Distortion. Always start with distortion.
From the band…
I’m taking a break from my boring old, nostalgic ‘Looking Back‘ series to give y’all a little context into what this weekend means to us. This Saturday, September 15, Grubspoon will take the stage for the first time since June of 2006, and the first time in this area since earlier that same year. We will be playing Poolesville Day, for I believe the 3rd time as Grubspoon (4th overall, we played it as Sonic Cheetahs one year). I’d talk more about what we’ve been doing all this time, but that’s what my ‘Looking Back’ series is for. So you’ll just have to wait. Dammit.
So what can you expect? Well, our line up is a little different this time around. Instead of the 4-piece we were for most of our existence, we are now a 3-piece, with just Matt (bass/vox), Jeff (drums) and me (vox/guitar). We will be loud, we will scream and yell a little, we’ll probably be sweaty, and it will be awesome. Really awesome.
We’ll be playing an extended set, our typical Grubspoon club show setlist was about 10 tunes and lasted about 45-55 minutes. For Saturday, we have about 15 tunes planned, and they span our entire time as a band. It’s been really exciting to play through some of these again (a lot of which we had to play the original recordings and try to pick out again!). We’ve had to rework some of the tunes with one less instrument, but I think it’s made us focus on each tune’s strengths, and they are all sounding great. We evan plan to play a ‘new’ song. 🙂
Can’t wait to see everyone again, it’s been way too long! We go on at 11:30AM (that is not a misprint, we play in the morning) in front of Jamison’s Realty and the old Town Hall on Fisher Ave.
Our first ever show was in December 14, 2002. It was a holiday festival, called Chriswanzukkah, that Matt had been organizing as a fundraiser for Toys for Tots. JJ, Matt and I were still a three piece, I was singing and playing drums, Matt was singing and playing guitar and JJ was on bass. The set list only contained 4 songs: 5s, MRBS (early version of Sabrina), Water and Fuck Virginia. This was the first and only time (until next week) than Grubspoon performed as a 3-piece.
I came across some old video of that very show a few years ago and now have finally got around to posting it here. This is the first live performance of Fuck Virginia.
The band we opened for that night was Reticent Virgo, who became our very good friends, but at the time were nearing the end of their time together. Jim Schmidt, RV’s lead singer, is the one in the video giving the intro. RV’s other two members were Scott Carpenter (who played bass with us in the Sonic Cheetahs of Death) and Grubspoon’s eventual and current drummer, Jeff Stitely.
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.