Blacklistt return, older and wiser with extra heart

This time, "we're just jamming as mates", says guitarist Marcus Powell of  Blacklistt.
This time, "we're just jamming as mates", says guitarist Marcus Powell of Blacklistt.

It's taken losing a lengthy legal battle and the upheaval of a name change to help four of the founding members of Blindspott realise why they joined a band in the first place.

It's been an intense journey but it's one Marcus Powell, Damian Alexander, Gareth Fleming and Karl Vilisini - now known as Blacklistt - wouldn't trade for the world.

The West Auckland foursome formed Blindspott in 1997 with Shelton Woolright and carved out a formidable reputation on the rock scene. But things turned sour after their 2007 break-up and they became embroiled in a bitter dispute over the band's name, eventually rebranding as Blacklistt.

"The pressure of the court battle and everything weighed heavily on our shoulders. So carrying on as Blacklistt gave us a new lease on life.

We were able to let the past be in the past and carry on. I think it worked out for the best," says guitarist Powell.

After the triumphant release of their first self-titled album late last year, the rockers are once again serious contenders on the local music scene.

But as they prepare to embark on a nationwide tour, Powell says it's not chart success or radio airplay that matters these days, so much as getting out on the road and just rocking out.

"I remember recording the second [Blindspott] album and it was very focused on, you know, this song has to be this length for radio. There were all these rules and regulations that we got accustomed to from the labels and radio. This time we are just jamming as mates."

And he's noticed a substantial change in the band's live performance.

"With the first two albums there was a lot of ego in all of us, including myself. We kind of put on a performance that wasn't honest but this time around, I feel the passion and time we put into writing the songs," reflects Powell.

"There's camaraderie on stage. We're all in tune with one another and we know where we're at on stage. When I look at footage, I can definitely see more heart."

Powell attributes a lot of that to age. "We've definitely grown up as a band and also as individuals. There's a deep respect for one another now. We're not driven by this dream to be an international band anymore, we're doing it because it feels really good."

Blacklistt's tour kicks off in New Plymouth on May 23. They play the Powerstation in Auckland on May 31. For tour dates visit blacklistt.co.nz

- Herald on Sunday

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on red akl_n2 at 29 Aug 2014 12:57:21 Processing Time: 400ms