Michael Grant: L.A. Guns, The Assassins and Beyond!
Meet Michael Grant – the massively talented lead shredder of the long running L.A. Guns. Also the front man for his very own band called Michael Grant & The Assassins, the ubiquitous musician is ready to conquer 2016 with a mighty sense of ferocity and conviction. Some may remember his previous outfit Endeverafter, whose underrated Razor & Tie effort Kiss Or Kill is well worth revisiting! We caught up with Michael Grant backstage at The Whisky just prior to their sold out show which kicked off a brand new year in the City of Angels. Read on…
How did you wind up in L.A. Guns?
It was kind of just by chance. I was rehearsing at the same place they were holding auditions for guitarists. I had a rehearsal for my band (Michael Grant & the Assassins) for a show that we were playing at The Viper Room that night and Phil Lewis saw me and he was kind of, I don’t know, enchanted or something, I mean, just from appearance perspective. He asked me if I played guitar. I was like, yeah, and he goes, “What kind of guitar?” I said, “Les Paul” and he goes “No, no, mate, like what kind of music do you play?” And I was like, “I can play pretty much whatever I hear.” And he goes, “Can you play guitar solo?” I was like, “A little bit, you know.” And he goes, “I’m from a band called L.A. Guns. Have you heard of us?” I was like, “I’ve definitely heard of you guys.” And he said, “Would you like to audition?” I was like, “Well, I don’t know any of you guy’s stuff and I have a show tonight and that’s why I’m having a rehearsal.” So, this was kind of like my ploy to get L.A. Guns to my show, you know? So I said, “You might not even like what you hear, so why don’t we do this? All you guys come to my show. I’ll put you on the list, set you up with a table at The Viper Room and if you like what you hear and like what you see then we can talk.” And they were totally cool with that. They all showed up to the show and they were all really cool. So that how it starts, that’s how it all started.
Describe your first show with L.A. Guns.
It was terrifying because they gave me about 6 hours to learn 16 songs. Like, 2 rehearsals, 3 hours each, 16 songs going out on the road and they kind of dropped it on me last minute. I didn’t grow up listening to L.A. Guns, so it wasn’t stuff I already knew or was familiar with. It was just like, “Oh, shit.” So, I just, you know practiced my ass off and made it happen.
What’s it like doing a crash course in L.A. Guns?
It was a little daunting. It was daunting, man. Because L.A. Guns’ stuff’s not easy, you know.
How close is L.A. Guns to recording new material?
I think we’re due this year. We’re already talking about making plans. I’ve already written a handful of tunes for L.A. Guns’ new record, so I think in 2016 if we don’t see the record coming out, we will at least see it being made, you know what I mean? So, it’s definitely in the works. We’ve already been talking about it. I’m excited to be part of L.A. Guns legacy.
Let’s talk about your other band, Endeverafter. When you look back on that band, what do you think of it now?
Yes. I love it. That’s my baby. Endeverafter is like an Almost Famous kind of experience for me where we reached these heights and these climbs and these peaks, and then just kind of dropped due to the same old story from, you know, people not getting along and circumstances and not, you know, being able to operate financially as a band was hard, too. But we had so many great opportunities and tours and we were on commercials and video games and movies and all kinds of really cool placements for our music. It’s definitely heartbreaking to look back on it, but, you know, you’ve got to just keep moving forward.
Do you think you’ll ever do any other Endeverafter music?
Possibly. It has been brought up a few times, a lot of times. At some point you kind of have to listen, people keep asking. It must be something people want. If there was a hot enough demand and we had support and it was an easy thing, I would totally be for it. But if it is something I have to work from the bottom up, I’m just not interested in that.
Let’s talk about Michael Grant & The Assassins, how did that come about?
That is pretty much like, just everything that’s in my head coming to fruition. It’s multi-genre, it’s not uniformed or anything like that. It’s not metal, it’s not rock and roll. It’s its own kind of hybrid, weird thing. It’s coming together nicely. I’ve got a good band behind me, we’re booking shows for 2016, putting out some new music in the summer. I’m excited to bring that to the world, because I haven’t really pushed for it. 2016, I’m definitely going to move forward even harder with The Assassins.
Select any two Michael Grant & The Assassins songs and what inspired the lyrics?
I like “Break Me With You.” That’s just about being so involved, so in love and so emotionally attached to somebody that you’re willing to compromise maybe things you believe in for them. Things you believe against, even. You overlook those or even sacrifice them for that person. If I break, you break. We’re in each other’s hands. There’s a vulnerability to that song I really like.
“Falling To The Never” is one that comes to mind. It’s actually a long a similar line, how forceful fate is and having to deal with that. Falling in love with all the things you swore to God you’d never fall in love with. That’s what “Falling To The Never” represents. Another sacrificial type of song, where you’re sacrificing these types of things for someone that you didn’t even expect to be falling in love with. Like, not even my type. [laughs] but at the core, man, that song is all about love.
These sound like deeply personal songs.
Yeah, [laughs] definitely. With Michael Grant and the Assassins you get to go to a deeper musical place. Deeper lyrical place, for me at least. It’s not all shred and rock cock goddesses. [laughs]
When we can expect some new music from you guys? Like on iTunes?
Summertime, June or July we’re looking to put something out. At least an EP with a couple of songs. So definitely have that to look forward to. It’ll be on Spotify, Amazon, Google Play — all that stuff.
If Michael Grant and the Assassins could tour with any band, either now or from the past, who and why?
I would tour with bands that we don’t even match with like Led Zeppelin, The Beatles. I would love to tour with The Beatles. Smashing Pumpkins in 1992. I wouldn’t mind a Lenny Kravitz, Michael Jackson thing. [laughs] Assassins and Manson, a lot of the people I would want to play with don’t even match the music type. But I think that’s what keeps shows exciting, when Deep Purple was playing with Metallica and Black Sabbath. It’s like, not really anywhere near each other but for some reason, it works.
What was your experience like playing the Cathouse Live show?
Besides it being too hot, it was a really great experience. It was hard for me because I had the flu and I was really out of it, on meds and just not feeling good. Plus, the heat wasn’t helping. I damn near passed out by the last song, I couldn’t find any water anywhere, I was dripping sweat all over my guitar, slipping on my frets. There was a boot camp aspect of it that was kind of cool. The revolving stage was also interesting. It started revolving as we were just finishing. That was fun. Besides that, everything was cool. It was like a homecoming for the bands that we usually play with on the road, so that was cool.
Do you have any messages for fans reading this who should check Michael Grant and the Assassins out?
Yeah — check it out, dig a little deeper and enjoy it. That’s all I gotta say.
(Review and Backstage Photo by Ken Morton – Live Photos by Jack Lue)