"Who's Blood and who's Stuff?" I ask drummer Dylan Gouert before one of their Grumpy's residency shows. Laughing, he says, "I'm Stuff." Later, when I ask guitarist/bassist/vocalist Ed Holmberg, he replies without hesitation: "I'm Blood." The two blood&stuff mates play off each other even when in different rooms. Dark, Gallic Gouert and his blond Nordic bandmate, Holmberg, perform headbanging, mind-blowing rock shows as blood&stuff. Within months of meeting Gouert at arts high school at age 17, Holmberg asked him to be his drummer. They performed as Economy Team as band members came and left, but Holmberg and Gouert stuck together. "We played exclusively together for 10 years. I didn't have other projects and neither did he," says Gouert. "We'd end up writing most of the songs anyway," quips Holmberg.
Everything blood&stuff does is born out of necessity. Holmberg began his versatile singing when a former bass player/singer didn't show up for a gig. Holmberg convinced Gouert they could do everything as a duo when Economy Team bassist Ted Johnson left. "I went with it, figuring we would eventually find another bass player. Instead I realized we really didn't need a bass player," says Gouert. He designed and built a secret weapon, enabling Holmberg to dexterously play bass and guitar live while singing, simultaneously layering riffs and melodies. With a sound bigger than that of most four-pieces, the music is amazingly all created live. "No recordings or looping, and never will be," Holmberg states flatly.
Blood&stuff honed their musical skills by holing up for a year and a half, pursuing perfection before finally performing live in April 2011. It was the longest period they'd not performed since they were children. "Friends thought we'd never play out," Gouert says. Seemingly old vets in young men's bodies, blood&stuff evolve so quickly that their young songs are old to them the second they're recorded. "We recorded twice already, but we tossed out both recordings. Because we were moving so fast, it was still so experimental, that months after both the recordings were done, they weren't us anymore," says Gouert. Only a few of those old songs, including their first, "Not the Cow People," remain in their high-energy performances. Now, they need a record and to tour. "We've spent all our money on that recording, and all this gear. We're trying to figure out a way we can record one or two songs in the next couple months because we realize we really, really need something to put out," says Gouert. "We're perfectionists." He holds out his bandaged wrist. "I'm fucking falling apart. My hand could fall off while playing drums," he feebly notes. "That will be totally fine," Holmberg assures him. "Just make sure there's a couple thousand people there to see it. Then that's fine." [CIty Pages, October 2011]