Brit-punk in the Blood

Colin Smith emails from London that when the Blood plays San Diego, they plan to open with “Megalomania.” That was the band’s first single, a short little blast that ridiculed the Pope. It almost sounds comical to say that, considering today’s lax media standards, but back in the early 1980s when the Blood was new, public ridicule of the Pope was considered insurrection.

Formed in 1982, the Blood’s Smith was Cardinal Jesus Hate. Cofounder Jamie Cantwell called himself J.J. Bedsore. Smith and I email back and forth. I ask him why he thinks fame came to rest on lesser bands, but not the Blood so much. “We never compromised our lifestyle,” he writes, “which was a Tequila Sunrise, followed by a liquid cider lunch, and night-capped with a Southern Comfort. The nuances of the day were narcotic moments that allowed us to keep writing Blood songs.” Cantwell died in 2004 from the effects of chronic alcoholism.

The Blood crafted hardcore punk songs known for social criticism couched in shock-value terms. Smith is the single original member. “This is the first big tour that I have done in a long time, and I am doing it because so many people of all ages from the USA and Canada have asked me to please come over and play.” He says he’d like to make it a regular thing, touring America, and to expect a new CD next year. I ask if he knew how good the Blood was back in the day. He writes: “Both J.J. and myself were well aware that we were potentially as good as it gets musically, lyrically, and theatrically as a punk-rock band.” What kept them chained to obscurity was their self-destruction. “The Blood’s lifestyle meant that we were unmanageable. The record companies knew this, and so, too, did J.J. and myself, and yet we didn’t give a flying fuck.”

PSO, Evacuate, and Rat City Riot also perform.

The Blood: Shakedown, Wednesday, December 19, 8 p.m. 619-804-9523. $8.

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