Justin Dylan Renney
Blue Skies for Black Hearts plays Saturday at Kilby Court.

Patrick Kearns, guitarist for Blue Skies for Black Hearts, has been to Kilby Court but has never played there.

"I was on a tech crew for a band that played there," said Kearns during a phone call from his home in Portland, Ore. "It's a great place, and I'm really looking forward to playing there."

Kearns, who grew up loving the Beatles, said everything he learned about songwriting came from the the iconic band.

"When I decided I wanted to play music, I got a bass and then switched to guitar. I learned how to play guitar from a guitar book of Beatles songs," he said.

"I learned melodies, songwriting and arranging from that book. And, even today, I still approach my own songwriting by studying that book. And the fact that they could write beautiful ballads and heavy loud rockers only added to the charm."

Kearns also confessed he likes the Kinks, as well as the left-of-center tunes of the Replacements and R.E.M.

"In fact, we listen to two satellite radio stations while touring," said Kearns. "One of underground garage stuff, and the other is the left-of-center stuff. Whoever is driving chooses the stations. I think the only time we don't listen to those stations is when our drummer (Paul Noel) drives. He gets hyped up when he hears '80s hair metal."

The hardest part of the job for the band, which includes guitarist Michael Lewis and bassist Kelly Simmons, is dealing with the high gas prices on the road.

"It's funny because we're at a place right now where we're making a little bit of money from the tour, but we watch it go back into the gas tank. It's funny because when compared to last year, we can make more money, but we're bringing home less."

Blue Skies for Black Hearts was originally a solo project for Kearns, but time has a way of changing things, he said.

"After the band I was in broke up, I wanted to do more pop stuff. And as people joined the group, we all had the same likes and ideas, except for Paul. But as time went on, the sound we liked a lot slowly bubbled to the surface. You can hear our influences."

Last year the band decided to collect vintage 45 records on tour.

"It was a way to inspire us to write the new album ('Serenades & Grenades')," said Kearns. "We were all thinking about the Brill-Building songwriter and Phil Spector. And that's what got us where we are now with the new album."

If you go

What: La Farsa, Mushman, Will Sartain, Blue Skies for Black Hearts, the Alligators

Where: Kilby Court, 741 S. Kilby Court (330 West)

When: Saturday, 7 p.m.

How much: $6

Phone: 364-3538

Web: www.kilbycourt.com

E-mail: [email protected]