Let the kids have something to be excited about. Theodore Grimm does the job well. Un-syncopated hot drum beats, twitchy and emotively fluid cultivated guitar sounds, gargantuan-ish cool bass moves, and sensitive raspy energetic vocals, amid an ever changing soundscape of influences from techno, post punk, 80’s alternative, emo, ska, and garage, all of which have culminated to something more unique than you know. Their songs are never boring but continuously exciting, offering a rare indulgence of changing parts. Always upbeat, beautifully crafted, sweet & tender reaching new beginnings and perfect endings.
Gravy met up with Theodore Grimm at a benefit show at a library in Succasunna, NJ.
Lenny: Who do we have here?
David: David - Vocals
Mark: I’m Mark, I play guitar.
Brian: Brian - drums and Will’s late.
David: Will’s a little bitch!
Mark: Put that on tape
Brian: Yeah make sure that’s on tape.
Lenny: How long did ago did Theodore Grimm come into existence?
Brian: October 2003. At a Halloween party we decided to name the band Theodore Grimm.
David: We used to go by a different name, but we threw a party and a friend who worked at a grave yard, he grabbed a grave stone for props or whatever and it said Theodore Grimm on it and we just decided to go with that. But these guys (Brian and Mark) have been jamming together for a long time.
Mark: Yeah we had another band and we took him on as a singer…
Samia: So Theodore Grimm is a name you just saw…
Brian: A sexual predator…
Samia: Really?? Naw….
Brian: Yeah we googled it and it came up as some guy from Connecticut or I forget which state but there’s a guy named Theodore Grimm who’s a sexual predator. And someone who is dead as well!
(laughs all around)
Lenny: So you guys started playing in high school?
Mark: We’ve been in a couple of bands before...
Brian: David is from Connecticut so we didn’t meet him until 2003.
David: I was in a couple of bands in Connecticut back when I was in high school. I moved here and then through a friend of a friend I ended up hooking up with these guys.
Brian: Not kissing just hanging out.
David: (joking) We kissed a little.
Brian: (chuckles) maybe these guys just not me.
David: It’s not gay if the lights are off. Actually edit that one.
Lenny: Who are your influences musically and otherwise?
Samia: What did you grow up listening to?
Brian: Rolling Stones, Beatles…
David: I think we were all infused in the whole punk rock scene.
Mark: Punk rock, hardcore…
Brain: We were in a ska band actually.
Samia: Yeah, you kinda sound ska a little bit…
Brian: Yeah we have a bouncy ska feel to it…we used to have a horn section back in another one of our bands...
David: Musically I’d say our influences all together are like Gang of Four type stuff, post-punk…
Lenny: Wire…bands like that…
David: I listen to a lot of James Chance and the Contortions. Vocally that’s what I’m trying to do, I guess.
Samia: Is this one of the weirdest show you had to play?
Brian: Not weird, just…
David: Just put into consideration that we are in a library next to a cemetery…
Mark: Last summer we went on a small tour and had a lot of shows that were…
Brian: ...that were terrible…this is good. We had a lot of shows that they couldn’t afford to pay us because they had to pay the electric bill kinda venues so this is fine.
Lenny: If you had to characterize your sound how would you describe it and how did you come up with your unique sound?
David: Usually when people ask us what we sound like it’s kinda tough to describe, I just say like dance-y rock’n’roll, because not a lot of people are into the same stuff that we’re into, like the no-wave scene.
Mark: We hate categorizing ourselves…
Brian: We kinda have a lot of problems when we play shows because not a lot of bands play the same music like we do. It’s kinda weird though because you got the one certain kids that like this kind of music, they want the harder music and we’re in between that and then they don’t know if they like it or not.
Mark: Especially like the area we’re from there are a lot of heavy heavy bands.
David: It’s a lot of hit or miss.
Brian: Heavy bands as opposed to mellow bands, or bands that are just too pop-y. Just a lot of clashes.
Samia: But you’re like a mixture of all that.
Brian: Yeah, we never find someone who is exactly like us so it’s hard to find other bands to just join us at every show, so like we can be like these guys mesh well with us, so, we’ll see what happens.
Lenny: What’s your song writing process, like one guy writes it? Or…
David: Usually Mark will come up with a melody and I’ll try to...
Brian: It’s kind like Mark will write the guitar part and I’ll come up with a drum beat we’ll sit there and jam it over and over and then Will will come and put in a bass part to it and David will just have lyrics in his head and he’ll just throw ‘em in to it.
Lenny: So it pretty much starts off with a guitar riff…
Brian: Mostly a guitar riff, yeah…most songs usually come from Mark, and obviously we all put our two cents in, but it starts with him. We couldn’t write songs without all four of us but he could write the basic song, but it wouldn’t be the same if it was just him writing all the parts, everyone’s influences make it like so much different.
Lenny: Alright each of you, what five bands are you listening to right now?
David: Right now, Silver Apples, Os Mutantes, Suicide, the New Rapture record is really really good, and Three 6 Mafia.
Brian: I guess I should go next…I guess let’s see, the Pete Bjorn song “Young folks” every day all day every day, um, what else do I really listen to, Funky Y2C by the Puppies, um…I don’t know I really don’t listen to very much, the new Affecionados (?) is pretty good, the new Burbis is pretty good, other than that I don’t really listen to very much…
Mark: It’s weird since I’m in a band I listen to music less now than when I wasn’t in a band.
Samia: Yeah that’ what most bands do they don’t listen anymore.
Mark: Yeah, nothing really interests me, I do like the New Rapture, Of Montreal, and actually I’ve been listening to Death Cab for Cutie a lot lately.
Brian: …edit that out…naw just kidding.
Mark: We basically just take our influence from everything and just kind of...
David: We all listen to the same styles
Brian: Yeah same styles, where everyone kinda finds one band and then we all like it.
Samia: Do you guys live together? Do you share an apartment?
Brian: I live in Nutley, he basically lives on our couch, Mark lives in Nutley in his own apartment and Will lives at his parent’s house. So, yea, we’re all sorta scattered, we don’t have our own place because nobody has jobs.
Lenny: What’s the most embarrassing CD in your collections?
David: I think it was the Airheads soundtrack. That’s actually the first CD I ever got. BMG music club. But it had Motorhead on it.
Brian: That’s like with the 11th cod you have to pay $30 for.
David: They sent it to me by mistake. I didn’t even have a cd player, I would just get tapes.
Brian: What would be the worse one, I don’t know. Like it has to be a record or a cd? I don’t have many cds.
Lenny: I’ll date myself and I’ll say my first record was Iron Maiden “Piece of Mind”.
Brian: My first record, the first vinyl I ever bought new was the Casualties. It came out with their 7”. But that’s really not the worse record I have. I’m trying to think… That would probably be like Herb Albert and the Tijuana Brass.There you go, that’s the worse record I own! I have 7000 copies.
Brian: Because they sell them at the Salvation Army and they practically give them to you so I actually have 8000 copies of it and then we just break them usually and put them in the oven.
Samia: Is that what you do at your crazy parties?
Brian: yeah yeah yeah
David: (in fake British (?) accent) Our sexy parties!
Samia: Tell us about your crazy parties. I hear about them from Tim.
Brian: I don’t know, we make crazy artwork and get really drunk.
David: I’m still strung out from last time…
Brian: and dance around.
Mark: Sometimes we actually throw records out the window...
Brian: Yeah sometimes we throw stuff out the window, break stuff.
Samia: Do you get raided?
Brian: No we get yelled at by the landlord.
David: When we were all living in Boonton we actually became friends with the cops, they would actually come, they knew us…
Brian: But then when we moved out they actually clapped and were happy we moved out because they were sick of coming to our house on a routine every night, and say “Guys you got to lower the music” and as soon they leave we make it loud again and go nuts. Yeah, we’ve had some bad neighbors lately.
David: Too many drugs, too much booze.
Brian: Yeah too many parties, all day everyday, basically. As long as we can afford it.
David: Actually we are probably going to have a party after this show.
Samia: How do you afford it if you don’t work?
Brian: We just invite other people to the house for the party and have them bring beer and then we drink it.
Samia: (joking) And they pay the rent to?
Brian: No I’ve been doing odd jobs, well you know I met you before I lost my job...
Mark: David is a world traveler.
David: I survive off of cigarettes... and alcohol.
Brian: He offers to pay a quarter for it when he doesn’t have a quarter.
David: I do have a quarter though, I gave Ray a quarter for a cigarette earlier.
Lenny: Where do you get your clothes and who cuts your hair?
Brian: Where do we get our clothes?
Lenny: It’s not my question.
Brian: I guess the Salvation Army.
David: I actually stole these pants from the Gap.
Brian: Yea, David likes to go into the Gap, put on the clothes and walk out.
David: I stole this jacket from Mark.
Brian: It’s not really much to brag about though! It’s got a giant rip right there!
David: Yea, I got into a fight with a cougar.
Samia: Do you think about your style or do you just throw it together?
Brian: Uhmm…well I just like wearing clothes that are not expensive.
David: I’m an attractive guy so I like to project that to everybody.
Brian: With your bad smell and dirty ripped clothes. And your fancy cologne. David’s fancy cologne for when he smells real bad.
David: 80 bucks.
David: Who cuts our hair? I cut hair.
Samia: Do you cut your own hair?
Samia: How cool.
Brian: I don’t even really cut my hair.
Mark: Lots of our friends are hairdressers; some of our girlfriends cut our hair.
Brian: We don’t have any special hair stylists yet. One day.
Mark: We take scissors to our own heads.
Brian: Yeah, that’s why we wear hats. When we’re drunk we try and cut it ourselves.
Lenny: Who does your show posters?
David: Will. Will actually did art for a couple of our show posters. Yeah, Brian did a lot of show posters. We just have a lot of friends that do posters for us.
Brian: Whoever wants to makes one makes one, if not we’ll do it. So it’s not really like one person, plus we haven’t really played in a while, so we haven’t had any big flyers lately. Just trying to get back into the swing of playing.
Samia: Can you talk about your new record?
Lenny: What label is it?
David: Prehistoric Media. It’s a newer label, its run by one of our friends, Pedro. The record is going to be called “Invisible Children” and hopefully it will be out and in stores by the end of July I would say.
Brian: July or August. Everything’s all set up; we got the distro set up.
Samia: Are you recording any songs?
Brian: We’re recording in June I believe. We’re doing a couple of new songs, re-recording songs that were never recorded the right way. Kinda just trying to make a full album. Get something out there that’s quality.
David: A full album. It should be like 10 or 11 tracks.
Brian: Yea, we just put out demos for the last 3 years.
Samia: Who’s doing the cover for the new record?
David: I am going to be doing the cover.
Brian: He actually got the concept from Tim (a mutual friend). Some (title???) picture he has on his myspace.
Samia: What about that picture of a prehistoric skeleton of a bird?
David: Oh the vulture, that’s actually a concept we had, our first record that we had was called “V is for Vultures,” and I did the artwork for that and we just stuck with it as a logo.
Brian: Will’s on his way, he’s actually going to make it tonight.
Samia: I wanted to ask you, I heard that you don’t play certain songs anymore, that you get sick of your songs.
Mark: Yeah, we’ve been concentrating on writing a lot of new songs...
David: Our newer stuff is sort of in a different direction...
Brian: We played songs, like a lot of songs on our original demos, we played them for the last three years straight, you know with band members changing we try to rework the songs to try and make them work with the new people. We had a keyboard player, we got rid of that, we had a new bass player we got to teach him stuff. We played the songs for so long before they were in the band, now that we are playing them still it just gets annoying.
Mark: We also went in a slightly different direction so...
Brian: We’re not that spazzy and experimental anymore that people really can’t dig it, it’s more like a set style, the songs are all kind of forming the same way.
Samia: Do you think your songs are better now?
Brian: They’re more easily listenable.
Samia: More mature?
Brian: Yea, it’s more mature
David: It’s a little more structured.
Brian: Yea, structured better. We definitely sat down and wrote stuff and talked more; kind of take each other’s opinions a little more. Back in the day it was like “no, I’ll play this and that’s it.”
Samia: The songs you have on your myspace, is that more of what you sound like now?
Mark: A lot of our new stuff hasn’t been recorded yet...
Brian: Yea, a lot of our newer stuff is in a newer vein even from that. Those songs are good, but we progressed and we’re trying to progress more from that so hopefully the new songs just take us to the next level, it’ll be like “those guys are a lot different but it’s a good step”.
Lenny: Are you guys really particular about your gear? Or is it gimme a guitar and amp.
Brian: Basically this guy...
Mark: I’m kinda particular…
Lenny: Are you a fender guy, a Gibson guy?
Mark: A Gibson more so... I just got a Les Paul, but I’m always looking to get more stuff…
Brian: Yea, I don’t care, I have a drum set that is just ancient so it don’t matter to me, it’s beat up it doesn’t sound good but when we play it works and plus I don’t have any money to buy a new one. David, he likes microphones that don’t zap him or electrocute him…
David: I actually think I chipped my tooth when we I was practicing with the microphone, just smashed my face with it...
Brian: Get another gold tooth put in.
Samia: Well thank you! That was good.