Friday, July 5, 2013

"ME"TAL 101 Presents Blackhouse's Kevin Grant

Class is in session. Come on in. This is "ME"TAL 101...kickassery is afoot

Subject: Kevin Grant

Position: Lead Vocalist
Alumni: Iron Oak, Judo Heirs, The Hidden, Gaskill, The Brain Dead Geniuses

HMT: First off, when did you start listening to heavy and aggressive music? Who inspired you the most to start singing?
Kevin Grant: I began listening to serious, heavy music when I was about 11 years old. I started Middle school during that year, and it was a tough school in a tough town, and I fell in with the skateboarders. Those were the toughest dudes around, real raw. I was an out of touch science nerd, but I was funny, and I knew I needed to make tough friends if I was gonna get by. And if you were a skateboarder at any age you hung with skateboarders of all ages, so it was like instant protection. I then learned all of my music through skateboarding, and all of these underground connections. It was all the same to us, like, Public Enemy was the same genre to me as The Smiths, or Slayer. You were either on the grid or off the grid, that's all. I learned all of my music through those dudes, but also through Thrasher magazine and skate videos. My start-out bands were the Dead Kennedy's, The Ramones and the Sex Pistols. I was extremely blessed as a youth to be surrounded by these things. I started my first band around that time, The Brain Dead Geniuses. We had a Muppet Babies drum kit and just made one-off cassette recordings.
I started singing probably around 2 years old. My Dad would take me to the bars in Fall River and I would sing "Take Me Out To The Ball Game" on the bar stools for all of his buddies. This was at The Corky Row Club, Billy's Cafe and the Columbus Cafe, from about 1977 to 1979.

HMT: You are an incredible vocalist and performer. What's the last thing you think of before you belt out the first note of the night.
KG: Thanks. I get terribly pumped before I play. I live for this sort of thing and I get sick thinking about it. I usually don't remember the show afterwards. I go away somewhere and just zone out. But beforehand I worry more than you would imagine. The idea of letting people down or destroying my rep horrifies me. I want to hang it up when I can't do this anymore. I never want to be an embarrassment. So as long as i can continue to kill it I know I have a right and a duty to be up there.

Kevin Grant in the zone.
HMT: As far as Heavy Metal goes, can you relate to any of the new bands out there today.
KG: No, I wouldn't even know who they are. I got into heavy music because I couldn't play by the rules very well, so I've never really been in a punk band, a metal band, a hardcore band, and I can't speak with authority on any of those styles of music. I won't toe those party lines, but I toe the human line. Run out and listen to everything, love life. I mostly listen to dub reggae.

HTM: What did you learn the most from working with Steve Albini on your previous recordings?
KG: He's a very nice man. We payed by the day, but he worked 17 hour days, and he works every day. He's a master of a dying art. He mics, records and edits on a 2 inch tape. He's extremely fast with his editing. When people slam him you should ask yourself if they have actually worked with him... because he's a very harmless sweetheart of a person.
Steve believes that a recording engineer should be like an electrician. You hire him to record your songs, and that's all. He's not there to help you, just to roll tape.

HTM: Your lyrics are really sophisticated. Where do you pull your subject matter from?
KG: I read constantly. I think lyrics are very important. If there are moments in my life when I question my own morals and ethics, I would like to be able to spin back to my lyrics and get some solace from them.
When I write songs I typically think of them as having been already written. When the band presents me with an instrumental piece of music I ask myself, "What are the words to this song? What is the melody?" I treat it as an already finished piece that I've been handed the karaoke track to. My job involves lots of listening and lots of translation but very little creation.

Blackhouse Triple Bass Attack
HTM: Do you consider yourself more of a Metal or Punk artist? Is there even a reason to categorize music these days?
KG: I got into punk/hardcore/metal/skateboarding because I hated rules. Anyone who is out there defending "real metal", "real hardcore", "real punk"-- well, they should
jump off a cliff. I'm not here to make friends.

HMT: So Kevin, you're playing with a new lineup in Blackhouse. How different is it playing without a guitarist and instead having three kickass bass players.
Ed Macomber, Blackhouse percussion
KG: I sort of assembled this band. I realized that any band which has a song where only bass, drums and vocals have a moment together rules..... so why not get rid of everything else?
It's not weird to me at all. What's weird to me is the idea of rebellious rockers sticking to a drums/bass/guitar/vocals format. Total cowards.

HMT: The first video for Blackhouse is really great. Any asprirations to get into acting someday?
KG: No.

Image still from Blackhouse "You Love Your War" Video
HMT: We're heading into the second half of 2013. What are your plans for the summer with Blackhouse?
KG: I wrote a book which will be released as a companion piece for our cd.

Thanks again Kevin, this has been a blast!

Time's up, Pencils down...That concludes our very 1st "ME"TAL 101 interview. 
Special thanks to all who've continued to support the blog by spreading the word, liking our facebook and sharing our links.

 BLACKHOUSE hails from New Bedford, Massachusetts.
Tim Catz, Mario Costa and Mike Means: Bass guitars.
Kevin Grant: vocals.
Ed Macomber: drums. 

For more information about BLACKHOUSE
Make sure to check out and purchase their tracks @
Hit them on their official facebook page 
All images used are property of Blackhouse

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