GRANNY 4 BARREL - “It’s Kind Of Creepy, Slightly Comical, But Then You Get Kicked In The Nuts By It’”
October 17, 2017, 11 months ago
When the heck was the last time the rock and metal world was introduced to a new theatrical shock rocker? Marilyn Manson comes to mind - who caused quite a stir in the late ‘90s - but afterwards…who else? Well, if a chap who goes by the alias of Granny has his way, his band, Granny 4 Barrel, will certainly fill the void. Hailing from Upstate New York, the band combines elements of electro metal with some surprises (including fiddle!), and have recently issued a single/video via Mighty Loud, entitled “Freak Flag.” Granny recently spoke with BraveWords correspondent Greg Prato about the story behind the creation of the Granny character, “Freak Flag,” and what to expect at a Granny 4 Barrel performance.
BraveWords: Would you say the rock world is in need of a theatrical rock renaissance?
Granny: “I feel like it is. Yes. It’s been a while since anything like this has shown up. And I feel like there’s never been anything like this. I mean, you can compare it to things, but how often does an alter-ego old woman show up as a front-person in a rock band? It doesn’t happen very often. So, I think it’s necessary.”
BraveWords: I read that there is a specific movie that inspired the creation of the Granny character.
Granny: “Absolutely. That movie would be Burnt Offerings. It’s a ‘70s horror flick with Bette Davis, Oliver Reed, Burgess Meredith, and of course, Karen Black - the star. It’s about a summer home that the family rents out, and the only stipulation that the landlords ask is, ‘We’re going to give you a great deal on the house for the summer, but you’ve got to take care of our mother. She lives upstairs in the attic.’ And no one ever gets to see the mother except Karen Black. And as the story goes on, the house is basically an evil house, so it possessed Karen Black and the whole family goes through all kinds of turmoil and horror. And at the very end, when the husband tries to find the wife, because she’s always going upstairs, he opens the door…and then there’s that finale you can watch on YouTube. It’s like three minutes. I think it’s fantastic and it scares me to this day. I was like, ‘Imagine that person being a front-person in a rock band…’ It’s just kind of creepy. This Granny character has a whole horror background, but she represents more than just that.”
BraveWords: When did you start to assume the ‘Granny’ persona?
Granny: “I’ve played around with the character for years, and it actually started out as a little cartoon character - a stick figure. I didn’t actually call it Granny 4 Barrel at the time. But I just had that character in my head, always. Running scenarios with her. And then the first time we played a Halloween show a few years ago, we decided, ‘Why don’t we dress up and do something outrageous for Halloween?’ And I was like, ‘Well, I already know what I’m going to be.’ So, I assumed the persona of this character, and it was in its rough stages. I really liked how it felt and how the audience responded to it. I was like, ‘There’s something to this, because I really feel something here, and I like it a lot.’ And it’s kind of creepy, slightly comical, but then you get kicked in the nuts by it, and you’re like, ‘Wow!’ And you’re afraid of it…but you’re intrigued by it. So, I liked the contrast.”
BraveWords: Musically, how would you describe Granny 4 Barrel?
Granny: “I think that it’s a hybrid of influences. Everything from old school bands that I’ve been into - AC/DC, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden - all the way to anything modern. Music is just a constant influence, and it’s a constant inspiration. So, it’s an amalgam of all those bands. It’s a never-ending inspiration from so many bands. And then of course, the technicalities of it is it is a mixture of old-school guitar riffage, it’s got electronics, it’s got violin, it’s got loops, and high-energy, with a lot of attitude. There’s no constraints on what we do songwriting-wise. If it feels good, if it feels powerful, if it’s got high-energy, and it’s a good riff, then it’s a great starting point, so then we go with it.”
BraveWords: Is it true the band is not going to be releasing a full-length album, but rather, focusing on singles initially?
Granny: “To a point. I guess that depends on what Mighty Loud and Jesse Dupree help us decide. Because we started out with ‘Freak Flag,’ we know another single is coming down the pike, but it depends on how well the single does, and how long we work it. Because if it’s going really good, then they’re going to continue to work the single. I’m assuming that there will probably be two or three before a full album release.”
BraveWords: And the band recently filmed a video for the song "Freak Flag".
Granny: “We filmed the video in Nashville, with a director who is a good friend of mine, John Billings. We rented out a place called The Studio, which is an old church that has been renovated into a studio, and we put a casting call out to eccentric people that wanted to be able to express themselves. People who felt like they had a unique look and a unique talent. And we wanted to get everybody with that same sentiment in a room together, and just kind of celebrate that. That’s really what the video was. There wasn’t anything more conceptually, other than that. And it came out really, really good. We’re super-happy with the way it came out. And the best part about it, too, is when we brought all the folks in, of course, the song wasn’t released. So, these people knew they were there for a rock video, but they didn’t know the song - they didn’t know the music. It was kind of like this social experiment too, because when we first started to play the track through the sound system, you got to see immediately whether the song got a reaction from people. And it did. And it was a positive reaction. And that was great.”
BraveWords: What can fans expect from seeing Granny 4 Barrel live, and what are the touring plans?
Granny: “You’re going to see some horror shock rock - with a neo-Victorian look and feel. It’s got this horror vibe. It’s powerful. It’s full of energy and it’s intense. And as far as what you’re going to see in the future for Granny touring, there are multiple bands that have been mentioned, but in 2018, you’re going to see a busy schedule for Granny. We’re doing some shows throughout the fall season here - we’ll probably play some shows with Jackyl. We’ve got some shows that are starting to show up now. And we’re going to determine that with radio play, as well. So, we’re going to be like, ‘OK, here is a region that is really spinning the song. We’re going to go there.’”