Horror Punk / Rock N’ Roll / Sci-fi
Blaster was the thematic/lyrical brain child of one Daniel Otto Jack Petersen (aka Otto Bot/Otto NoBot) around 1992. It started to become a musical reality through a few friends and especially Daniel’s little brother David over the next few years.
The inspirations in the early days were the music of the Misfits, Ramones, Clash, Nirvana, Rocket From the Crypt, Faith No More, Violent Femmes, 50s/60s rock n roll generally, and various ‘Christian underground’ artists such as Mike Knott, Lifesavors, L.S.U. (Lifesavers Underground), Breakfast With Amy, Fluffy, The Lead, Crucified, Nobody Special, and Scaterd Few.
In 1995 Blaster released *Disasteroid*, their first ‘album’ on cassette (!) with the underground label Boot to Head records. The sound was adolescent, cartoonish, energetic, catchy, and good fun. The B-movie sci-fi and horror based lyrics that also explored spiritual themes (by turns interesting and cringe-worthy) appear to have been unique in the music scenes the band inhabited and thereby Blaster seemed to have carved a niche for itself.
The BtH label also released Blaster’s 1997 album (on CD this time!), *Succulent Space Food for Teething Vampires* (SSFFTV for short). Both the lyrics as well as the music began to draw on wider influences. The music was often faster and more aggressive, but still weird, wild, silly, and fun with hints of the surf and psychobilly experimentations yet to come. Thematically, werewolves, vampires, man-eating plants, androids, time machines, and even Voltron and Star Wars are absorbed into singer Otto (No)Bot’s lyrical mindscape, with the continuing practice of weaving these motifs and metaphors into spiritual and theological ruminations – with greater and lesser degrees of success.
Having gigged fairly regularly during these years (mostly in the Mid-West, with annual appearances on the Underground Stage of the Cornerstone Festival in Illinois, but with one two-week tour down to Florida and back up), the band began to slow down live appearances from around 1998. Jackson/Rubio records (run by Matt Wignall of Havalina Rail Co. fame) released Blaster’s last album, *The Monster Who Ate Jesus*, in 1999. The band played a second and final tour (out to the West Coast and back) in early 2000, then disbanded.
On the final album David Petersen took over composing almost all the music, playing both drums and guitars, and his many influences in that moment were allowed free reign, bringing in country, surf, swing, and other experimentations – all funnelled through Blaster’s by now fairly recognisable version of punk rock. Otto’s lyrics now took in C. S. Lewis’s Space Trilogy on a number of songs, as well as quotes from John Milton, and in general just a more literary direction. They were still self-consciously humorous and bizarre and woven with theological and spiritual themes, though still at moments with varying quality of result.
Otto reformed various versions of the band from 2002 to 2008 for a few more gigs and a few ‘reunion’ shows. David went on with the bands Squad Five-O, Marah, and now Adam & Dave’s Bloodline. Otto moved to Scotland and was subsequently involved with the band Voice of the Mysterons. VOTM and BTRM did an online split EP in 2010 with Crossroads of America records and Flannelgraph records. The music for the two new Blaster songs was written by Brett Sempsrott, performed by Brett and his brother Ty, with Otto as usual providing lyrics and vocals.
As always, there are ever rumours of more reunions and new releases.