Rising out of the Arizona desert, Phoenix five-piece The Blankz celebrate the disruptive attitudes and no-holds barred fun of early punk and new wave with a modern point of view and hooks to spare.
The band was originally intended to be a recording project between Tommy Blank (Slope Records founder Thomas
Lopez) and Jaime Blank (esteemed garage/punk musician and archivist, Jaime Paul Lamb). Following a 2016
recording session for Jaime’s exotica-fueled combo Moonlight Magic, Tommy—who hadn’t played in a band since
his teens—approached him about collaborating on some new music. “I kind of got this itch to do some shit that’s
kind of snotty like the Ramones, with some MOOG driving synth; kind of like Devo, and maybe a little crusty like the
Spits,” he says.
He’d already sketched out a first song, too; “White Baby,” a quirky take on his experiences growing up as a white
kid adopted by a Mexican-American family in Phoenix in the late-1960s, and his subsequent struggle with identity
and quest for belonging. Inspired by a small document that detailed his birth but held little clues about his
biological family or heritage, the song came together seamlessly.
The friends dubbed the group The Blankz and, nodding to classic punk culture, they swapped the moniker with their
surnames. The move holds special significance to Tommy, who despite growing up in a loving household and a rich
cultural environment always had lingering questions about who he was and where he came from, like many children of adoption. “It evolved from an idea of my last name just being ‘blank,’ My last name was always kind of this thing for me, because that became who I am,” he says, noting that as a teenager and young man his
combination of white skin and traditional Spanish last name was often the first thing about him that caught people’s attention—and attracted both curiosity and antagonism.
They quickly rounded out the lineup out with fellow Phoenix punk and garage vets—bassist Andy Blank, drummer Johnny Blank, and synth player Nikki Blank (who also plays in badass all-woman garage band, the Darts) and got to work on new material that oozes irreverence and showcases their penchant for fast, quick riffs and spastic beats.