The Growlers are a five-piece band that believes in jamming and generous doses of reverb. I met up with them at their studio in Costa Mesa.
Your influences seem pretty vast. How does a typical Growlers song come together?
(Brooks) Very basically. Sometimes in a free jam with a riff, and then everybody adds from there. Sometimes Matt writes something separately. Sometimes weâ€™ll all just go into one room and jam all night, and record it. Thereâ€™s a lot of recordings where we just jam all night and have all these potential songs. When we do something like that, itâ€™s really free-form. Weâ€™ll sit on the ground and play bongos, and weird instruments.
You guys recently opened up for Bob Log the third.
Did you see any boob scotching going on?
(Scott) He played it.
But it was just the song, not the action?
(Brian) It was just the song. He does it himself.
(Brooks) Brian asked him and what did he say?
(Brian, imitating Bob Logâ€™s voice) Weâ€™ll do it and see if we can get some titties out there. (laughter)
(Scott) Yeah, it was mostly dudes at that place anyway.
How was that show?
(Brooks) It was good. Spaceland is rad. We didnâ€™t have a lot of people there because it was in LA. Bob Log had a whole bunch of beer in the back. We didnâ€™t know. We thought it was beer for everyone.
(Brian) I was giving out Bob Logâ€™s Heinekens. No, they were Beckâ€™s. Iâ€™m like â€œThereâ€™s tons of Beckâ€™s back here.â€ Brooks is like â€œThe lady said not to drink the Beckâ€™s.â€ There were two left. I bought a Bud and I gave it to Bob Log. (laughter) He was cool though.
(Brooks) We saw him without his helmet so we know what he looks like. That was weird. Heâ€™s a grandma, dude. He looks like a little old grandma.
On your Myspace, you mention a stiff-necked donkey producer.
(Brooks) Yeah. Do we give his name?
(Brian) I donâ€™t know, dude.
(Brooks) It was really cool for us. We needed that to happen. It gave us more time to make our album. We did it once, then we got to do it again. It was actually a really good thing. It was just a kid who had really good equipment and at the beginning it seemed like a good idea. He was just reallyâ€¦
(Brooks) He doesnâ€™t give a fuck about our record. He just wanted to use his stuff. It was a weird deal.
(Scott) It was like his science project.
(Brooks) We worked on the whole thing. Then itâ€™s finally over with, and itâ€™s so much relief. But the product was crap. Thatâ€™s not how you should make a record. By the time it was done, it was three weeks to get advertisements for it. Scott pulled it together. It was a hectic mess. We were returning equipment. Stuff was broken. Machines were all fucked. But it was worth it. Now we can record.
(Scott) Now itâ€™s kind of boring.
From this experience, what advice would you give to other bands?
(Brooks) A couple of things. Know youâ€™re ready to make a record. If youâ€™ve got eight songs and youâ€™re ready to make a record, make more and pick songs that youâ€™re really going to love. Because you have to put a lot of time into a song. You have to hear a song so many times that you almost hate it and you donâ€™t want to hear it for a while. But then when you hear that recording, youâ€™re like â€œI like this song.â€ You canâ€™t rush your record. The second thing is, pick wisely someone whoâ€™s producing your record. Not everyone can just record themselves. So weâ€™re lucky to have that. Itâ€™s hard to be in the studio if you donâ€™t really know what you want.
You mentioned also that youâ€™re kind of open to bands coming in and recording at your studio.
(Brooks) Yeah. Weâ€™re pretty picky. Weâ€™re not going to record some lame band.
What kind of bands are you looking to attract?
(Scott) Weâ€™ve got Alâ€™s band [Japanese Motors] and weâ€™ve got a band from Spain called The Longboards came over. Surf band, theyâ€™re really cool. I need to mix their stuff. Itâ€™s all recorded, it just needs to be mixed.
They just played around here somewhere.
(Brooks) They were here for a month, a couple months ago. Theyâ€™re a really big surf band, funny guys. Whole different world. Picking bands, itâ€™s the same with your record. You gotta be able to work with them because you gotta hear their songs a lot. Youâ€™re kicking it with the guys in the band. One fucking asshole could ruin it. We havenâ€™t experienced that yet.
What would you be doing if you werenâ€™t playing music?
(Brooks) Itâ€™s a big â€œI donâ€™t know.â€ I might still be getting drunk and doing nothing and surfing. Just doing jack shit. Thatâ€™s pretty much what I was doing.
(Scott) I donâ€™t know what Iâ€™d be doing. Iâ€™d be recording music.
(Brian) Iâ€™d be driving a forklift.
(Brooks) Thatâ€™s a tough question. Iâ€™d probably be the president of America.
(Brian) Iâ€™d probably go scuba diving.
(Miles) Iâ€™d be the puppetmaster controlling you.
Youâ€™d be like Karl Rove?
(Scott) Iâ€™d probably be surfing a lot more.
(Brooks) I wouldnâ€™t hang out with these fuckinâ€™ douchebags, thatâ€™s for sure. (laughter) Just kidding. Itâ€™s kind of time-consuming. Weâ€™re here every night, itâ€™s crazy. You just gotta keep writing songs until itâ€™s done.
WORLD - CULTURE
Copyright © 2010 Gary Schwind
Songs You're Really Going to Love
The Growlers discuss Bob Log III, boob scotch, stiff-necked donkey producers, and the right way to approach making an album.
Copyright © 2010 Gary Schwind
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