Phot by Matt M. McKnight
The Black Tones welcome audiences into their musical family every time they take the stage. Once you see them live, you’ve then become a part of their extended sonic kin. Founded by twins Eva and Cedric Walker, the Seattle-based rock ‘n’ roll band has grown from humble beginnings in their grandmother’s basement to receiving recognition from Guitar World, AfroPunk, KEXP, American Songwriter, Under the Radar and NPR, which said, ”The Black Tones are redefining Seattle music.”
Over the past handful of years, the rock group has shared stages with Weezer, Mavis Staples, Death Cab for Cutie, Tank and the Bangas, Fishbone and many more. The group has also worked closely with Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready on several projects, including a cover of U2's "Pride (In the Name of Love)." And in 2019, The Black Tones released their debut LP, Cobain & Cornbread, which was engineered by the legendary Godfather of Grunge, Jack Endino.
That album garnered the group many accolades, including the rank of #17 on KEXP’s Best Albums of 2019 list. Not to be outdone, The Seattle Times dubbed the group one of the 15 Most Influential Artists of the 2010’s. In 2020 The Black Tones released a limited edition 7” (“Where Do We Go Now” b/w “The Devil & Grandma'') on McCready’s record label, HockyTalkter Records. And in 2022, the rock band caught the attention of Sub Pop Records, which released their single, “The End of Everything” b/w “Mr. Mines.”
While these accomplishments are lofty, Eva and Cedric keep their feet firmly on the ground, maintaining warmth and humility, joy and a sense of familial freedom. To wit, The Black Tones boast their own hate group-fighting 8-bit video game, “They Want Us Dead,” inspired by their hit single, “The Key of Black.” In the game, players can fight hate groups like the alt-right, slave owners and more as either Eva or Cedric, traveling back through time.
Truly, for the band, music is as much entertainment and expression as it is a chance at activism. To change the world—or even a single person’s perception of it—through songs is an honor for Eva and Cedric and one it does not take lightly. Whether singing songs about the danger black bodies incur daily, spiders in their childhood bedrooms or fantastical “ghetto spaceships,” The Black Tones' charisma and infectious blues-punk approach is exemplary, essential and the stuff of deep roots.