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Artist Spotlight: The Entrance Band

As the blues and folk-influenced solo artist Entrance, Maryland native Guy Blakeslee lived the life of a vagabond artist, traveling across the United States by car and flying to Europe where he often rode the continental railways solo. He never stayed anywhere for very long. In 2005, though, Blakeslee relocated to Los Angeles where he settled in Laurel Canyon, which he now calls his “first true home.”

“I had never been to Laurel Canyon before I started living there, I just knew about it and knew it was great,” says Blakeslee, noting the neighborhood’s history as a destination for musicians in the 1960s. “As soon as I arrived there, I started living there the same night, so I guess that it was meant to be.”

Blakeslee’s Laurel Canyon, though, isn’t the same storied neighborhood that once claimed artists like Joni Mitchell, Frank Zappa, and Jim Morrison as residents.

“There’s not a lot of music going on there and that’s kind of what I imagined,” he admits, “but as a place to be and an environment, it’s really comforting and inspiring to me.”

While Blakeslee isn’t about to add to the list of sonic tributes to the winding road connecting the San Fernando Valley to West Hollywood, the neighborhood has been something of a launch pad for Entrance’s latest incarnation, The Entrance Band.

While traveling across the country, Blakeslee did a stint in Chicago, where he befriended drummer Derek James, who was still in high school at the time, and Paz Lenchantin, a Southern California-based bassist who was working with the short-lived Smashing Pumpkins offshoot Zwan. After moving to Los Angeles, Blakeslee rekindled his friendship with Lenchantin and the two began traveling back and forth to Chicago to play with James. Eventually, James headed west and The Entrance Band was born.

The trio creates booming, hypnotic rock with deep Delta blues undertones that belies the band’s size. It is no small wonder then that The Entrance Band has been championed by Arthur, the noted counterculture periodical that was recently revived after its death in early 2007. The Entrance Band has played several Arthur-related events, including a fundraiser at the Silent Movie Theater in Los Angeles.

“We support each other however we can,” Blakeslee says of the relationship between the band and the magazine. “Before we ever had a band, I would tell people to read that magazine. Since we started the band, they have been really cool with us.”

The Entrance Band will play the inaugural event of Arthur Sunday Evenings at McCabe’s series on February 3. The group will be joined by White Rainbow and Winter Flowers.

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