Black Tape for a Blue Girl is an American Dark Wave band formed in 1986 by Projekt Records' founder Sam Rosenthal. Their music takes on elements of dark cabaret, Dark Wave, ethereal, ambient and neoclassical music. Director David Lynch , former pornographic actress Sasha Grey and writer Poppy Z. Brite are some of their more well-known fans.
Formation/Oscar Herrera era (1986-1999)
Begun in California, Black Tape for a Blue Girl is based around Projekt Records founder Sam Rosenthal, who is the songwriter, lyricist and producer for the band. The band released seven albums in their first 13 years, covering the mid-80's through late-90's. Black Tape for a Blue Girl released their debut album The Rope in 1986. The band line-up consisted of a core of Sam Rosenthal, Allan Kraut (on multiple instruments, including drums and guitars) and vocalist/guitarist Oscar Herrera (of Florida's early 80s batcave-tinged The Sleep of Reason). Guests included Kim Prior (as vocals), Adam Buhler (on guitar), Candy Sherlock and Lara Radford (as violinists).
Their second album, Mesmerized by the Sirens, was released a year later; followed by Ashes in the Brittle Air in 1989, A Chaos of Desire in 1991 and This Lush Garden Within in 1993. The core members through this period were Rosenthal and Oscar Herrera, with a variety of guests musicians based on friends Sam chose to work with. Julianna Towns, of the band Skinner Box, provided vocals, flute, and guitar on Chaos.
Recording of Remnants of a Deeper Purity began in 1995 in Los Angeles and was concluded in 1996 after Rosenthal's move to Chicago. This was the second album to feature Lucian Casselman on vocals and Vicki Richards on violin. It also featured Mera Roberts on cello. Remnants goes on to become Black Tape for a Blue Girl's best selling release, and also is the basis for the band's first live performance, Tuesday June 25, 1996 at Projektfest'96 in Chicago, IL.
In 1999, the band released As One Aflame Laid Bare by Desire, with Oscar Herrera singing two songs on the album as a parting favor to Rosenthal. The album owes some artistic inspiration to Marcel Duchamp. Towns returned for female vocals and also provided guitar arrangements. After a 15 city tour in July 1998 (in preparation for the album's release), she is ejected from the band. Elysabeth Grant joins the band as violist, but Rosenthal quickly discovers her vocal talents, and she is the singer for a 14 city tour of the album in February 1999, also featuring Lisa Feuer on flute and backing vocals.
Elysabeth Grant era (1999-2008)
In late 1999, Rosenthal (and now ex-wife Feuer) moved to New York City. Recording begins on the band's seventh studio album, The Scavenger Bride, with Elysabeth Grant as lead vocalist and violist. Original vocalist Oscar Herrera is no longer involved with the band, giving up male vocal duties to Bret Helm (of Audra) and Athan Maroulis (of Spahn Ranch). The Scavenger Bride is released in 2002, with only two live appearances, as Rosenthal and Feuer's son is born. Two years later, the band released Halo Star, which shifts the vocal focus to Bret Helm. Halo Star also marks a change in the bands' lush, ethereal sound. Halo Star is the bands' first journey into a dark cabaret musical style, very similar to The Dresden Dolls and Katzenjammer Kabarett. An 18 city West Coast and East Coast tour runs through September and October 2004, with the band line-up of Rosenthal, Helm, Grant, Bart Helm, Nicki Jaine and Jay.
Rosenthal and Jaine (vocals and guitar) spend 2005 recording and performing as Revue Noir.
Black Tape for a Blue Girl perform 3 shows in 2007 with the line-up of Rosenthal, Grant, Helm and Feuer.
Athan Maroulis era (2009-Present)
Athan Maroulis, who appeared on two songs on The Scavenger Bride album, as well as a cover of Dead Can Dance's "Fortune Presents Gifts Not According to the Book", took over as lead vocalist.
On September 22, 2009, the band released their 10th album, 10 Neurotics, with the lineup of Rosenthal on acoustic guitar, programming and keyboards, Brian Viglione (The Dresden Dolls) on drums, percussion, bass and guitar, and vocalists Maroulis (Spahn Ranch), Laurie Reade (ex-Attrition) and Nicki Jaine on additional vocals. Sam explains that the risque nature of the Neurotics-material caused the previous band members to shy away from singing the songs, though Grant does appear on the song "You Strike Me Down", previously released in a longer and more ethereal form on "Projekt200". In August 2009, the band was invited to play at a CD release party for Dreamchild's Sleeping Flowers Severed, Scream of Laughter. Wisteriax performed an opening cello piece, Black Tape for a Blue Girl performed a four song set from 10 Neurotics, then Dreamchild finished with a final set. The band plays East Coast shows and festivals with Rosenthal, Maroulis, Jaine and occasionally Viglione (on guitar).
In October 2010, Valerie Gentile (The Crüxshadows) joined Black Tape for a Blue Girl as guitarist and vocalist, replacing Jaine, who retired from music at this point.
In October 2011, Pinky Weitzman (Not Waving But Drowning) replaced vocalist Valerie Gentile, who was living in Los Angeles. Maroulis, Rosenthal and Weitzman performed three shows together, including the 2011 Projektfest.
The style of Black Tape for a Blue Girl is often described as "gothic", though their large catalog of music does not often conform with general standards of gothic or darkwave music. The music could be described as a soundscape of analog synth and old world instruments (both real and synthesized) mixed with ethereal male and female vocals. The lyric writing is done by Rosenthal himself and often explores powerful emotions of love, vulnerability, isolation, loss, jealousy, and passion.
Notable past members
Past members include Elysabeth Grant (also of ) on vocals and violin, Bret Helm (of Audra) on vocals, acoustic guitar and bass, Lisa Feuer on flute and vocals and Michael Laird (of Unto Ashes) on acoustic guitar, percussion and vocals. A notable former member is the long-time vocalist Oscar Herrera (of the legendary 80's Florida-based The Sleep of Reason), who performed on the band's first seven albums.
|Date of US Release||Title||Label|
|1987||Mesmerized by the Sirens||Projekt|
|1989||Ashes in the Brittle Air||Projekt|
|1991||A Chaos of Desire||Projekt|
|1993||This Lush Garden Within||Projekt|
Remnants of a Deeper Purity
Remnants of a Deeper Purity ~10th Anniversary 2-CD Edition'
|1999||As One Aflame Laid Bare by Desire||Projekt USA
Trisol Records Europe
|2002||The Scavenger Bride||Projekt|
|2009||10 Neurotics||Projekt USA
Trisol Records Europe
Maxi-CDs and Singles
|Date of US Release||Title||Label|
|1996||The First Pain to Linger||Projekt|
|1997||With My Sorrows||Projekt|
|1998||The Aflame EP||Projekt|
|2004||The Scarecrow (cd-single)||Projekt|