Like the majority of you, all of us in the Philadelphia area are staying at home, learning to adapt to our “new normal.” MAGNET is checking in with local musicians to see how and what they’re doing during this unprecedented time. Photos by Chris Sikich.
Blanton: I flew to Philadelphia on March 18, theoretically to start a tour, but in reality, to start a quarantine. Instead of packing into the van with my bass player, Philadelphia local Joe Plowman, I moved into his house. I’ve been living with Joe, his lovely wife Grace and their dog Skunk ever since. We had an album to make this summer, and we decided to make it anyway, right here in the living room.
So we’ve spent these past three months songwriting and recording, going to protests, cooking, baking, playing MarioKart, throwing monthly rent parties and working on home-renovation projects. More recently, as the restrictions have relaxed, our bandmate Patrick Firth has visited us from New York. We bought a $100 piano on Craigslist for him to play, made a big batch of sourdough cinnamon rolls and brought him to a couple protests. (We’ve been following along with PSL Philly.)
Honestly, we’re having a pretty good time.
I feel very blessed to have bandmates (and band spouses) whom I adore and get along with. I hope they feel the same way about me (and still do by the end of the summer)! I also feel blessed to have bandmates and friends who are passionate about justice, engaged with the world and eager to participate in the whole catastrophe of human life, which sometimes includes fomenting revolution.
That’s what the new album is about, that’s what my work is about, and that seems to be what this fresh new decade is about, too. It’s a weird, wild, wonderful time to be an artist.