Interview: 40 Grit


by bushman

While on hold to speak with Chris the guitarist from the Bay Area’s own 40 Grit, the music on the Metal Blade telephone system just happened to be…40 Grit. I was treated to “Serving Time” and lamented that my on hold sessions with the telephone company didn’t host such heaviness. While Orange County and LA are getting all the credit for the ‘Nu Metal’ explosion, the heads up in San Francisco have been relentlessly churning on a heavy formula that is normally too loud for most mainstream outlets. 40 Grit seem to have found the middle ground between heavy riffage and a melodic intention that could find some of their material nipping at the heels of bands that have opened the door to more accessible mediums like popular radio and MTV. This conversation took place before noon the day after Halloween. Chris was hung and apologized for some of the numerous ‘huhs?’ and rambling tangents. The following is the more coherent moments….

Bushman: You created quite a resume while you were still unsigned (opening for many majors and being invited to the Dynamo Festival in Endogen Holland). How did all those accomplishments result in your signing to Metal Blade?
Chris: Our tour manager pretty much set that up. We were talking to labels and recording our three-song demo in Europe. Metal Blade loved it and they’re cool guys and that’s how we ended up with them.

B: 40 Grit seems to be getting tagged with that “Bay-area sound” label. Comfortable with that?
Chris: I guess since we are from here.

B: And does that really apply to 40 Grit?
Chris: Um, ah….I wouldn’t…ah, um….yeah. It’s not a put down or anything like that. I like it. I do know what people mean by “Bay-area sound”, I guess, but it’s hard for me to hear that because I’ve lived here my whole life. But I guess, like up in Sacramento, all the bands sound the same. They all sound like the Deftones.

B: What’s the best part of the scene your from?
Chris: The scene is like building itself back up. There’s a ton of bands coming around now that are coming up. When I was younger, the scene was happening. There was always a big show. Bands like Testament, they still help us out and keep the scene alive. They’ve been doing that for years. Machine Head have been doing the same thing. Hopefully it will keep growing so that we will be able to help it out.

B: What’s the worst part of the scene you’re from?
Chris: I think its biggest problem is its lacking clubs. There’s not enough all ages clubs.

B: There’s generally an angry vibe to 40 Grit. To what do you attribute that feeling?
Chris: Oh, I don’t know. I didn’ know there was an angry vibe. I wouldn’t consider it angry…in Jame’s lyrics, he doesn’t try to tell people how to think, its more like these are his views and the way he thinks, the way he feels…I wouldn’t consider it angry, I would consider it more or less ‘aggressive’.

B: The last couple of years have really seen a rise in the genre of heavy music. Where does 40 Grit fit into this new era of metal?

Chris: Hopefully right with all the other big ones. We have so many influences. I think we are carving our own path though.

B: Do you feel threatened as a musician by MP3 technology?
Chris: No not at all. I download stuff off of Napster all the time. I think its great for bands to get exposure. I think people still want the album if it’s an artist they like. I know I still do. I think it’s more like going to a record store and listening to the CD.

B: What’ the most messed up thing you’ve seen from the stage?
Chris: When we were in Europe watching SOD from the stage and we saw this girl getting crushed. Man, I felt so sorry for her. She was getting crushed between the barrier and the people. She passed out.

B: 40 Grit is well known for their live energy. Where does that come from?
Chris: Basically from our songs. I think we have a great vibe live. I think we come across different live than from the record. We’ve been told that. It seems live, it’s more intense.

B: If you could only get one channel of television, which one would it be?
Chris: It would have to be the Discovery Channel. I kinda like VH1 a lot to. I like the ‘Behind the Story’ ones.

B: First rock and roll show you ever went to?
Chris: Lynyrd Skynyrd. My first underground show was Attitude Adjustment and RKL.

B: What band made you want to become a musician?
Chris: Slayer.

B: What’s the most important truth you’ve learned as a musician that could help others?
Chris: Trust yourself.

B: Speaking of truth, is there any hope of it with our new election possibilities?
Chris: I doubt it.

B: Who is a Saint?
Chris: Kerry King

B: Who is a Sinner?
Chris: James (singer)

B: What is the coolest?
Chris: Big crowds

B: What is the lamest?
Chris: No crowds

B: Messages to the masses?
Chris: Please check out our website