxsie and The Rolling Stones, even Bleached’s method of releasing its tunes is retro-influenced. Rather than just make its music available digitally, the band has put out three 7-inch vinyl EPs on different imprints. The latest is “Searching Through the Past,” which released on Dec. 6 through Suicide Squeeze Records.
“That’s just what we like,” Jessica said of making Bleached’s music available on vinyl. “It’s what we do. We just buy vinyls, and we have 7-inches. Me and Jen both DJ, and we’ll DJ with our records.”
Bleached played at October’s CMJ Music Marathon in New York and is on a North American tour that spreads across the States and into Canada before landing the band in Austin, Texas, for SXSW in March.
“People really like it,” Jessica said of Bleached. “I feel like people like the idea of siblings, especially in bands. Like, sometimes people who don’t know we’re sisters, if they find out they’re like, ‘Oh, you guys are sisters?!’ and they get really excited about it. And I think people just like to see that, and it’s cool.”
On Feb. 2, Bleached will headline a show that features The Faux Pas and Twist N Shouts at Frankie’s, located at 308 Main St. Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door the night of the show. Advance tickets can be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets as well as locally at Culture Clash Records ((419) 536-5683) and RamaLama Records ((419) 531-7625). Doors open at 9 p.m. and all ages are welcome. For more information, call (419) 693-5300 or visit frankiesinnercity.com.