HOW DID YOUR NAME ORIGINATE?
Eric: The Blank Standard is a reference from Canto III of Inferno by Dante Alighieri; specifically, a reference to the banner with nothing on it, behind which the host of lukewarm souls and fallen angels marches around the vestibule of Hell for all eternity. I always found this concept really fascinating, this group of beings that never took a side, never took a stand, never pursued anything for good or ill. Heaven won’t have them, and Hell won’t accept them either. Consequently, they must march just outside of Hell, following, you guessed it, a blank standard, a banner devoid of device or meaning, representing their beyond-damnable indifference.
This is a state of being with which all of us are confronted every day. Apathy, indifference, excuses for inaction, all the things that prevent us from helping those in need, prevent us from pursuing with earnest diligence our best effort in anything we do. It’s a daily battle, because it’s uncomfortable to take action. It’s easier to wait and see, and then make excuses for not acknowledging that homeless person, or failing to abstain from that sarcastic comment at someone else’s expense, or not putting our best effort into that job we have only because it pays the bills, or not getting off our asses and working profusely at whatever craft or passion we might have. Essentially, being passionless relegates us to this army of wasted existence, marching to no purpose. I don’t know which is worse, being a really effective and driven evil person, or being lukewarm to it all. Regardless, pondering such questions is undoubtedly very metal, so we went with it: The Blank Standard.
Brandon: After months of deliberation and hemming & hawing over different possible names our guitarist Eric Burns, revisited his trusty copy of Dante’s Inferno for inspiration. After some research came upon a passage describing The Blank Standard. These souls are doomed to wander an endless circuit at the top pit of Hell, tormented by insects and filth, forever as punishment for their earthly being never standing for anything. Never taking sides, good OR bad. They march endlessly behind a tattered militaristic flag aka Standard, that is blank and devoid of meaning, just like the lives they had led. If you can think of anything more harrowing or brutal, I’d like to hear it! This imagery certainly resonated with us and the concept of the band, so we ran with it! Also, we personally appreciate that the name doesn’t automatically pigeonhole us into a specific sound/genre like a lot of band names in the underground.
WHERE WAS YOUR FIRST GIG AND HOW MANY PEOPLE WERE THERE?
Eric: Our first gig was at Nite Cap on Irving Park Rd. in Chicago, on October 21st, 2011. There must have been about 40 people there, all with great energy, which of course made it all the more awesome to finally be up there as this new band together, dispensing a giant metal beat-down.
Brandon: Our first gig was a hometown show at Nite Cap in Chicago, 10/21/2011. There were about 30+ people in attendance.
WHEN WAS YOUR LAST DAY OFF AND WHAT DID YOU DO WITH IT?
Brandon: As a non-touring band, we have every weekend free from our day gig to write, practice, and record. Personally, besides playing drums, I am very much into video games and just got into the newest Guilty Gear!
Eric: I am currently in the midst of 12-day stint of much needed time off. I have used it to spend time with family, friends, and guitars; Seeing people I haven’t seen in a long time, and unfortunately mourning a friend who’s passed on. I’ve also been getting in some practice and guitar maintenance amidst the downtime, and some Nerf warfare with my kids and their cousins.
WHAT IS SOMETHING - APART FROM YOUR PHONE OR WALLET - THAT HAS TO BE IN YOUR VICINITY AT ALL TIMES?
Brandon: Either drum sticks, a book, or cup of coffee…or all three!
Eric: A guitar pick. I always have one in my pocket. I feel kind of defenseless if I don’t have one on me. You never know when you might get the chance to play guitar!
WHICH SONG BY ANOTHER ARTIST DO YOU WISH YOU'D WRITTEN?
Brandon: Soul Burn by Meshuggah.
Eric: Master of Puppets by Metallica; this song is a tour de force of metal riff awesomeness. It has everything you could want in a metal song. The down-picking chromatic onslaught sounds so menacing, the leads and harmony parts are so memorable, and from a guitar standpoint it really puts you through your paces on a number of techniques.
WHAT'S BEEN THE MOST SURREAL FAN MOMENT?
Brandon: I can’t really think of one…but, having any fans at all would be pretty surreal for me haha!
Eric: It would be me as the fan, finally seeing Pantera live at UIC Pavilion in 2001. That was the most devastating performance I’ve ever witnessed. They absolutely destroyed everything. I still can’t believe I saw it with my own eyes.