Cultural Quarterly
Fall 2008
Volume XXI, Number 4
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Teen Scene

The Low-Down on
Blank Tape
By Rebecca Wong
Everglades High School

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Black Tape
Blank Tape

Blank Tape, Pembroke Pines’ own up-and-coming band, features a foursome of laid-back boys from Flanagan High. While the tight-knit group, consisting of Lennon Livesay (vocals/guitar), Fonzie Sander (lead guitar/vocals), Efrain Lopez (bass/vocals) and Alan Penton (drums/vocals) is more like a band of brothers, shopping and joking with each other around the clock, there is no kidding around when it comes to their music. 

Teenlink: How would you describe your music? Who inspires you?

Blank Tape (Lennon): It’s pretty much just pop. We take influences from a bunch of different stuff, but I guess I’d say just pop, just pop rock. Everything from the Beach Boys to a lot of different hard core and metal. All of us listen to different types of music. Pretty much the one type of music we all agree on is pop. Fall Out Boy is one of our bigger influences. Pretty much any local band is a big influence on us, too.

Teenlink: How did you guys get started?

Blank Tape (Lennon): We got started when we were in middle school. (Efrain): Me and Lennon and

Live @ the Talent Farm 4-5-05
Live @ The Talent Farm 4-5-07 Credit: Jo Lopez

my little brother started a band, and it didn’t work out, so we broke up, and Lennon met Alan and Fonzie, and from there they kind of jammed by themselves a little, and they asked me to play bass.  

Teenlink: How did you come up with the name “Blank Tape?”

Blank Tape (Efrain): It was just something we came up with in middle school. We weren’t really thinking about it. We just put it out there and it stuck. We don’t really like it, but we’re kind of stuck with it at this point. (laughs)

Teenlink: How do you handle going to school and trying to manage a band?

Blank Tape (Alan): It’s pretty simple because we’re all still in high school. We set practice days like Wednesdays and Sundays. But we try to do as much as possible on Saturdays and during the summer, trying to squeeze things in. It’s not really hard for us because none of us are in after-school clubs or anything. This is pretty much what we’re into. This is pretty much what we do. So instead of playing sports or going to a different club, we just come to practice. People ask us that a lot, but it’s not as hard as it seems.

Teenlink: How does the band deal with individual goals, such as going off to college?

Blank Tape (Efrain): Basically, I was planning on going to FIU so I would be able to do the band and go to college. If the band doesn’t work out I still have college. The band has potential, so I’m really not too far from them. I want to study music and business.

Teenlink: How do you fund your projects?

Blank Tape (Lennon): Basically we just play shows and try to make money off them and sell [merchandise]. We are kind of broke, but we just try to pay where we can.

Teenlink: What was it like performing at the Sheila Witkin Memorial Reunion Concert? (A concert featuring several reunion bands from the 1980s, including The Kids with Johnny Depp. The event was in September at Club Cinema in Pompano Beach.)

Fonzie Brings The Shred
Fonzie Brings The Shred

Blank Tape (Fonzie): When we played the Sheila Witkin show, there were like 2,000 or 3,000 people there. The feeling you get when you’re there is so amazing. It’s cool playing with the local bands and all your friends. There were so many people and such a big stage. That feeling was something I have never experienced before. 
(Lennon): We got so much exposure from that. When you play shows from around here it’s pretty much the same bands and all of our friends. Every once in awhile they’ll bring new people. So we’re pretty much playing for the same people all the time.  When we did this, it was a completely new set of people. There were maybe three or four of our friends there, but other than them, there were a lot of people there. It really gave us a lot of exposure. Hopefully those people come out to our other shows, and we’ll be making money selling [merchandise] and stuff, and that will help us out a lot. 

Teenlink: How did you score such an amazing gig?

Blank Tape (Lennon): My dad plays guitar, and he has been in the music scene for a really, really long time, and he knows a lot of people. The show was actually the second annual show. They had one about a year and a half ago.  So they basically told my dad they needed a young band to play, and my dad’s band was playing, so he recommended us. They contacted us and asked us to play.

Teenlink: How important is it to become famous?

Blank Tape (Lennon): We wouldn’t really consider the goal becoming famous. We just want to get to a point where we can do this and it can support us. We don’t really care about playing arenas or making a trillion dollars. For us, it’s more about playing music and being able to make enough money to where we can afford to do that all the time and not get other jobs.

Teenlink: Has a taste of success changed you?

Blank Tape (Lennon): It has definitely motivated us. We were taking everything seriously before, but I mean things started rolling, and we started getting bigger shows like this [the Sheila Witkin Memorial Reunion Concert] and we started getting more exposure, and it kind of made it easier to get into it, and get motivated, because it’s not as frustrating as when things aren’t really happening. For us, we are all really young, and I know there are bands out there who have been doing it forever, and it’s really hard for them. So for us to get frustrated… we shouldn’t really get frustrated. It definitely motivated us, and gave us more confidence about the band.

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