Artist of the day: The Black Roses
Drew Anthony (guitar/vocals) and Fona Erdem (drums) are the dynamic duo known as The Black Roses, who are taking the blues and adding their own unique, feedback-laden twist to the trade.
Anthony’s lightning-fast ,resplendent leads are evocative of Ten Years After’s Alvin Lee’s late-’60s and -’70s handiwork; while Erdem holds down the fort with her solid, primitive, drumming, a la Maureen Tucker of The Velvet Underground. Both musicians are 22 years of age, enthusiastic, completely dedicated to their craft and completely enamored of each other.
The Black Roses will perform with Flying Snakes and Mosquito Teeth at 10 p.m. Friday at Fubar, 658 Central Ave., St. Petersburg; and with the Mantics, Bambery and more at 8:30 p.m. Saturday at the Market on 7th, 1816 E Seventh Ave., Ybor City. For more info, see theblackrosesband.com.
We caught with them after a blisteringly loud performance at Bananas Music in St. Pete.
How did you begin this venture known as The Black Roses?
Erdem: It was 10 months ago. I actually started playing drums 10 months ago.
Anthony: Should we say that we dated a long time and still date? It started as an accident, actually.
Your dating, or the band?
Anthony: Both, actually. I met her and fell madly head over heels in love, of course. We dated for a while. I was gonna start a band with some of my friends; I had a drum set at my house. I was like (to Erdem), “Just for fun, hop on and go boom boom boom.” And she did it really good. A lot of things with drummers is they try to get too gimmicky, too many flares. As long as you can keep it like a heartbeat, keep the time, that’s all you really need.
Erdem: I do more than that, though. (laughs)
Anthony: The last song we played (at their performance that day), was the first song she learned.
Erdem: Her Love Stops Atom Bombs, that’s the first song that I played on the drums.
Anthony: And she learned it in a day! I thought it was really fun to play with her. Our goal was just to record two songs and put ’em online, just for fun. We didn’t think we’d play any shows or anything. So we recorded ’em and the guy (who recorded their band) was like “What do we call this project?” And I was like, “The Black Roses,” kind of jokin’ around, you know, makin’ fun of the whole two-piece color-coated bands. So, we just put it on Facebook and I thought that would be it. We got an email asking us to play a house party, and we played that, and from that someone else asked us to play somewhere else, and again and again… I never started that other band with my friends.
So it started as a fluke.
Anthony: Yeah, all thanks to Fona.
I noticed when Fona plays, the bottom half of her body plays like a right handed-drummer, and the top half plays southpaw.
Anthony: She’s a freak of nature!
Edrem: I’m left handed, so when I first got on the right-handed drum set, I really liked playing the high-hat with my left hand. So, I just kept it that way and worked on it that way. I didn’t really think on it that much.
As a result I’m sure you’ve developed a different approach, making your drumming unique.
Anthony: She’s in a niche all her own.
I’m sure you are often compared to the aforementioned color-coated duos. How do these comparisons make you feel?
Anthony: I welcome the challenge. I fell that if you’re gonna be in a band, I’ve played guitar in a lot of bands, it was always a little easy. Not putting those bands down or anything, it’s just easy to play lead guitar in a band or have one singular role. When you put all the weight on yourself. ... If you’re gonna be in a band, you might as well make it the most difficult, challenging thing you can do. Defy the odds.
When you turn on the radio, every country song sounds like it’s made by the same guy. Every R&B song sounds like the same guy. Everyone tries to sound like Ty Segall or Nirvana. I’ve never even found a band that sounds like the White Stripes, or the Black Keys, really, so if we’re in that small niche of bands, then… They’re a great band, so to break out of that stereotype is good. Our energy’s different: We’re pretty raw and rock 'n’ roll. Fona can play the drums a hell of a lot better than Meg White. I enjoy breaking out of the mold and rising to the challenge of it.
-- Aaron Lepley, tbt*. Photo: Nicole C. Kibert / elawgrrl.com.