April 7, 2015

The Grip Weeds...

GripWeeds-1Holy crap! I read the press release but it didn’t register until now. The Grip Weeds new album, How I Won the War, is being released by the legendary Marty Scott who founded JEM Imports back in the seventies and supplied stores all over the US with imported albums. I was thinking of going to work for the head office of Licorice Pizza (Superior Music) back then and had lunch with Marty and Jim Greenwood one sunny afternoon at some flashy restaurant on the Strip. Marty and I ended up talking about a number of bands from Europe and the UK, some of which were either distributed by or signed to labels with JEM connections. I was this close to saying okay when…. well, I don’t know what the hell happened, but I didn’t do it. I liked Marty, though. We had a lot in common when it came to music. A lot.

Well, Marty is stepping back into the music business after a layoff of, what? Three or so decades? Maybe more? And the fact that he is stepping in with How I Won the War counts for a lot. Marty has always had an ear (two, actually) and knew how to us it (them).

For you old Grip Weeds fans, I could tell you that the band is still intact, both personnel and sound-wise, and that this is another step forward. I won’t, though, because the Weeds have stepped as much in the direction of The Sonics as they have the standard psych bands of the sixties and early seventies, which I believe a direct influence of John Lennon (who starred in the film of the same name). The twelve-string has been pretty much jettisoned for the harder edged garage-sounding guitar, the beat is harder and it is for the better. Think of the earlier band as The Beatles, the new one as Lennon-Ono. I distinctly remember writing that you should turn the older albums up but I don’t need to say that here. This album is recorded loud to be played loud, as those old promo stickers used to say.

This album is quite the surprise, and a pleasant one, in that the band sound stays intact while the power is amped up. The result is one ear-bending experience looking back to The War (which was won) and forward to The War (on the horizon). Just as we are in a perpetual state of war, we are in a perpetual state of music. Think about it. Then go listen to it. Then buy it. It is worth it.

The Grip Weeds