Blake Babies picture from Rolling Stone (1990)with article
The maverick poet Allen Ginsberg had just concluded a reading at Harvard University and was taking questions from a group of admirerswhen a pair of young musicians tossed out this left-field query: "What should we name our band?"
"Blake Babies," Ginsberg promtly replied."
Since John Strohm and Freda Boner were, like Ginsberg, fans of the poet William Blake, they adopted the monkier for their new group.
That was in late 1986. Three and a half years later, Boston's Blake Babies are touring on the heels of their acclaimed third album, Earwig. Its loose-knit, loopilyn infectious songs offer a striking contrast between the barbed lyrics and the sugar-and-spice vocals of Juliana Hatfield.
Strohm and Boner, high school sweethearts from Bloomington, Indiana, first spotted Hatfield walking around the campus of Boston's Berklee College of Music, where Strohm was a student.
"Juliana looked like a rock person, but an innocent rock person," says Strohm. "Her hair was always askew and she had this leather jacket -- and braces."
Strohm and Boner knocked at the door of Hatfield's dorm room one night. "It was as if she was expecting us," Strohm says. The Blake Babies were born.
Strohm, an experienced drummer who switched to guitar, shared guitar chores with Hatfield while Boner learned the drums. With the first of three bass players, they released an independent EP, Nicely, Nicely, in late 1987.
The group cut seven songs in mid-1988 with Boston producer Gary Smith. Those tracks were released in the UK as the album Slow Learner. In April 1989, Mammoth Records, a North Carolina independent, issued Earwig, which encompassed all of Slow Learner plus five new tracks with Hatfield on bass.
As a threesome, the Blake Babies have found they're "able to have more intense, dynamic changes, which makes our live show a lot more interesting," says Strohm. "Stripping down to a trio was rough going initially, but it's been a real pleasure ever since."
2nd panel inside Sunburn CD
Back cover picture of Innocence and Experience
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