Erika Goldring, Getty Images The four members of Little Big Town will…
- Posted on Mar 9th 2010 3:14PM by Susan Doheny
You are presently recording your debut album, 'Crisis in Utopia,' due out in late spring. How is it going?
Pretty good. We're all excited about this CD. We're wrapping up preproduction, doing some rearranging, adding some harmonies. Danny Lohner, the guitarist for Nine Inch Nails, is the producer. He's like the sixth member of our band right now. He's superenergetic and full of good ideas. He has a hands-on digital approach. We're doing some file swapping and layering of sounds. We want the best sonics we can get. I like vinyl, and the analog approach, but there is no need for it right now with the state of digital recording.
How would you describe the sound of Holy Grail in your own words?
We like New Wave heavy metal. If you stick to true metal, there is no growth, so we are working on a blend of classic and modern. I like the sound coming from England from the period of 1978 to about 1983. The vocalists in the bands were bluesy like Motörhead, Judas Priest and Diamond Head. Then there was the whole next level of bands like Deep Purple, Rainbow, Black Sabbath and Mountain. I love the music from the '60s and '70s. I'd say my voice has a melodic and bluesy sound.
How did your band form?
It took awhile to get all the right guys together. Some of us came from White Wizard. We needed to find like-minded musicians that agreed on the direction we wanted to go in. James LaRue summed up the sound we are moving towards. We don't want to be retro or old-school purists. We want to break away from mainstream heavy metal by bridging the gap between old-school and modern. We want metal for the masses and to do what we want while making the music sound good. With a blend of old school and modern, we're able to create a broader canvas with really great sonics. We also needed guys with charisma.
How did you come up with the band's name?
Well, at first the name was a problem. We originally called ourselves Sorcerer, but it was taken by several other bands. I was reading about the Crusades and the Nights Templar. Then one night I saw a show on the History Channel about the rare chalice, the Holy Grail. I mentioned Holy Grail to the guys and they thought is was a great name. I did a little research to see if other bands were using it, as our attorney had advised us to do. We could use the name as long as other bands had never made a record under the name, toured with the name or used it in commerce.
Are you a Beatles or Stones band?
That's a hard one. I've listened to the Beatles since I was in the womb. The Beatles were great songwriters. The Stones have the street punk, biker persona. That street vibe was adapted by Iron Maiden later. The Beatles are softer and the Stones are rougher, but I like them for both reasons. The Beatles went through their psychedelic phase. That makes me think of the top five bands: the Stones, the Beatles, the Who, the Kinks and the Small Faces.
Do you have a festival survival kit?
When we're performing, it's good to know our limits. You have to know your body well enough to know what it can and can't handle. I might eat less and drink less before a show. I'm the only vegetarian in the group and so the right protein is important to me. I prefer healthy foods. I drink lots of water and take vitamins. I also drink Throat Coat tea. For a show, I might have a whiskey and soda or a beer just to loosen up. Advil thins the blood and reduces inflammation, so I take it before a show to relax the vocal cords. I take apple cider vinegar if I get a soar throat. I stretch and do yoga.
Do you have a musical guilty pleasure?
We like music with a good groove, rhythm and a good hook. I like to listen to Die Antwoord. He has this French-German sound and reminds me of rap in the 80s with an East coast hip-hop sound like Vanilla Ice.
Has your band had any crazy experiences on tour?
[Laughs] A couple of fans followed us from New Mexico to Las Vegas. We had fun the first night we met but were too tired to keep the party going in Vegas. Generally, when we tour we're really surprised at how much the metalheads are into the music. We played in places like Fargo, North Dakota, and Montana. The audiences reacted like they were really into us and then bought the EP. We thought that was pretty cool since they hadn't necessarily heard us before.
Do you have a song that you are proud of?
I'd have to say 'Call of Valhalla.' It started out as a '70s Thin Lizzy concept. I gave it to LaRue and he turned it into a modern, catchy-sounding song with great riffing. That gave us a taste of what it was going to be like to collaborate together as musicians.
Are you going to record a love song?
Yes, you might call it a love/hate song. We had a song called 'Switch Blade,' which we don't really do anymore. We're working on one that is more like: "I love you but I'm going on tour for three years baby, so lets see where we are at after that."
Susan Doheny is a contributor from Seed.com. Learn how you can contribute here.