Introducing GROVES: Band On The Rise
Meet GROVES, an indie pop rocking band from Los Angeles ready to break out in an epic way. Now signed to MDDN Records, GROVES recently completed a short tour with Sleeptalk, with the final sold out performance taking place at The Echo on Sunset Blvd. In addition to their recent excursion with Sleeptalk, GROVES has also spent time on the road opening for none other than Boy George and Culture Club!
Right after their show at The Echo, GROVES‘ front man Stephen Salisbury chatted with Highwire Daze Online about their recent tour, spending time with the legendary Culture Club, their new song Dimes, a discussion of donuts, and other topics of intrigue. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in GROVES, and how long the band has been together.
My name is Stephen – I play guitar and sing in GROVES. And the band has been together for about two years. A lot of that time was spent just writing songs in a house together. I kind of think about that as when we played our first show together, so it’s been about two years.
Since I’ve been at NAMM all day, let’s focus on instruments for a minute. What is your music setup?
I have an American Fender Strat, which is like my baby – that’s like the guy I play every day. I have a Roland Jazz Chorus that’s a Roland JC120 – so it’s a solid state amp but it’s a twin – it’s just something that has such a unique and cool sound to it – like Johnny Marr and these really unique guys play it. It just has this really amazing clean and brightness to it that I’ve just fallen in love with. And it can handle crazy overdrive too. I use a Rat distortion pedal that’s really overdriven and kind of reminds me of a hair metal 80’s kind of thing – which my dad actually gave me the pedal when he used to play in bands back in the 80’s.
What band was your dad in back in the 80’s?
He was in a band called Cerebus back in the 80’s. They only put out one album and it really wasn’t anything crazy. It was pretty low key. But that’s kind of where I learned to play music was from him.
How did you tour with Sleeptalk go and what were some of the highlights?
I think the highlights have been just getting to know these guys – just forming a bond and a relationship. That’s something we always cherish when we tour with a band. It was only like a week long, so that’s something that’s kind of bittersweet. They’re great guys – and they’re just really dedicated – and it’s awesome to meet another band that’s “all in.” Who take it seriously, but not too seriously – they have fun and they just have everyone engaged. It’s really just about an experience with fans and people who want to experience the music. That’s really what it’s all about – and that’s been a highlight.
Select two songs by GROVES and what inspired the lyrics.
I think a lot of the lyrics resonate – because we wrote all these songs before we even played a show – so a lot of them are just about believing in yourself and really dedicating to something that you believe in. And I think that resonates a lot. But we played a new song tonight that’s called Dimes – and it’s just about being willing to sacrifice – whether it’s time, energy, relationships with people – and to do something that you really want to do.
What was the experience like touring with Boy George and Culture Club?
It was amazing! We learned a lot about ourselves and being in a band. We got close with George – and he was just such a supporter of us. He saw how much we cared – and he was the reason why we got to do that tour. He just happened to listen to a song of ours and wanted to take the band on the road. That was our first tour. For that to be our first experience as GROVES – it was amazing! It was incredible! We got to play some of the best shows I feel like probably I’ll ever get to play. I mean, hopefully not. At the same time, it was an amazing experience and it was something that I’ll never forget. We got to play Psycho Killer – which is a Talking Heads song – with Jerry Harrison from the Talking Heads – and Boy George sang it! It was just something that I’ll never forget. It gave us a lot of confidence and experience. I feel like we’d be pretty comfortable playing almost any stage and venue now – because one day you’re doing an outdoor amphitheater and the next day you’re doing an inside arena and then next day you’re doing an indoor theater. So it was a lot of different experiences, but we really became a tight knit band at that point.
I had to do a double take when I read in your bio you had actually toured with Culture Club. Who would have thought?
It was pretty wild. I never would have guessed that that would have happened. It was a bizarre pairing of the bands, but at the same time it was really special.
If your music was a donut, what kind would it be and why?
I think it would be a weird Neapolitan with sprinkles on it – because I feel our music has so many different flavors. It’s like hip hop beats with rock guitars with groovy bass licks. It’s like such a weird thing with pop vocals. It would probably be some weird Neapolitan donut that wouldn’t even taste good. (Much laughter)
And what’s up next for GROVES in the months ahead?
We are really focusing and honing on crafting new songs. We’re starting to play some live, which is real exciting for us. But we have a lot of demos and a lot of ideas that we’re really excited about. We’re just really going to take the next few months to really focus on writing the songs, completing the songs – and just be in the studio as much as we can. By the summer we want to be full force introducing new material, new content, and hit the road.
Stephen Salisbury (Vocals/Guitar)
Reid Guidry (Bass)
Will Smith (Drums)
(Interview and Photos by Ken Morton)
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