by Sarah A. Peterson
“Yeah, but what kind of music do you play?” Blake Jones has been fielding that question for quite a while.
So much so, in fact, that the songwriter-vocalist-guitarist of Fresno’s Blake Jones and the Trike Shop penned a song with that particular question as its title.
And the answer? “Our sound could best be described as indie rock for people who like The Beatles,” says Jones, “but also as artsy pop. It’s very melodic.”
The band, including Jones, vocalist-keyboardist Scott Hatfield, drummer John Shafer, and bassist Martin Hansen, has been performing together for about ten years, but Jones’ love of music goes back much farther. “I learned to play guitar in fourth grade as part of an afterschool program,” he says. “In junior high, some friends and I formed a band we named Amethyst. Our first gig was a church talent show, which was called The Bong Show.”
The British Invasion has a huge impact on him while growing up, and it still does. “The Beatles, the Kinks, the Who–it’s all in there,” Jones says of the Trike Shop’s sound. “Also Frank Zappa, Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys, and a little Igor Stravinsky.”
Another big influence on Jones and the Trike Shop has always been other Fresno groups. “We grew up playing alongside other local bands like Wild Blue Yonder,” he says. “Local music is a really precious commodity. It’s such an important part of the community.”
The band members all met through the Fresno music scene, of which they’ve always been a part. Drummer Shafer also plays with Guy Beard and the Lunch Wagon Romeos, while bassist Hansen performs with both the Romeos and Scats on the Sly.
“Living as we do in an economically depressed area,” says Jones, “we all pull together to make something happen. In LA, everybody wants to be a rock star, but here, it’s an interconnected art scene. We bust our butts to make something special.”
The Trike Shop has performed all over Fresno, with venues at Audie’s Olympic, Full Circle Brewing Co., and Tokyo Garden, but also all over the state, including gigs at San Francisco’s Hotel Utah, the Fais Do-Do in LA, and an upcoming show at The Blank Club in San Jose. The group is also gearing up for its third tour of the UK, set to kick off in 2015.
But it’ll always be the local projects that Blake Jones and the Trike Shop take the most pride in. In addition to producing the Fresno Covers Fresno album for Fresno’s FUSE Festival, the band has helped spearhead awareness for the London Library Project, a movement dedicated to opening a library in the small Valley community of London. “We’ll be doing a couple of shows near the end of June to benefit the London library fund,” Jones says.
The Trike Shop has also produced five full-length albums under its Whispermaphone label, the latest being The Underground Garden, as well as an EP called Teasers from the Whispermaphone. Information about Blake Jones and the Trike Shop’s upcoming tour dates and releases can be found online at www.blakejonesmusic.com.
Check out more local band & musician profiles in KRL’s music section.