2 years after discovering this thought provoking band and going through their 2 quality offerings (one self-titled EP and an amazing split record with Boston’s SPIRITS), it’s finally time to serve you a proper presentation of one of Vermont’s finest hardcore acts, GET A GRIP! The band’s guitarist Nick Grandchamp is one of the nicest people I have the privilege of chatting with and conveniently he’s been very kind to discuss his band, one of the finest DIY acts in in the northeastern part of the States. We caught up to talk about the past 5 years of their existence, their new record and using the band’s platform to support moral values that discuss anti-bullying, equality, rising from despair, escaping from trauma and politically based anger.
Formed in early 2011 in Rutland, Vermont, GET A GRIP has proven to be a major player in the Vermont and New England hardcore and punk scene. Through their hard work and dedication to all ages shows and a D.I.Y. outlook, the band has played shows with iconic acts such as BAD RELIGION, THE OFFSPRING, PENNYWISE, THE VANDALS, BANE, TRIAL and more. The band has a clear stance against bullying, injustice of all kinds, and self destruction amongst many other things. GET A GRIP has proven that the Green Mountain State has more to offer than just jam bands and maple syrup.
GET A GRIP is a Vermont hardcore band, pulling its influence from others such as TRIAL, OUTBREAK, early COMEBACKKID, GORILLABISCUITS, HAVEHEART and many others. These influences shine through in GAG’s fast, intense playing and high-powered vocals. / Speedowax
Hey there guys! Long time, no see! How are you? How’s GET A GRIP doing in 2016?
Hello Karol, GET A GRIP is alive and well in 2016. We are celebrating five years as a band this month and gearing up to hit the studio very soon to finally record our new full length record that’s been in the making for over a year now. We have been playing out a ton lately. Oh we also just got a new van, it used to belong to the Massachusetts State Police, we believe it was a prisoner transport van, it’s all black and most likely had a bunch of murderers in it at some point.
You’ve been running this band for over 5 years now. How has the Vermont punk rock and hardcore scene changed since the last decade and how have you guys evolved?
I think like most music scenes, you have highs and lows throughout the years and the Vermont music scene is no different, some years are better than others, it depends on so many things: how many local bands are around and playing out, how many touring bands decide to come this far north, how many people want to get off the internet for a few hours, how many people want to help promote the show…the list goes on. You really have to work hard to play in an active band around here, everything is a few hours away in Vermont and you really got to have drive and passion to play and make it work.
In reference to evolving, we have really just always tried to do whatever we could for the band and our sound even with all of us working 40+ hours a week at our jobs and having wives, and girlfriends and our personal life’s to deal with. We never set out to break any barriers musically with our band, we never set out to have all the bells and whistles or have the coolest merchandise, after five years our goal is still to play fast/heavy/loud music that’s honest and from the heart with no regrets.
Are there some decent local bands in the DIY community that has lasted this long or even longer that you’d like to promote here?
To my knowledge there are very few punk or hardcore bands in Vermont that have been as active or consistent as us in Vermont over the past five years but I am sure there is a few I am not thinking of.
However there is still lots of great Vermont bands that we would like to shows some love: CBRASNKE, REVERSER, ROUGH FRANCIS, MORNING COMES EARLY, BE AGGRESIVE, POLAROID LOVE, SINK OR SWIM, DOOM SERVICE, OVER SLEEPING, VOICES IN VAIN, DESTRUCTIVE NATURE, THIS TIME STARS FALL, THE PATH, CRIME SCENE.. lots more that I can’t think of right now, sorry if I left anyone out.
I’ve seen your latest Facebook entry on hardcore music and I must say it was very refreshing to see so many accurate reflections on this exceptional movement and form of art. What prompted you to share these thoughts?
“Hardcore is simplistic yet it’s so much more then a few power chords. Music is the result of the spirit. It is something sacred, more than the physical and it transcends more than we know. The point of hardcore is too cut out the excess and focus on the message, the heart, the core of everything. In some ways it shares beliefs with Buddhism. I believe hardcore is how you share who you are, not how cool you think you look. Everything that is superficial distracts you from the heart and feeds the ego. Get a grip has lasted 5 years because each of us feel that our music represents who we are. Maybe not entirely but a large degree none the less. We continue to play cuz it doesn’t feel right if we don’t, among many other reasons, and we realize there is no money in it, we will be physically and mentally tired, we will lose a lot of money, we most definitely will not always play great shows, and we will not be understood. We don’t care about any of that, and that’s why egos don’t last in local scenes. Egos play for fame and acknowledgement, they play for validation, for money, and to compete with others to be the “best”. The problem with ego is that it’s never fulfilled and when they realize they aren’t getting what they want they get upset and quit. It will destroy you. I play because I love hardcore. Don’t pay me, make me play first, I don’t care. At the end of the day we are equal, and I plan on doing my best to inspire and spread love”
I was thinking about many things that day about hardcore, any music scene, and I think it relates to any form of art. It appears to me that when most people talk to me about music they don’t quite understand what we (GET A GRIP) do. Some people think we’re rock stars, some people think we, and hardcore, are stupid and just noise. I feel like we are very misunderstood, even among music lovers. Hardcore is something you have to experience at a show. If you only listen to a song you miss most of the essence. You need to see the performance to witness the passion. These thoughts that I shared are a mix of viewpoints I tried to express to achieve understanding from others who may not get it. A second point to the message was too try and persuade others who share hardcore in a negative light to switch over and be more positive role models – Evan Edge
Photo: GET A GRIP by Big Heavy World Jim.
Ok, so let’s learn more about your new records, shall we? You have shared a new track earlier this year, but it kind of disappeared from your Bandcamp profile. What’s the status of the new record and when can we expect some new tunes from you guys?
We tracked some demos of the songs for the new record last year before SXSW and that track we released was one of those demos. When we got back we made the choice to take more time and rework a few songs and write a few more songs before going in and recording the final product. During this time I got married, bought a house and changed jobs, we all were going through a bunch of changes in our personal life and sadly the record got pushed back, however we have plans to go in very soon and finally record the songs we wanted.
Is there a central leitmotif for the new record? Did you have a certain concept in mind when writing songs for the record?
For this record we didn’t follow any specific guidelines. We wanted to continue to speak to our moral values that discuss anti-bullying, equality, rising from despair, escaping from trauma and politically based anger. One thing I’ve noticed in some of the new hardcore “hype” bands is that they promote and glorify nihilism and a “no future” type view which we don’t agree with.
Sonic-wise, what was the musical drive behind the new record?
We really wanted to make a fast paced record with heavy and thrashy parts mixed in, It’s kinda always been our goal but this record will definitely be out fastest and heaviest so far.
Ok buddy, so what are your next steps? Your band was chosen along with a couple of other artists from the state to represent Vermont in part of a Vermont Showcase show in Austin Texas for South by Southwest! Can you expound a bit more on this event and tell us how excited you were to be a part of it? Also, please tell us more about your future touring plans.
Playing SXSW last year and being chosen to be one of seven artist to represent Vermont was truly an honor , The show was a lot of fun and we met a lot of great people and witnessed so many great bands We hope to tour down that way again and everywhere as much as we can sometime in the future as long as we don’t all lose our jobs over it.
Lastly, what do you think of the current independent music industry and where do see it going? Also, where would you like to see GET A GRIP in another 5 years?
It’s nice to see that bigger labels have pretty much all died off for the most part. It has given more underground bands the chance to have some of the limelight but I think the huge problem of the current state of independent music is that playing live is slowly becoming a side thought to recording and printing profitable merchandise and selling it online. Now a days with most people’s attention span being very short, playing out is becoming a risk to some bands. The internet is becoming an easy outlet to hype and put overproduced records and gain “fans” without even stepping foot on stage at all, I think this is a disservice to the local scene and even your community.
GET A GRIP has always been about playing live as much as we can, because not only do we enjoy doing it but we feel it’s the only real way to capture what hardcore and punk is in its realist form. Recordings of punk and hardcore will never truly capture the life changing and brotherhood/sisterhood experiences that you get at live shows.
Cool. Thanks so much for your time and please be sure to keep in touch with IDIOTEQ. I’m here to share everything you’ll come up with :) Cheers from Warsaw!
Thank you for your time! Nothing but love from Vermont!