Chicago’s Gross Pointe would fit like a glove sharing a stage with bands like FIDLAR or, say Parquet Courts (or even Parkay Quarts). Their February 2014 self-titled – 5-song EP showcases their brand of noisy rock and roll that sneers and swears with the best of the lo-fi straight-out-of-the-garage acts.
But like contemporaries Natural Child – it wouldn’t be a stretch to see them on stage at the legendary CBGBs with any of the late 70s rock and rollers – Johnny Thunders, Ramones, The Fleshtones, – they have that 70s swagger.
One listen to their latest release – Bad Seed – will hammer it home. Half Deadboys, half Heartbreakers – it’s a flawless little rocker – kind of like a fuzzed out Rocket From the Crypt. Their 4-song EP will be released this summer on Hozac Records.
Guitarist/vocalist Michael Santana took some time out to answer our questionnaire.
Michael Santana on guitar/vocals, Garrett Luczak on the drums, Justin Vittori on bass, and Brendan Griffin on leads.
People say we sound like….
Hmmmm…we’ve gotten a lot of different comparisons. Some have included: Bass Drum of Death, the Heartbreakers, or a cruddy version of the Stones.
We are originally from…
I’m from the city proper. Everyone else in the group is from the surrounding area. Though the band was formed here in the city. Chicago has a magnetic aura.
How did you become Gross Pointe and what’s with the name?
The name Gross Pointe stems from a duration of time in which a lot of the early songs were written. It was transitional struggle that seemed a bit like rock bottom. Gross Pointe was a play on a synonym for such a place, swapping letters to create a pseudo physical place for a crass head-trip. Therapeutically, the themes for a lot of early Gross Pointe tunes were pretty cynical.
What music has had an influence on your sound?
We gather influences from a lot of different genres. People tend to associate us as a garage/punk band. i don’t consider a punk rock band at heart though we definitely have been influenced by the likes of Richard Hell, Johnny Thunders, The Spits, Bad Brains, plenty of skate punk etc. I think i can collectively say other artists like the Sonics, Muddy Waters, Small Faces, Black Lips, The Kinks, and The Jam influence us sound wise. Poetically many more genres come into play so i hope to project that in further recordings/songs.
Tell us about the scene in Chicago…
I believe Chicago is full of people making fresh music with more risk involved than ever before. A lot of people in the rock n roll scene are very incestuous when it comes to how many bands they are in, but I think it helps build an even stronger communal sound, which seems to be growing. At the same time there is a scene for every genre here with plenty of room for collaboration or just plain inspiration. I’m thankful to be active in such a town.
Tell us about your live show…
Usually loud and energetic. we aim to get people movin’. Sometimes that gets us into hot water but it’s all in good fun.
What influences the band lyrically?
Relationships – that’s a big one. Current frustrations, confusions. just regular life shit. I try not to get too abstract. The best songs get written when I’m doing the least amount of playing and lot more living.
Our most memorable gig ever was….
We got to share a stage with Natural Child at the Empty Bottle back in November. That was particularly rad because those guys’ early records had a huge impact on me. Also, it was our first time playing at EB, my favorite venue in Chicago – we partied til 5 am and passed out on my living room floor.
If you could pick any time to travel back to for music, where would you go and what year would it be….
1959, NYC to watch a young Miles Davis. OR 1965, London to see the Stones
Growing up, at home we listened to…..
For me, it was a lot of Motown and smooth jazz, WNUA radio Chicago in my mom’s Pontiac.
What tunes are on heavy rotation for you…
Been listening to a lot of Brian Jonestown Massacre. Specifically the album “Take it From the Man!”
If you could open for any band right now who would that be and why?
Fidlar. To play to the type of audience they play for would be some rowdy fun. We could do some damage.
If you could only bring ONE record (only one and you all have to agree) in the tour van what would it be?
Woof. I’m not too assertive about that one. I’d step back and let the boys decide. they all have much better taste than i do.
When you’re not playing and have some time off, where could we find you…
With a feefee on the block.
The one thing we want you to remember while you’re listening to our music….
Let loose. Don’t bottle yourself up. Always do what makes you fuckin happy.
What’s up for 2015?
We got a 4 song EP coming out on Hozac Records this summer! Racking up some good shows in the coming months. Hopefully a tour in the fall to the east coast for CMJ. the rest is up in the air!