BLACK EYES AND NECKTIES – YOU CAN CALL IT A COMEBACK
By Claire Meyer
Halloween is the ubiquitous holiday that kicks off “that time of year.” Before grocery stores start really pushing cranberry sauce, but perhaps after Target has stocked shelves with novelty snowmen, (let’s be real; they start showing up in August) Halloween creeps around the corner, arms laden with candy and Scream sequels. The sentimentality of Halloween is certainly not lost on the members of Black Eyes and Neckties, Bellingham’s finest – if not only— horror punk group that formed nearly two decades ago.
After parting ways to pursue various musical projects, the band will reunite for a show at the Wild Buffalo to celebrate- you guessed it: Halloween. Hardcore fans and audiences of yore may recall shows that included being sprayed with fake blood and watching band members with names like Bradley Horror and Josh Homicide absolutely thrash onstage (aka, Brad Lockhart and Josh Holland).
Black Eyes and Neckties first reconnected for What’s Up!’s birthday bash back in the spring. Of the initial reunion, guitarist Josh Homicide mentions, “The birthday show ended up being so much fun that we had a conversation about it, and decided that we had some songs that we could do.” From there came the notion of another show, to be held on their token day of inception. “Reconnecting felt really good so we ran with it, like, “Let’s do one more show!” Everybody felt good about that. This is kind of the end- we’re a band for the next month, I think.”
So what’s changed in the years since the band dismantled? According to guitarist Ryan Cadaver (aka, Ryan Greer), not much. “It’s a bit like a family. We’re always together no matter where we’re at. In getting back together, that familial element has stayed the same. It’s like coming to a family reunion where you’re actually happy to see everybody.” Adds Josh, “Seeing everybody and coming together has helped to spark and catalyze this project that we’re doing right now. Just remembering how much personal and creative chemistry you have with your people… even 10 years later, it all just feels the same.”
The project that Josh mentions is a recently created video to accompany the track “Waterfront,” previously recorded about a decade ago, but until now, unreleased. The video is a side-by-side “then and now” tribute to footage of the band in their heyday alongside their recent reunion in preparation for their upcoming show. “This is our visual aspect of releasing new music,” says Josh. “I found a bunch of stuff on YouTube which I thought was interesting, but I wanted to go deeper. I started sourcing around and found all of this interesting footage. Just hours and hours of it I had never seen.”
The process of tracking down years of videos was a labor of love, but one that the band agrees was worth the effort. “The concept was always there,” says Ryan. “[The video] finally came home and I got to see all this stuff- some of it was about 14 years old, and it was really awesome. From the first tour to the last show, all this went into the video; never been seen by anyone…. Huge venues and even small ones in this town that were never really documented. It’s special for this music community to get to relive this era.”
While BE&NT admire the fruitfully creative cauldron that is Bellingham, much of their musical inspiration- particularly for “Waterfront”- was borne out of the city’s less savory trappings. “The song traces the stories of the Waterfront Seafood Bar and Grill. When I was a kid and even as a teenager, my dad would be like, ‘Don’t ever go here. This is where Ted Bundy and the Hillside Strangler used to drink.’ Essentially it’s a legendary sketchy dive.”
Check out the video for a hit of nostalgia, and to gear up for the band’s upcoming show at The Buff: it may just be your last chance! “We don’t know if this reunion will happen again- it could or it couldn’t,” says Ryan. “Every time we’ve reunited, it’s never been a full lineup, or hasn’t been on Halloween, or hasn’t been just perfect… With this time, it gets to be a little bit more on our terms.” Happy Halloween! Stay spooky.
Catch Black Eyes and Neckties with No-Fi Soul Rebellion and The Wednesdays on Saturday, October 27 at the Wild Buffalo.