Persistence has been the key over the last decade and a half for Worcestershire stoner rock exponents Grizzleroot. Their steady progress over that time has garnered them a loyal and equally persistent cult following, which has been built on a reputation for guaranteed good time live shows and their, modest, but impressive body of studio work.
I sat down with band members Justin, Marcus, Charlie and Dijk to chat about whiskey takeaways, band member carry outs and running away from Genghis Khan.
You returned to playing live in the late summer, How important was that for the band?
Marcus – Very !! Live shows are what it’s all about for Grizzleroot. After being locked down for God knows how long, to be asked to play the Drunken Monkey Downsized Festival seemed unreal. To be back out doing what we do, to be reunited with friends and even something as basic as actual pints from an actual pub, wow! We were all just on a high all day long and for sometime after.
Charlie – There’s nothing better than getting out and about and playing some live shows! Seeing some old faces from the local scene, watching other bands that we know – it almost felt like we were living in a normal world again.
What was the experience like for you both as a band and personally?
Justin – Absolutely amazing! It was nice to finally show off a load of the new tracks. We got great feedback on those which was awesome. When you’ve been playing in a band this long it’s like part of you is missing when circumstances force you apart. I think of this band as family so it was mega to get back on stage with these guys.
Diyk – It was a great gig. Finally getting to play the album live, and a few old ones too, was a big buzz. Speaking personally and honestly though, I can’t remember that much of what happened after we played!
Marcus – Hahaha, yes, there is the possibility that some of us maybe got carried away – quite literally. But yeah, it definitely was a special moment for us. It also had the knock on effect of motivating us to get back to Tower Studios, where we rehearse, to really start moving the band forwards again.
Your long awaited album was released in June. Tell us more about that.
Marcus – Fantastic Machine was massive for us. After having recorded a couple of EPs, Up To No Good and Get To The Bar, we thought it was time to knuckle down to writing and releasing a full album. We went down to KJM studios in Hereford and, it has to be said, we loved every bit of it – especially all the whiskey takeaways!
Charlie – Yes, it was a long time coming but the best rides are always worth waiting for (laughs). Corin, our engineer at KJM is a great guy and, importantly, a great fit for both the band and what we were trying to achieve. Some of the album was actually written during recording and Corin was really open to playing around with the ideas we were coming up with. We had long talked about the idea of a concept album that tells a story from beginning to end. Corin’s more detached perspective helped every inch of the way. To say we’re happy with how it turned out is probably one of the great understatements of our time.
So what’s the storyline?
Justin – It’s pretty straightforward…ish. The concise version is that four friends, possibly us (winks), travel time and space in a vessel called The Fantastic Machine. On their journey they befriend extra-terrestrials, commune with an elemental and run away from Genghis Khan. So all in all, a pretty standard Tuesday for the Grizzle boys.
That sounds like a story that needs to be told, but why did we have to wait so long?
Marcus – Well, we’d just polished off Fantastic Machine when the pandemic happened and that was pretty devastating for Grizzleroot. Everything we planned for the album, release dates, promotion campaigns, live dates, everything just went down the tubes. With such restrictions on our potential audience for the album we opted to hold off on the whole thing. We decided to release the Area 4/20 lyric video through lock down to satisfy demand, which was cool. As time went on we all just wanted to get it out there and with no return of live music in sight we took the plunge and released it digitally.
Dijk – All the reviews and feed back we got was so positive. We even got a track featured on Weedian’s Trip to England podcast. To be featured alongside some really great bands from our genre was huge for us.
Charlie – Yes, we did wait a while to put it out and yes, Covid has been a massive douche, as anyone in a band knows but yes, the album may have taken a little less time if we’d drank less booze! Some of the bits we spent time on in the, errr, more messy sessions were cut once we sobered up.
How’s the rest of the year shaping up for you?
Justin – For the rest of the year we’ll be playing as many live shows as we can. We’ll be doing the best we can to getting some Fantastic Machine CDs produced and, fingers crossed, we hope to have some vinyl copies of the album available soon.
Dijk – Like everyone else though, we’re just hoping Covid doesn’t grind everything to a halt again.
All – Absolutely
And in 2022 Grizzleroot will be…..?
Justin – Hopefully getting some new material together and playing some more shows. There’s definitely some bands I’m looking forward to playing with and seeing again, especially our brothers over in the Broodmother camp ,we’ve missed those guys a lot!
Dijk – I would say definitely writing our next album and getting back in the studio for more drinking, eating takeaways, messing about and yes, a distinct possibility of doing some recording whilst we’re there too.
Find out more
- Get tickets for their gig on 11th November 2021
- Grizzleroot on Spotify
- Grizzleroot on Bandcamp
- Grizzleroot on Facebook