The Blind Shake have found a way to mix garage punk, surf music, and noise rock into one hard-hitting three-piece package, and do it all without the benefit of a bass player (though the bandmembers insist that they're not anti-bass so much as they're "pro mid-range"). The Blind Shake were formed by brothers Jim and Mike Blaha, who were born in St. Paul, Minnesota, spent much of their childhood in Lake City, Minnesota, and finally settled in the big city of Minneapolis. The Blaha brothers became serious rock & roll fans in their teens, and not long after the turn of the century, they decided to form a band. Influenced by the sound of a fellow Minneapolis band they liked, VAZ, Jim and Mike hoped to replicate their guitar tone by featuring both a baritone guitar (played by Mike) and a regular six-string (played by Jim) in their lineup, which also settled the issue of who would play bass, an instrument that interested neither sibling. Longtime friend Dave Roper joined the group on drums, and the Blind Shake were born.
The band had a strong work ethic, playing Twin Cities clubs on a regular basis and touring as often as the members' life commitments would permit. In 2005, the Blind Shake released their debut album, Rizzograph, and in 2006, the band cut the first of several collaborations with Minneapolis garage/psych legend Michael Yonkers, for an album titled Carbohydrate Hydrocarbons. Yonkers and the Blind Shake would also team up for 2009's Cold Town, Soft Zodiac and 2011's Period. Meanwhile, the band was also keeping busy on its own, with 2007's Carmel and 2011's Seriousness. After seeing the Blind Shake, John Dwyer of Thee Oh Sees was impressed enough to release their 2013 album Key to a False Door on his own Castle Face label; that same year, another well-respected fan of the band, John Reis of Rocket from the Crypt and Hot Snakes, recruited the Blind Shake as his backing band for an album of hot-wired surf music. In 2014, after issuing the cassette-only Live at Frank's Power Plant, Milwaukee, WI, July 17, 2012, the Blind Shake released yet another studio album, Breakfast of Failures, on Goner, in the fall of that year. 2015 saw the release of Live in San Francisco, recorded by John Dwyer and documenting a 2013 Blind Shake show at the Bay Area club the Chapel. ~ Mark Deming