Music Interview

Black Tape for a Blue Girl

By Jett Black

Black Tape for a Blue GirlBlack Tape for a Blue Girl toured three Texas cities during the month of February 1998. Jett Black (, a Promotional Consultant in Lubbock, Texas asks a few burning questions of Sam Rosenthal concerning Black Tape and the then upcoming Texas performances. Behind the ethereal net of electronic communications, Sam Rosenthal shares the following visions of February's tour through Texas cities.

Black Tape For a Blue Girl will be performing in Austin on Tuesday, February 16th, at Atomic Cafe, in Dallas the following evening, at Trees in Deep Ellum and then performing again on February 18th, at Instant Karma, in Houston, Texas. What expectations do you have about performing in front of Texas audiences?

I don't really have "expectations." I think playing live is fun and it's great to meet the fans! There was a girl in Houston, last time we played who kissed the window of the van and for the rest of the tour there were these black lipstick marks on the window! That's the sort of stuff that you remember about a tour so it's not like I "expect" a certain number of people, or cheering to be at a certain volume level. *smirk* I just hope to have a good time and meet the people who like my music.

Please describe how the set-list will reflect Black Tape's current and former CD releases.

Ok. Here is the line-up of songs we are currently rehearsing (the * ones are off "Aflame"): given*, as one aflame laid bare by desire*, overwhelmed, beneath me, for you will burn your wings upon the sun, a good omen, the turbulence & the torment, could I stay the honest one?, gravity's angel, your one wish*, ent'racre [the garden awaits us]*, decomposed by the fire of the firmament, denoument/denouncement*, I have no more answers, you will be as majestic as a king.

That last song is the track we recorded for the Projekt cat-cd, "A cat-shaped hole in my heart." It is still unreleased!

I have read in the past about how Black Tape members often rehearse separately in their respective home locations prior to entering your studio for intense rehearsals and recordings. And that often you work with each member individually during the recordings, rather than recording all at once as a group.

That is correct. Oscar and Vicki live in Miami and Julianna live in Tucson. So for recording I send them cassettes of the songs in progress, with guide-vocals (me singing the melodies) so they can learn their parts. Each person is in separately to record so that we can pay specific attention to their parts, rather than feeling like an assembly line with the next person waiting to go. That is different for live, however, because Elysabeth, Lisa and I all live in Chicago. So we get together twice a week and rehearse the set. Elysabeth is singing and also playing viola. This will be her first tour, so it should be a lot of fun!

How were you able to manage this last year with Projekt festival touring heavily in North America?

When Julianna was in the live band (last year), I flew her out to Chicago to rehearse. That got rather expensive. But Julianna felt, after we did that tour in the summer, that the road wasn't really the place she wanted to be. So I asked Elysabeth to join the band. It's very cool having a string player on stage!

Describe how Chicago influences you as a backdrop for your writings and recordings these days, and how do you feel about that as you enter your third year of residency in Chicago.

I don't think it really influences me that much. I like Chicago, but Lisa and I are planning to move to New York City in the middle of the year.

Describe how you feel about your "precious jewel" now as Black Tape enters its 13th year of maturity.

I don't think of it that way. It's just sorta "that thing I do." Although I appreciate everyone's respect for what I create, I don't feel I'm "gifted" or something like that. I just happen to make this music.

What can you tell us now about Black Tape performing at the German Leizpig Festival later in May of this year?

We look forward to that! Apocalyptic Visions is releasing "As one aflame..." in Germany next month and this will be our first opportunity to play in Europe. Leipzig gets about 30,000 people, though they aren't all there for every show. There is talk that we will play at a church with Stoa and Ataraxia. It sounds very fun!

Black Tape for a Blue GirlHow is Black Tape developing this year? What is next on the agenda for Black Tape developmentally?

I would like to begin working on new music in the fall, after we move to New York. Hopefully a new album in the year 2000. Lisa and I have been toying with the idea of creating some sort of multi-media performance piece-thingie that would sort of "replace" touring. It would be part live, part video, part performance. It is still just an idea at this point, but it would be cool to be able to perform the whole new album as some sort of live experience. Somewhat like what Laurie Anderson does.

Any thoughts of bringing ProjektFest onto a Southern United States tour in the future?

I don't really think so. The Festivals are a *lot* of work and I really would rather concentrate on black tape, then throw all my energy into another festival.

How might Projekt's new relationship with ADA alter how Projekt is presented to and received by Projekt fans?

ADA only adds positive things to Projekt and it's fans because it makes our releases available nationwide. The last person who interviewed me was trying to insinuate that we would need to change in order to satisfy ADA...which is absurd. They are our distributor! They picked us up, because they respect what the artists do. They don't see a Whitney Houston or Korn lurking in the shadows here, they aren't expecting mainstream success. So it is a positive thing because it gets the records out to the fans!!!

Do you feel like you might be reaching a plateau with Black Tape anytime soon?

No. I think that each album is a development from the last one. A plateau would imply (to me) some sort of stagnation and I don't expect that.

What "revelations" are characters depicted through the music of "Aflame..." seeking, and perhaps finding?

I think that it is different for each of them. I see that they are looking to uncover some truth about who they are or why they do the things they do. And with that understanding in hand, they will be ready to move forward into living their lives according to that which they understand is "their way."

Sam Rosenthal