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The members of GREY CELL GREEN talk to us about the business of rock'n'roll
by Jason Savage - August 2001
Grey Cell Green are one of
today's many up and coming bands. Blending a variety of influences, these melodic masters have been tearing up the East Coast
club circuit with their volatile offerings. Still unsigned, they are on the verge of breaking it big and I'm happy to be in their corner. This
Manchester, CT-based quartet was the winner of "The Hartford Advocate Grand Band Slam 2000"
and has received radio airplay on major market stations including WCCC, WMRQ in
Connecticut and KROQ in New York. A CD release party is in the works as they prepare to unleash their second,
excellent demo entitled "Train of Thought" I had the opportunity to pick their brains
recently and I discovered a highly intelligent unit, excited about their chance to show the world what they
have to offer.
Rough Edge: Let's get the standard questions out of the way first. Who are your influences? Where do you draw ideas from for songwriting?
Rob Waldron (Bass): Billy Joel, Quicksand
Matt Glasser (Drums): Phil Collins, Queensryche
Curtis Cassarino (Vocals): Rush, Iron Maiden
(Guitar): Steve Vai, Alice In Chains
Matt Glasser: Ideas come from everywhere. Sometimes a good idea comes from a mistake when we are working things out in a jam. Other ideas stem from individual thoughts or riffs that someone might bring to the table!
Rough Edge: How did you guys find each other? Are you friends from way back or did you get together by answering an ad? What's the story? Also, where did you come up with the band's name?
Steve Matthews: Rob and I played with a different drummer and another guitarist years ago playing other music, but eventually, it came down to just Rob and myself. We wrote a few of the current tunes back then with just a drum machine. Later on, we came across Curtis by placing an ad in the local paper, and Matt, who I knew from college, had popped up nearly out of the blue about a year or so later. Since that point, it clicked and came to be what it is today.
Rob Waldron: The name came up in a "brainstorming" session. We were all tired and coming up with silly stupid names like "dead brain cells," "perverted brain cells" and stuff like that. Steve said "Blue Sky Black" and I said "Grey Cell Green," and it kinda stuck. We were "SLiP" and then we were going to be "Drudge," but we stuck with Grey Cell Green. The funny thing is, it's a reference to cancerous cells and the reference comes from an antibody created to kill a "super virus" that was impervious to penicillin. It was also a song from Ned's Atomic Dustbin. Either way we figured there aren't any bad references to the name and we try to be relatively positive so it seems to fit. People really seem to remember it too.
Rough Edge: Metal today seems to be overpopulated with clones that seem to "borrow" each other's sound. After listening to your demo and being very impressed, what do you think sets you apart from the rest of pack? Where do you fit in or should I say, do you want to fit in?
Rob Waldron: We don't really follow popular music trends, we play what we want to hear,
and we stick to the basics. Most importantly, we stand behind what we play. Every song goes through the
ringer several times before we can say we're happy and it's complete. A far as fitting in, we seemed
to have developed a relatively broad fan base of people who don't usually listen to heavier
music like us. All of our parents like our music, and not just because their babies are playing it. I think that
can be attributed to not following popular music trends. Music that lasts seems to be generally
straight forward, no gimmicks, and you can listen to it over and over again without
saying, okay, that's enough and it's a lot easier to get a melody stuck in your head as opposed to a rap or a scream.
Rough Edge: I realize that Grey Cell Green is just starting to get their "buzz" going so to speak, but tell the readers what has really changed in your lives ... I mean are you still stuck with day jobs? How have the fans reacted to what you have to offer?
Our priorities have changed. In the beginning, the band consisted of getting
together to practice the music, and play a few shows. Now we still play, obviously, but it has turned
into a business. We have to order, advertise, and sell merchandise. We have a street team, which is
not employed, per se, but we have to organize and mobilize our people to best promote the band.
We have to push our product to the radio stations and play radio politics. Music, even though it is
the end product of the band, has almost become less of a priority, because it's something we can all
do easily. We're still "newbies " in the business world. As for the fans, they have reacted with
overwhelming enthusiasm. I mentioned the street team earlier, everyone involved with that
volunteers their time to help us by passing out fliers and CDs, and by spreading the word about
GCG. People come up to us after every show and give some type of compliment. It's flattering to
know that so many people react so positively to what we do. And we love what we do.
Rough Edge: What national acts have you had the opportunity to open for? Do you have any interesting or wild stories to report from the road? Or say an embarrassing moment?
Steve Matthews: Nationals that we've opened for include Sebastian Bach, Local H, Stroke 9, Joydrop, Jimmie's Chicken Shack, Motley Crue, Fear Factory, Puya, Corrosion of Conformity, and Clutch.
Rob Waldron: I think I have the only embarrassing/stupid moment. We were playing in this small club and we did an hour and fifteen minute set. About 20 minutes into it I was jumping around on this tiny stage and my bass comes up and clocks me in the eye. I can see my vision going in my right eye and I can feel it swelling up so I turn to the drummer in the middle of the song and say, "can you see my eye?" His eyes get all big and he says, "you're cut!" So I go to wipe what I thought was sweat off and I have blood all over my hand. People brought ice and towels up but we kept playing the whole set. I kept jumping all over the place (and bleeding) and I even packed up all of my equipment too at the end. Our merchandising girl comes up to me and says, "Have you seen your eye yet?" and pulls out a mirror. I was in the hospital till 5:30am and got 9 stitches. The next day I couldn't even see out of it, but everyone was saying, "how rock'n'roll, he finished the set bleeding all over the place"! It was cool, but I felt really clumsy and stupid.
Rough Edge: Given all the knowledge you have received over the years, what do you think it takes to succeed in this brutal musical climate?
Drive, ambition, and unwavering support from each other, our families, and the
fans. Play what you love to hear, it will show through in the music, and in the live performance.
Rough Edge: Let's focus on some lighter subjects. What is an off day like for GCG? Do you have any hobbies or are you all on a softball or bowling team together? Have you developed significant friendships with each other beyond the band's inner circle?
Steve Matthews: There really isn't a day off. When we're not practicing, we're usually promoting the band somehow. Outside of the band, we're all tight, and we hang. I can say that my closest friends, besides my fiancée, are in the band. It's very important to have that relationship with your band mates because we spend a lot of time together, and we all have to be on the same page when it comes to what we're creating and promoting.
Rob Waldron: And we all have to have faith in each other's abilities. You are trusting them with a big part of your life and its direction.
Rough Edge: Influences aside, what band/bands or musician is your favorite? This could be any type or genre. What CD is currently being spun in your car or home stereo?
Curtis Cassarino: "O Brother, Where Art Thou" soundtrack
Matt Glasser: The local rock station
Rob Waldron: Incubus, Corey Hart, Tool, Handsome, Billy Joel, and GCG
Steve Matthews: The latest GCG mix really.
Rough Edge: I always like to ask these personal questions and they are fun. What is your favorite
Rob Waldron: Star Wars/The Simpsons.
Curtis Cassarino: Simpsons/PowerPC Girls.
Matt Glasser: Spiderman/Rad.
Steve Matthews: Bram Stoker's Dracula/ VH1's Behind the Music.
Rough Edge: Final question for 10 Trivia
Points: If you could elect anyone as President of the United States, past or present, dead or alive, who would that be and why?
Rob Waldron: Eisenhower because he got it done right the first time, he won the war, the economy was booming and he got things done.
Matt Glasser: Listen to "Freedom"
Curtis Cassarino: Sir Oliver Cromwell, why not?
Steve Matthews: Not George W.
Rough Edge: Let's throw in a bonus question for your fans. This could score you a free dinner or, on the other hand, require the employment of a food taster. What is your favorite food/candy or snack? (A&R Reps take note)
Steve Matthews: Pasta.
Curtis Cassarino: Skor Bar.
Rob Waldron: Edimame, sushi.
Matt Glasser: Brownies.
Thanks a lot guys for your time. We look forward to seeing you along the tour trail.
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Copyright © 2001 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights
Revised: 23 Aug 2016 22:57:09 -0400.