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  INTERVIEW WITH OLLIE STYGALL OF GRIFTER

jools green

Jools Green



grifter

With their second full length album tucked well and truly under their belt, 'Return Of The Bearded Brethren', I caught up with Ollie Stygall, vocalist and guitarist of UK heavy rock trio Grifter to chat about, amongst other things, the new album.

Ollie, thanks for taking the time to chat with MetalTalk.

"Cheers Jools. As the late great Bob Hoskins once said, 'it's good to talk', and talking Metal seems as good a subject as any!"

Your second album, the rather excellent 'Return Of The Bearded Brethren', has just been unleashed on the unsuspecting public. How well has it been received and has it surpassed your expectations?

"It's officially released in America on August 12th and the rest of the world on the 18th so we haven't had the full impact of it yet but the reviews that we have had so far have been extremely positive which is a huge relief. We also had a week long pre-release sale for the die hards and the general opinion from those that have bought it seems to be that we've topped the first album by a long way.

Article continues below...

iron maiden



"It is nerve wracking when you put out a new release as you can never fully judge how people are going to respond, especially for a band like us that doesn't really sit comfortably in any particular scene. We all have a lot of confidence in this album but until you start hearing back from people it could all go horribly wrong!

"You tend to feel so close to what you do as a musician that getting a bad review is a bit like being told your child is ugly or retarded... fortunately people seem to unanimously be telling us our baby is beautiful and bouncing... so far!"

Musically the band has progressed a great deal since the self titled debut release. How do you see this progression?

"Well, the first album kind of came about by accident. We were offered the chance to do the 'Heavy Ripples' split double 7" by Ripple Music with Stone Axe, Mighty High and Sun Gods In Exile and we figured if we had to record something we'd just record everything we had that hadn't been released and figure out what to do with it later.

"As it turns out Ripple offered to release an album, literally when we'd finished the first day of recording, so it suddenly became an album. At the time it was basically us clearing house and getting everything down on tape so that was a collection of songs that had been written over a long period of time and a long period of our development as a band.

"This time round we'd had one album that had been a critical success so that put the pressure on, but also we knew that we were specifically writing for an album. I think this made us more focussed as we were aware of making an album that had a level of diversity that would keep the listeners' interest. We really put an emphasis into making sure the songs were the best they could be... we're very self critical and edit ourselves a lot to make sure we don't labour the point and keep things nice and concise (unlike my replies to interview questions!).

"We made sure the songs had good, memorable riffs, melodies and structures more so than we have in the past. I also think we were a lot more comfortable in the studio this time; we felt far more confident in the songs and our playing and it was our second time working with Rich Robinson so we knew how it was going to work before we went in. It was all recorded ridiculously quickly; all instruments in two days, all lead vocals in about three hours and all backing vocals in about two hours. I think that's also been a factor in keeping the album sound lively and not over worked."

The art work brought a smile to my face; it certainly epitomises the Grifter sense of humour and there have been a lot of positive comments about it. Who created it and is it based on anyone specific?

"When we came up with the album title it obviously had to have a beard somewhere on the cover. We did originally find a great piece of artwork but were denied permission to use it so had to look elsewhere. As luck would have it there was a chap at my work called Jamie Campbell who was working part time as a tattooist (he's since left my work to go full time). I'd seen some stuff he'd done and knew he was good so chanced my arm and asked if he fancied doing it and he said yes.

"It turns out he likes the heavy stuff anyway and loved our stuff so it was a match made in heaven. We showed him the original piece of art we had in mind and asked him to bear that in mind but do what he wanted... and the final result is magnificent, even better than we could have hoped for. I'm now planning to go to Jamie for some tattoo work.

"I don't think Jamie based it on anyone specific, at least I fucking hope he didn't base it on me as most people seem to think!!!! The character is actually a progression of the cartoon character that appeared on the 'High Unholy Mighty Rollin'' EP cover called Mikey The Cunt. If you look carefully you can see little nods to our past on there with the tattoo that refers to 'Good Day For Bad News' from the first album, though our drummer Foz thought is was a tribute to the band Bad News!"

Lyrically the album covers a broad spectrum of topics, including the obligatory "Guinness ode", 'Black Gold'. Is the task of the lyric writing a combined band effort or is just one band member responsible?

"I pretty much write all the lyrics as I'm the one who does the singing. It's not really a case that the other guys are excluded, it's more that as I come up with the melody lines I start slotting lyrics in to fit that then form those into themes and ideas for a song.

"Sometimes I'll have an idea for a subject and then shoe horn lyrics in to fit the music based on that. Sometimes the guys will suggest a line and we'll make that fit. Phil also has a habit of completely mishearing what I sing as we write stuff and sometimes what he thinks he's heard is better... or funnier than what I've written so it'll go in.

"Foz comes out with all the backing vocals so sometimes he'll work them around the words that are there or come up with lines to fit with what I'm singing. I'm generally careful, as I'm representing the band as a whole, not to impose my views on things that the other guys may not agree with, and if I can make them laugh then I know I'm on to a winner! If Phil had to write the lyrics I don't think we'd ever be able to release any of it!!!"

Who inspires Grifter musically or otherwise?

"We're all older guys and we've seen a lot of trends come and go... and played through a few of them... so we've kind of got to the point where our range of influences are pretty vast between the three of us so that, matched up with our complete lack of interest in being part of any scene, gives us a lot of freedom. Ultimately I think we influence ourselves when we get in a room and are pretty much given over to the power of the riff as well as making sure we hit a mighty groove... or rock like f**k!!!

"We know how we want to sound and know what kind of things get us moving so that's what we work to. We all listen to a ton of stuff from 70s rock, 80s Metal, thrash, grunge, hardcore punk, blues, ska, reggae, hip hop, indie, some modern stuff... etc. Bands we tend to agree on are Black Sabbath, Clutch, AC/DC, ZZ Top, Motorhead but the list could also include Status Quo, Mountain, Dead Kennedys, Jane's Addiction, Mudhoney, Metallica and loads of bands.

"Outside of music influence comes from all over the place, comedy, films, weird news stories, weird people, random phrases we hear, stupid conversations, an insular disregard of the outside world, beer... the usual."

Last year saw Grifter hitting the festivals. What tour plans do you have for 2014?

"Yeah, last year was great, in fact we had a good couple of years after the first album came out. In 2012 we played the first Desertfest, headlining the Black Heart stage one night and managed to fill the place despite overlapping with Orange Goblin on another stage, we toured with Orange Goblin as special guests and played the first Freak Valley Festival in Germany.

"Last year we did Bloodstock and Hard Rock Hell. Bloodstock was a complete blag. Somehow we'd ended up on their radar so I dropped Vicky the organiser a message asking if we could play and within ten minutes I was on the phone to her sorting it all out. We played the Sophie Lancaster stage which was particularly awesome. We were a bit of a wild card there as we don't think of ourselves as so much of a Metal band and more as a heavy rock and roll band so we didn't think we'd go down that well, but we played to a full tent on the Sunday lunch time and got an amazing reaction.

"This year has been a bit quieter as some family issues cropped up that put a hole in the middle of the year and we had to cancel some gigs but with the release of the album we're starting to get back into it. We play Hard Rock Hell again this year alongside bands such as W.A.S.P, Blue Oyster Cult, Michael Schenker, Diamond Head, Y&T etc.

"We'll hopefully be able to make up some of the gigs we had to cancel later this year and I think we'll be looking to do a lot more stuff next year, maybe a UK tour and definitely aiming to get back over to Europe, maybe to try and jump on some of the festivals going on over there and do some club gigs as we have various promoters willing to help us out, which is nice."

Expanding on that question, given the choice, is there anyone you would really love to do a tour with and why?

"At our level if you get offered something good you'd pretty much jump on it... unless we got offered a tour with Stryper or some shit like that!!! If we could pick and choose... well there would be plenty of options.

"We had a real blast playing with Orange Goblin and would love to go out with those guys at any time. We have a history with them going back to 1996 on and off and get on with them like a house on fire so that would be fun again.

"Clutch would be another one. They are definitely one band we all agree on and between us have seen countless times so the chance to get to play to their crowd, who I think would love us, as well as getting to see Clutch for free every night would be a bit of a dream.

"Black Spiders would also be a cool one. They're a great rock and roll band. We played with a band a few years ago called Dirty Blood that featured Ozzy and Pete from Black Spiders so we got chatting with them and they really seemed to like us, in fact I'm still in touch with Ozzy so who knows. It would be good to break out of the stoner rock thing a bit more often.

"Black Sabbath would also be an obvious one. As a band they mean more to me than any other band on the planet personally and musically so, even though they're knocking on a bit, it would be a huge thrill to play a) to a Sabbath crowd and b) to a massive crowd.

"Similarly Motorhead, ZZ Top and AC/DC before they all die. I think we'd be a good fit and it would be nice to play with our heroes.

"This list, however, could be exhaustive if I were to continue."

Any final comments?

"Firstly, thanks Jools for the interview, and also for the fantastic review of the album that MetalTalk published. It truly means a lot when something you've poured so much energy and heart into is so well received and regarded.

"Secondly, don't forget, the album is released worldwide on August 18th through Ripple Music (http://www.ripple-music.com) so please keep an eye out for that, check out our video for 'Princess Leia' on Youtube and hook up with us on Facebook where you can find all the up to date news on the band, links to download some of the older stuff and chat with us should you so wish.

"If you see us at a gig feel free to come and say hi and give us a hug. We're friendly chaps and we will always accept the offer of a pint!

Online:
www.facebook.com/grifterrock
http://grifterrock.bandcamp.com
http://grifter.bigcartel.com


8.8.14








iron maiden




 

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A sure fire way to brighten up your holiday season, Clutch will be bringing the festive cheer to four UK cities...

sos festival SOS FESTIVAL ANNOUNCES FIRST NINE BANDS FOR ITS' 10TH EDITION IN 2017
"It's great for us that another Manchester band has the kudos to headline, just as Absolva did us proud on our Friday in 2016..."

tyr TÝR EUROPEAN TOUR UNDER THREAT OVER WHALE CONTROVERSY
Animal rights sympathisers, supporters and activists are in overdrive over this one with some pretty nasty comments being directed towards Heri and the band...

fm FM ANNOUNCE 'INDISCREET 30' NEW ALBUM AND UK TOUR DATES
"We have been asked many times if we would consider re-recording some of these tracks using today's modern technology..."

red hot chili peppers WAS BREAKING NEWS: RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS ANNOUNCE FIRST UK TOUR FOR FIVE YEARS
This exciting run kicks off with two nights at London's O2 on 5th and 6th December and takes in dates in Glasgow, Birmingham and Manchester...

motorhead MOTÖRHEAD IMMORTALISED IN WEST HOLLYWOOD AS THE IRON MAIDENS HEAD STAR-STUDDED ULTIMATE JAM
"I think it looks a lot like him. It's a compelling image. I think it will offer some closure. I think Lemmy is finally home."

korn KORN UNVEIL NEW VIDEO FOR 'INSANE': DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME
'Insane' appears on Korn's latest and twelfth studio album 'The Serenity Of Suffering' which you can pre-order here...

status quo STATUS QUO REVEAL ARTWORK AND TRACKLISTING FOR 'AQUOSTIC II - THAT'S A FACT!'
This is the sound of a band living in the present, embracing the future, whilst cherishing their past...

bruce dickinson EXCLUSIVE: SCREAM FOR ME SARAJEVO FEATURING BRUCE DICKINSON SCOOPS SARAJEVO FILM FESTIVAL AWARDS
The audience surveyed rated the film 4.98 out of a total of 5.00 while Al Jazeera awarded it the Best Documentary out of twenty two entrants...

wakrat WATCH RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE'S TIM COMMERFORD START NEW NATION IN PARLIAMENT SQUARE ON VIDEO HERE
"The current system is oppressive and elitist, promoting racist ideologies in order to push a self-serving agenda..."

led zeppelin LED ZEPPELIN GIVE YOU AN INSIDE LOOK AT 'THE COMPLETE BBC SESSIONS' SUPER DELUXE
Musical highlights on this new collection include the debut of a long-lost radio session that has achieved near-mythic status among fans...

saxon SAXON PRESENT A HOARD OF LIVE GLORY IN A BOX OF VINYL GOLD
"This is not going to be around again and with exclusive art work too. Bring it on - I think we'll play some of these tracks on tour in the Autumn."

journey toto JOURNEY AND TOTO LIVE SPECTACULARS ON THE WAY IN SEPTEMBER
"When I first listened back, the thought omnipresent in my mind was simply, 'That's that raw, sizzling energy we had in high school!'"

geoff tate GEOFF TATE'S OPERATION MINDCRIME UNVEIL TWO NEW TRACKS
"With the key finally in his possession, "H" has everything he needs to finally launch his long awaited project called The New Reality. Or does he..."

big country BIG COUNTRY HEADING OUT ON 'THE SEER' 30th ANNIVERSARY TOUR
Big Country will be performing 'The Seer' in its entirety when tbey hit the road for a 24-date UK tour starting on September 14th...

metallica UK EXCLUSIVE: METALLICA RELEASE 'HARDWIRED' - NEW VIDEO RIGHT HERE
"Has it really been eight years? Doesn't feel like it! We’re obviously beyond psyched to share new tunes with all our friends out there via MetalTalk...

manowar WAS BREAKING NEWS: MANOWAR TICKETS ON SALE FOR THE FINAL BATTLE WORLD TOUR
The Kings Of Metal are abdicating and our very last Call To Arms is coming...

opeth OPETH DETAIL WEMBLEY ARENA SHOW
"We'll only play this set list three times on the whole world tour so if you miss it, you'll have missed it..."

tank UPDATED: TANK RELEASE DIGITAL DELUXE VERSIONS OF 'WAR MACHINE' AND 'WAR NATION'
"Doogies vocals were exactly suited to this period of Tank and we're extremely proud of what we created in these two albums."

pete way PETE WAY LEAVES HOSPITAL AFTER HEART ATTACK
"Pete Way and I would like to thank you all for your messages, kind thoughts and prayers..."

vader WAS BREAKING NEWS: VADER ANNOUNCE NOVEMBER LONDON GIG
Vader will be touring in support of their recently announced new studio album 'The Empire' which is due for release this autumn...

dead daisies THE DEAD DAISIES RELEASE NEW VIDEO FOR 'JOIN TOGETHER' AS 'MAKE SOME NOISE' CRASHES INTO WORLDWIDE CHARTS
"We want to thank all of our fans and friends around the world for the amazing support of our new record 'Make Some Noise'!"

bloodstock POLICE APPEAL FOR INFORMATION REGARDING SEXUAL ASSAULT AT BLOODSTOCK
"Police are appealing for anyone with information to get in touch and are asking people to share this appeal..."

guns n roses EXCLUSIVE: GUNS N' ROSES DOWNLOAD ANNOUNCEMENT ON THE WAY WITH AUSTRALIAN AND JAPANESE DATES CONFIRMED
Other possibles for the remaining two headline slots are Aerosmith, Def Leppard and Metallica...

roger dean URIAH HEEP, BUDGIE AND ATOMIC ROOSTER ARTISTS WORK TO BE IMMORTALISED ON STAMPS
Roger Dean has designed over 100 album covers for artists including Yes, Asia, London Symphony Orchestra, Nightwing, It Bites and Snafu.

evil scarecrow WAS BREAKING NEWS: EVIL SCARECROW ANNOUNCE 'ROCK YOU LIKE A HURRICANADO' TOUR
"We'll be bringing our biggest, silliest show yet along with some brand new, probably never heard before, music 'genius'..."

blaze bayley BLAZE BAYLEY TO BE FEATURED IN MULTI-PART CANADIAN DOCUMENTARY
"I'm excited to be returning to Canada and I look forward to meeting my fans, with the opportunity for them to be a part of the documentary."

last in line LAST IN LINE ADDED TO WINTER STORM LINE-UP
Winter Storm, the festival that will take place over the weekend of 25th and 26th November in Troon, South Ayrshire, have already announced an exciting line-up...

tony iommi GREAT NEWS FROM TONY IOMMI: CANCER IS IN REMISSION
"The chemotherapy and the follow-up treatment appear to have done the trick — but I'm aware that it could come back one day."

suicide silence SUICIDE SILENCE ANNOUNCE NOVEMBER 2016 UK TOUR
"Hold on to your butts cause we will be headbanging our way through your town! Bring your A game cause we will be bringing ours..."

ac dc AC/DC IN FULL FLIGHT: QUALITY LIMITED EDITION BOOK IS A MUST FOR COLLECTORS
All of the photographs have been carefully processed and digitally restored to optimise reproduction quality.

ozzy osbourne BOB DAISLEY FILES LAWSUIT AGAINST OZZY OSBOURNE, WHO RESPONDS
"We would have hoped that after 36 years that Mr Daisley would have lost his unhealthy personal obsession and resentment towards Mr Osbourne's success."

70 tons of metal 70000 TONS OF METAL: SIXTY BANDS, BARS THAT NEVER CLOSE AND MUCH MORE
Heavy Metal bands from around the globe playing concerts on four different stages...

lamb of god WAS BREAKING NEWS: LAMB OF GOD REVEAL NEW MUSIC VIDEO FOR 'EMBERS': MARK MORTON HAS SOME DEEPLY PERSONAL WORDS
"Nearly a decade after 'Walk With Me In Hell' it was happening yet again. Art was imitating life..."

iron maiden WAS BREAKING NEWS: IRON MAIDEN RELEASE "THANK YOU" VIDEO - WATCH IT HERE
Now it's break time for Iron Maiden but they will be back for a full scale UK Tour in 2017...

meat loaf WAS BREAKING NEWS: MEAT LOAF RELEASES SECOND TRACK FROM FORTHCOMING NEW ALBUM WITH JIM STEINMAN - LISTEN HERE
"Now psychologist and psychiatrists all over America are giving it to their patients..."

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