Paul Grocz - Ashes Are Nutritious

February 10, 2007

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Tell me a little bit about Ashes Are Nutritious.

Ashes Are Nutritious is our band and we got together in I think it was 2003 so I guess weíve been together for three years now. We just put out our first full length in November and we recorded it with Billy and Danny from Biohazard. It came out great. I think itís the coolest thing Iíve ever done. We all believe in our music a lot. We definitely think we do something different and interesting that not a lot of bands are into doing. Something that is our own thing I guess. I guess itís not a very trendy sound but I guess itís just what we feel like playing. Weíre trying to express ourselves and get our frustrations out. Our musical therapy so to speak. Weíre just trying to do our thing and write good music and play good music. I guess it gets frustrating sometimes when you feel like youíre almost there but youíre not. Weíve had a couple of guys bullshit us and say they were going to do this and that for us. False promises and stuff like that is part of the business I guess.

Yeah, youíll find that happening quite a bit in the music business. People are always out there to give you a bunch of shit and also to rip you off for a whole lot of money.

Weíve realized thatís all part of it. Weíre hoping that one day we can actually make a buck at it but who knows. Weíll just try and do our thing and see what happens.

You guys are described as a progressive, experimental rock band. Thatís a pretty apt description. I think itís great when people take music to a completely different level and do new stuff with it. Iíve heard a couple of other bands similar to yours and I enjoy that stuff.


You guys arenít afraid to try something different.

Yeah, thatís really the music we feel like playing like I said. I know what people are into these days and itís not but thatís just the music that seems right for us to play.

How did you guys all meet up and form a band?

The drummer and the bass player were jamming together for a while and the drummerís brother was the singer and they had a different guitar player. They were doing that for a while and then I guess they got rid of their guitar player and wanted a different guitar player. They had pretty much a whole full set of songs written and they were called Dive. So they had a full set of songs written as that band and when I came down, I was working at Guitar Center and I saw some ad they put up for a guitar player. I thought their influences were a combination of everything that I like. Everything from Tool to Jeff Buckley and all things in between. I thought these guys were into everything. I donít think Iíve ever answered one of those things before but I called them and we jammed out and started from there. I never actually learned any of their tunes from their band. Their songs were a little more like modern rock but pretty straight forward. I suggested that we just jam and see what happens. We took it from there and went in a completely different direction. Then the singer ended up quitting because he was going to get married and go to school. So we just jammed for about a year. We just wanted the perfect singer. We didnít want just anybody. We just wanted somebody that knew exactly what we wanted. It took us about a year and then we met Billy from a friend of a friend and he walked in. Weíre a very improvisational band. Thatís pretty much how we write our stuff. There isnít a lot of discussion about the songs or the music. We just get into a room together and play.

Thatís what it sounds like.

We get into a room together, make a bunch of noise, and eventually the noise makes sense into songs. We tried a bunch of different singers and a lot of them had a hard time just jumping in and singing something. They wanted to take it home and write some words to it. Billy walked in and we played him about three songs and we told him we didnít know if he wanted to come back later and he said ďno, letís go. Iím ready.Ē So that was it. He just jumped right in there and was able to just improve and come up with words and melodies almost instantly and we thought this guy was going to fit in great with us. Once we played our first show with him I was sold. Our singer is a natural. There are a lot of singers that arenít believable as the front man. Theyíre trying too hard or they look like theyíre posing. From our first show I thought that our singer was just a natural front man. It comes real easy to him.

You released your full length, Frustration +. How did you guys get hooked up with Billy and Danny from Biohazard?

We were rehearsing at a rehearsal studio and they had their room down the hall. When we first moved into that studio I didnít expect to see those guys too much. My landlord told us not to bother those guys and leave them alone and let them do their thing. They were really cool and always talking to us and saying whatís up. They listened to us. They heard our stuff through the walls and they dug it. We started talking and they said that whenever we were ready to record to let them know because they would like to work on it. We did our first three song EP with them and it was really great. Those guys are fun guys and professional and it was a really friendly, fun environment so we figured we want to do a full length there too because there was no pressure really. We just felt comfortable there. We did the full length there and it came out great.

I noticed that a lot of these guys from these really kickass bands after theyíve been playing for a while decide that they want to get involved in the production and engineering end of the records as well as playing on them.


Thatís really amazing. They basically know all the ends and outs. I talk to a lot of people who tell me theyíve had producers who had been in bands and producers who hadnít been and itís always the ones who have been in bands that really know whatís going on.

Yeah, those guys are great. They know what theyíre doing. Billy is a great guy to work with. He seemed like an animated fan at times. Heís heard something that he really liked and heíd be like ďguys, that was awesome. I love that.Ē We were like wow. Stuff like that. He just pumped up our confidence. When you feel good about what youíre doing it makes you play better and makes it come out better. It was really great for him to say things like that about us. From a guy who has been on a Warner Brothers major label deal and had a platinum record and this guy is telling us that weíre great. He told us we were going to make it and this and that. He said we were the best band heís heard in a while. That kind of stuff is awesome to hear.

Yeah, I interviewed him a while back. Heís just one of the most amazing down to earth honest people I think Iíve talked to in a long time.

Yeah, right. In that business too you have a lot of people whose heads are all full of themselves but Billyís a really cool guy.

Yeah, he sure is and his wife is awesome too. I understand your drummer used to be on a soap opera.

Yeah, he was on As The World Turns.

How did he get involved in that?

He was acting from the time he was a kid and he was actually on Broadway too. He was in Tommy on Broadway. He has an agent and the agent landed him the role and he was on it for a couple of years. Itís funny. He went from making $1,500 an episode to ďhey guys, can I borrow five bucks for gas?Ē Thatís how it always works, right?

Yes, it is I guess when you want to pursue something new. What got you into guitar playing?

I donít know. When I was in high school I was a big Guns Ní Roses fan. They were the first band that I was into and they were pretty much the only band that existed for a while. Then from that point Metallica and a lot of heavier stuff. The more I listened and itís all imagery and all that. The media and magazines definitely sell you on the idea of playing guitar. It just looks cool and maybe I just wanted to be cool. I donít know. Anyway I got into it and stuck with it.

Are there any particular songs on Frustration + that you enjoy playing live?

Yeah, ďPurgatoryĒ is probably my favorite song that we play. The whole song, the words, the vibe of it. I really like it a lot. Weíve got some really new stuff coming too.

They just put out their record but theyíve got some new stuff on the road. I always love it when people tell me that.

Well, you donít want to always play the same songs all the time. We wrote those songs a while ago. It takes a little while to get it together. The whole recording process and putting it on CD. Itís not a short one so by the time people finally hear your CD youíve heard it a million times already so you want to start playing some more stuff. I guess you donít want to play too much new stuff to where you donít let people get into your old stuff yet. Most bands only keep their sanity by keeping it fresh.

Yeah, thatís true. While it might be new to me itís old to whoever put it out.


When you guys go out to do gigs, where do you play?

Well, weíve played the Stone Pony a lot of times. Weíve gotten to play the Starlight Ballroom about two or three times. That was really cool. We do this place up in Connecticut that we play at pretty regularly called Cousin Larryís. They pretty much treat us better than we get treated in Jersey. Weíve played CBGBís, Continental, New Brunswick. Weíd like to spread out and play a little more wider range. Itís tough when you donít have a van. Our weakness is that we caravan to all the shows in a bunch of cars. Weíre the typical broke band so itís just how itís got to be I guess.

The next goal is to get a van.

Yeah, thatíd be great. Get a van. Yes.

Maybe you can take up a collection. Say that youíre a broke band and you need a van so if people can donate five dollars to PayPal. Some guy did that once. He wanted to go to college so he collected money on the Internet. You could always try that route.


Any other thoughts or comments?

If people are looking to hear something thatís from the heart and pretty genuine and honest and not fabricated or anything like that, want to hear some good music then check us out. Weíre just a sincere, honest band. Anybody that has struggled which is pretty much everybody, I think they can relate to what we do.

Ashes Are Nutritious