The Blanks

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The Blanks


Taking a pop song and arranging it into four-part harmony seems like it must take quite a bit of skill, and I ask group member Sam Lloyd – who played Ted on the show, and sings baritone in the group – how long it actually takes. “You know, it depends,” he says. “If we have to get a song together, which is what Scrubs required, we can do it in a couple of days, but if we don’t have to do it, it can take years.” The group, he tells me, are a bad combination of lazy and perfectionist. “In all the years we were together before Scrubs, we’d probably only done about three or four songs, but after getting on that show, they would call us up on Friday and say okay, you’re going to do this song and this song and some of this song and we’re shooting on Monday, so we’d be forced to get it together in that amount of time. Probably the fear of failure on national television is what would drive us.”

Lloyd has nothing but fond memories of Scrubs, and tells me that, from a creative perspective, the show was a dream to work on. “The creator Bill Lawrence was very encouraging,” he says. “Once you did what was written on the page, he would ask us if we had any ideas, and everybody could put their two cents in,” Lloyd says. “If it was a funny idea, he didn’t care where it came from, whether it was one of the crew people or an actor, or even a Worthless Peon. Being on the show was great fun. We would come up for our scenes, and Bill would say, okay, everybody be quiet, let’s hear what The Blanks have got. We would sing our song, usually that we had learned the night before, and just the reaction from the cast and crew was just so great. Everyone was so positive and encouraging. It was a great, great show and a great thing to be part of.”

The Blanks’ live show is a mixture of music and comedy – “I believe the kids call it a ‘mash-up’”, Lloyd says with a laugh. “We’ve heard that in some countries, an hour and a half of acapella is considered torture, so we wanted to add a little something extra,” Lloyd explains. “We wanted to do something that would be entertaining whether you’re an acapella fan or not. It’s equal parts music and comedy – there are even times during the songs when there’s something entertaining besides just the voices.” Given that the band will be performing in the land down under, will they be pandering to Australian audiences by adding any Aussie songs to their repertoire? “We will be pandering, but it won’t be via music,” Lloyd says. “We’ll be dressing like Kylie Minogue. To see Philip in the gold hot pants is quite a sight.”

With four parts in each song but only one lead vocal, I assume that competition in The Blanks must get pretty fierce, something which Lloyd confirms. “We do actually fight over who gets to sing lead,” he says, with tongue possibly in cheek. “Usually it’s a cage match. What we do is we have a cage called the ‘Lead Singer Cage’. We get oiled up and we jump in there and go for it. Luckily, I usually win,” he says. “I’m the bad boy of a cappella. I’m actually the brutal dictator of the group – we do not allow any recording equipment backstage or on the tour bus,  so nobody can ever know what goes on behind closed doors.”

In truth, Lloyd eventually admits, the process is slightly more democratic than that. “On Scrubs, because I played Ted, I usually got to do the lead,” he admits, “but when it comes to The Blanks and our live show, we do some originals and some covers, and generally, the lead depends on who has the best voice, who suits the song.”