In the Clubs: Blisterz members raise families while playing brash pop-punk

Being in a punk rock band on an independent level is tough. Being in that same punk band while in yo

Being in a punk rock band on an independent level is tough. Being in that same punk band while in your late 30s and married with children presents another set of difficulties.

“It’s a struggle just to stay awake sometimes for the gigs,” said Drew Lochte, bassist for The Blisterz, during a recent band interview in Albany. “You get all excited, go to the gig, you get there and get set up, and you’re like, ‘It’s 8 o’clock, we’re going on at 11.’ ”

Don’t let the band members’ ages fool you, however: The Blisterz play loud, snotty, brash pop-punk in the vein of The Descendents or NOFX. Song titles like “Myspace Friend” and “Rock ’n’ Roll Intervention” display the group’s less-than-serious attitude — the last thing the band members seem worried about is acting their age.

“Well, I think we act our age; we’re in our prime,” Lochte said. “For immature, middle-aged men, we’re right on target.”

Juggling lives

Since 2006, Lochte, guitarist and vocalist David Graham and drummer Vincent Zandri have been juggling families and full-time jobs with The Blisterz. In this short time, the group has recorded an album, 2007’s “Who’s Laughing Now,” and has performed throughout the state, as far as Buffalo and Syracuse. They’ll be performing at Dublin Underground (formerly Savannah’s) in Albany, a regular performance stop for the group, on Friday night.

The Blisterz

When: 9 p.m. Friday

Where: The Dublin Underground, 1 South Pearl St., Albany

How Much: $5

More Info: 426-9647, Ages 21 and over.

With a second album in the works, The Blisterz are continuing to develop their sound away from simple three-chord songs. The album is tentatively titled “Rebels Without Applause” (the group is saving the title “The White Album” for their third album, because “the third one we’ll be breaking up,” Zandri joked). While the group isn’t abandoning their initial influences — bands such as The Clash, The Jam and The Dead Kennedys — the new songs being recorded are more sophisticated, featuring hints of psychedelia and some added chords and breaks.

“We’ve added a fourth chord now for all these songs,” Graham said.

However, he is hesitant to even call the group’s old material punk.

“When I write songs, my goal is to write a three-minute, anthemic rock song that the audience will be able to sing along with before the song is half over,” he said. “We have been fortunate enough to play shows with bands ranging from folk and country to metal and punk and everything in between, and have been able to win over these audiences with our music.”

Expanding range

The group is also looking to expand their touring to New York City and Boston, with a possible European tour being discussed. In the immediate future, Graham is also organizing the second Wildwoodstock Festival, a benefit for the Wildwood School, on Sunday, May 17, at The Parting Glass in Saratoga Springs. And Zandri, a freelance writer, has a new crime novel coming out in December, “Moonlight Falls,” and the band plans to do a few tie-in shows to coincide with the publishing.

For Zandri, a veteran player who has performed with a long list of local bands from Charmboy to The Verge, the excitement around the group’s future has kept him with the band the longest of any other group.

“In fact, I joke with these guys often, and I say, ‘Too bad we didn’t meet 20 years ago; too bad we didn’t meet 10 years ago,’ ” Zandri said. “Because I really feel like we could have been on tour, even if it was an indie label, whatever. I’ve played with some good people, but these guys are really the tightest band I’ve ever played with.”

“It’s easy when you only play three chords,” Graham added.

Zandri first joined up with Graham and Lochte in 2006, after their original drummer became pregnant. Originally Lochte played guitar, but moved to bass when the group became a trio. But it took some time to iron out the sound.

“I was divorced; I didn’t have a whole lot to do at night, so I thought, ‘OK, I’ll go jam with these guys for a little bit,’ ” Zandri said. “And they really sucked.”

Graham hadn’t performed in any other bands at that point. “I pretty much just sat around playing my acoustic guitar and writing stupid songs, and then I found someone who would actually play them with me,” he said.

Musical anchor

Having Zandri in the band helped to anchor the new songs Graham and Lochte were writing.

“He’s got such a great library of knowledge of music; there’s not a song that you could mention, pop or rock song, he can’t say, ‘Yeah, that’s got this beat, do this,’ ” Lochte said. “He’s got a good sense for, if you come in with a three-chord song, he can help put it together.”

The band’s first show was in the spring of 2007. Much of the group’s success has come from networking with bands such as local rock mainstays Blackcat Elliot and younger punk group Smittix, whose audience has been particularly receptive.

“You get to our age, and our friends don’t always go out that much,” Graham said. “They’ve got family and kids, they go to bed at 9 o’clock.”

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