As I’ve reported in the past, Grizzlor are not big on chit-chat. They hole away, out of reach of most of humanity as much as they are able, write gigantic riffs, and then emerge every once in awhile to completely destroy people’s faces with their sonic negativity. It’s a beautiful thing. And honestly, when sharing a stage with them they become amicable, chill, and just pleased to have the opportunity to shred some eardrums.
So when it came time for the band to release their debut full length it was sort of a no-brainer to help them out. They were extremely proficient at getting most of the pieces together with little delay- they write songs quick, they have the skill to record themselves well, and have people lined up to create artwork, which is always in line with their bizarre sci-fi/annihilation theme.
However, this record almost did not come to be. The “Cycloptic” 7” had been out for a bit and was doing well. The band went on a couple tours around the East Coast and Midwest, and I had the good fortune to book them, as well as play a few shows with them while all this was going on. At the close of 2016 I had set up a two-day blowout right before New Years in Syracuse to get as many of the Hex Records-related bands in the same place to play some kick-ass shows. It had been in the works for most of the year and went through a few iterations before things were settled. Well, it turned out to not be as awesome of a thing as I had planned- hosting in an awesome venue that a lot of other people didn’t really care for, occurring right around the holidays which can be a hassle for many, and right in the snowiest city in America during a time of the year when it tends to snow a lot certainly caused some difficulties.
However, the Grizzlor guys were down to come out from Connecticut and play. I checked in with them regularly to ensure things were all good and they were all on board. And then the day they were supposed to play they just didn’t show up. They had somehow not fully worked out work schedules and missed the show. I think the overall frustration of having this thing I worked on for a long time have all these other problematic issues around it caused me to lose my cool as this was sort of the straw that broke the camel’s back. I felt a bit slighted and said I no longer wanted to release the Grizzlor full length. They were actually kind of understanding about it and right away I felt sort of bad.
About a month passed and I re-evaluated my stance and reached out gain to see if they still wanted me to release the record and they were cool with it. So fences mended, we got right down to business and within a couple months “Destructoid” came to fruition and this ridiculous beast of a record was unleashed upon the world. My band, Dialysis, and them even played a few more shows together in various spots once both our records came out (which was right around the same time in 2017).
By the end of the year though, things got a little quiet with Grizzlor and I was a bit unsure of what was going on. It turns out their drummer, John Mohr was having problems with his hands, which made it very difficult for him to continue playing drums. Grizzlor existed in quiet for some time as guitarist/vocalist/recording engineer Vic Dowgiallo continued writing music and searching out a solid replacement. Being a rather anti-social person and playing music that doesn’t appeal to a wide swath of humanity finding that right fit proved to be a considerable challenge. Eventually, by early 2019 a replacement was found, new songs were recorded (check out the “Coolness Factor 6” 7” on Learning Curve Records right now), and the band has once again taken to playing live shows.
This is the second part of the interview I did with Vic via e-mail, and true to character, the man keeps it brief. Good thing I got most of the explanation for this record out of the way before the interview right?
Would you say you started out more with recording, or playing guitar?
How did you pick up recording, like were you self-taught, or did you study how to do it, or apprentice somewhere?
Do you think that part (recording) was more out of not wanting to bother with hiring other people to record how you knew you wanted to sound, or just a useful interest?
A little of both, because to do it yourself you can work on things at whatever pace you want, and it is also nice to be able to be in control of your own project.
In terms of using a telephone instead of a microphone live what's the advantage of that and what was the reason behind doing that?
I use the telephone mic because you get a distorted vocal sound with no feedback.
There's definitely some Grizzlor stuff that is about the misery of living in the Northeast (or Connecticut), which I can certainly relate to. What are the positives of living in and around the Northeast/New England area?
Now that you have a drummer in place again do you think Grizzlor will be touring, or is it a situation where you can only do like weekends or quick regional stuff?
We will probably only be doing weekends and quick regional stuff, because we don’t have the money or life where we can drive around for weeks playing shitty shows for no reason.
test press artwork that I imagine speaks to the band's core fanbase
The band has tended to write pretty short and to-the-point songs. Was it tough coming up with an entire full-length?
No, those songs were probably already done by the time we talked about doing the record.
The band toured pretty regularly, but seemed to almost always tour with Bardus. What made them regular touring partners?
We always toured with them because they are cool dudes and are on the same page as we are. It's always good to tour around and play with bands that play music you enjoy watching and who are cool people you get along with. Makes it not suck as bad.
touring partners for life
At some point about a year after the record was released John had to leave the band. What happened with him and was it difficult to find a replacement?
John had some wrist issues that made playing drums difficult and didn't want to make it worse. Finding a replacement was extremely difficult, but doesn't matter because we have someone now that's working out very well.
I haven’t really felt as if Grizzlor fits into any particular sort of niche and you seem to be able to play with a wide variety of bands. Have there been particular groups or types of bands you feel more comfortable with, or times when you felt completely out of place playing a show?
No, no particular groups, just anything heavy and aggressive works. Never felt out of place, we just do our deal no matter what.
What’s been the best part of Grizzlor and what has been the worst?
The best part is hanging out, drinking beers, playing music and coming up with what the next record's going to be. Besides that, and the 30 minutes on stage, everything else is annoying.
Be on the lookout for Grizzlor continuing a path of destruction in a limited fashion because they don't really tour hard or anything. But they're out there playing shows again around the Northeast and I can only imagine they have a buttload of new songs coming along. In the meantime if you want to get yourself a copy of "Destructoid" on vinyl or CD... you know what's up. Get it cheap for the next week.