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Blaming Tim gets geek’d up

Computer nerd with social skills makes video games to complement band’s soundtrack



And Jesus said blessed are the geeks for they shall inherit the earth. Sounds cool to Blaming Tim's namesake Tim Johnson, who, like Bill Gates, counts on computers for his cabbage. Johnson's day job as an IBM engineer also frees up evenings to explore his passion for making music, videos and video games that enhance the Blaming Tim experience. "I like to think of myself as a geek," he says, "which is a nerd with social skills."

Blaming Tim started four years ago, after nasty girlfriend breakups brought Johnson and bassist Larry Copeland together in misery. The band name arose from a common thread running through Johnson's collection of Dear John letters. After dedicating to their old flames a five-song EP, Slowly Killing Me, they moved on to other subjects with the kind of goofy, off-kilter charm reminiscent of They Might Be Giants with a dash of Ben Folds' piano-driven pop.

In 2007, they released their full-length debut, Blaming Tim's Relapse Adventure. It coincided with the creation of a similarly titled video game modeled after the old Sega Genesis full-motion video vampire game Night Trap. To create it, they employed a collection of talent from their favorite haunt (Relapse Theatre) and wrote songs such as "Vampire Beach Party" to match. "What was supposed to be a two-week adventure turned into almost a year," recalls Johnson.

For their latest release, Blaming Tim vs. the Mechanical Robots from Outerspace, they created a video game similar to Defender by utilizing the green screen in Johnson's basement to shoot it. The resulting "Made for T.V. Movie" combines live action and coloring book animation (rotoscoping) – reminiscent of A-ha's classic video "Take On Me" – to tell a story similar to David Bowie's "Space Oddity," with deadly killer robots thrown in for good measure. Like the video, the music is playful, lighthearted fun. The band's CD release show features a kiosk where guests can play the video games.

"We want to be clever and kind of funny," Johnson jokes. "But not the kind of funny that you hear it twice and start to hate us."

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