Ten years ago, almost to the day, Matt and I ran into each other in a Bethesda bar called The Barking Dog. We were joined by our very good mutual friend, JJ. I remember the conversation starting like any other, but then peaking my interest as Matt announced that he’d just bought (or found, or stolen) an electric guitar. I didn’t know he played, we’d known each other since college, but at the time were more friends of friends. I told him that I played as well, and that I had also recently procured a hand-me-down drum kit from a family friend, and had been fooling around with it. We both started to get excited, it had been years since I’d found anyone who 1) had a similar taste in music and 2) actually owned/could play an instrument. The three of us decided to try and get together and jam in my basement, thus starting the first iteration of Grubspoon.
If you recall, those days were some strange and scary times in the DC Area. Only a year had passed since the events of 9/11/2001. On September 5, 2002, a 55-year-old pizzeria owner was shot six times in Clinton, MD, starting the two month long string of sniper attacks by John Allen Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo. We practiced (and I lived) about 1/2 mile from the site of the shooting of 25-year-old Lori Ann Lewis-Rivera in downtown Kensington. I don’t know if those events did anything to shape Grubspoon’s sound, but they did inspire one of our first songs, called 5s.
Those first few months, as we got ready for our first show (that December, ironically at the Chriswanzukkah Festival hosted by The Barking Dog), the three of us practiced once or twice a week, for hours on end, sometimes until 1 or 2 in the morning, basically fueled by Bud Light and a love for noise. The volume was deafening, the cinder block walls in my basement didn’t exactly soak up the sound. The basement room where we practiced was formerly a laundry room, and was lit by a single light bulb hanging from the ceiling. We replaced the white bulb with a blue one, which ended up becoming on the cover of our first demo.
Those early days yielded some songs that we would end up playing pretty consistently for the next six years, namely Water, 5s, Static, And Now, MRBS (which later became Sabrina) and Fuck Virginia.