È tutto vero! Uno dei gruppi culto del garage-revival anni ottanta toccherà il sacro suolo di Salsomaggiore per diffondere il verbo del sixties-punk in tutta la sua primitiva purezza. Insieme ad Unclaimed, Fuzztones, Gravedigger V, Morlocks e Chesterfield Kings, nei dorati mid-eighties i Gruesomes scrivevano pagine indelebili della storia del garage con album memorabili come Tyrants Of Teen Trash, Gruesomania e Hey!, all’insegna di suoni gutturali e voci cartavetrate. La quintessenza del teen-punk sta in quei solchi e ritrovarli oggi in carne ed ossa sul palco più ambito dai sixties-maniacs è un onore, oltre che un piacere. Dal gelo di Montreal alla calda estate salsese, per regalare alla storia del Festival Beat un'altra serata memorabile.
The Gruesomes: Canada’s Legendary Garage Band
The Gruesomes are a Canadian garage-rock band that began in 1985 and soon established themselves as pioneers and pacesetters in the genre. Through decades of touring and recording they have gained a loyal fan following and critical respect in the underground rock scenes of the Americas and Europe. The Gruesomes are still going strong, thrilling fans with live appearances around the world.
The Gruesomes formed in Montreal, Canada in 1985, with all members still in their teens: Bobby Beaton (guitar/vocals), Gerry Alvarez (guitar/vocals), John Davis (bass) and his brother Eric Davis (drums). With zero musical experience, they had something even better: a keen sense of how a band should look and sound gained from hours thumbing through the stacks in record stores looking for obscure songs of the 60s, and especially the hidden gems from the original garage music explosion of 1966 (‘The Summer of Hate’).
The band had a fun and irreverent attitude and an attention to detail in look and sound that would pay off by setting them apart from their 1980's contemporaries, bands that could play well enough but had no style, no stagecraft. The band quickly developed a large following in Montreal, delighting fans as much with their hard-driving garage tunes and their authentic 60's look as with their witty stage banter and kooky antics (who else would order a pizza onstage?). The band’s Halloween shows in particular were a special treat, schlock tributes to horror themes that featured a B-movie style, complete with Dracula capes, mummies, and coffins.
The Gruesomes gained wider recognition with the release of their 1986 debut LP, Tyrants Of Teen Trash on OG records. This period also saw the band playing opening slots for many touring acts coming through Montreal, as well as their first shows outside their hometown, with regular weekend trips that would make them one of the most popular club acts in Toronto, Canada's largest city.
In 1987, John ‘Jed’ Knoll replaced Eric on drums, making his debut at the band’s first show outside of Canada (in New York City of all places!). This period also saw the band doing more touring and steadily becoming college radio favourites. When a serious van accident that summer sidelined the group’s plans for a cross-Canada tour, they stayed home instead to write and record their second album, Gruesomania (1987). The record featured a more mature songwriting style, incorporating some of the 60's beat and R&B music the band had now come to love, while staying true to their garage-punk roots.
In 1988 The Gruesomes really picked up the pace, with their first Canada-wide tours and their third album, Hey!, a more polished effort that blended their bedrock garage sound with a more refined pop feel. The 1988-1989 period was a very busy one for the band, with tours that took them five times across the vast expanse of Canada to sold-out shows in clubs and colleges. There were also more forays into America, with the New York City garage scene proving to be particularly receptive to the band. There was media attention and critical buzz as the band made numerous appearances on TV and radio. The video for “Hey!' [a salute to the Monkees] received heavy play on MuchMusic, Canada’s national music-video TV channel.
The end? (not really)...
By 1990 the Gruesomes had achieved an enviable level of success for an indie band and they figured they had gone about as far as they could go. Time to hang up their guitars and call it a day. But there was more to come...
The beginning (again)...
Flash forward to the turn of the millennium. In late 1999, the band called up Toronto’s legendary live music venue, the Horseshoe Tavern, to see if there was any interest in a Gruesomes reunion. Well, it turns out there was, because the resulting show, in March 2000, broke the Horseshoe’s attendance records. Energized by the reception and unsatisfied with just playing their old hits, the Gruesomes went back into the studio to make a new album, Cave-In! – a tour de force of garage rock and roll that dropped in the summer of 2000.
Cave-in! is the band’s favourite album because they were able to put into it everything they had learned over the years, including improved chops, stronger songwriting, and better production - without losing the spirit of ’66 that had always set the band apart. Whether it’s the driving fuzz-soaked guitar riff of the title track or the melodic R&B sounds of Love Got in the Way or the pulsating psychedelic groove of Hip-No-Tyzed, Cave-In! is The Gruesomes at the top of their game.
The early 2000s saw The Gruesomes - forever the Tyrants of Teen Trash - continuing to bring their trashy sound and style to the fans. They played the venerable Cavestomp in New York City as well as several shows for ‘Little Steven’ Van Zandt of E-Street Band and Sopranos fame. This was the period when boys embarked on their first-ever European tour, playing shows in Germany, Italy, Belgium, and Switzerland – all to the delight of fans, many of them having waited years to see their favourite band.
In 2003, prestigious record label Sundazed released Gruesomology 1985-89, a
retrospective of the band with songs chosen by the band to be their best.
The Gruesomes continue to play shows for fans who want to see them - some from the old days but many more who have discovered the band through YouTube and social media. Recent highlights include appearances at the world’s top garage festivals, including Spain’s Funtastic Dracula Carnival in 2017, Wild-O'-Fest in Mexico City in 2018, the Spider Monkey Festival in San José, Costa Rica in 2019 followed by a tour of Spain including the Wachina Wachina festival in Valencia.
To coincide with the tour of Spain a 45 of two new recordings was issued on Calico Wally records. This 45 included an amazing 8 page comic book by Spanish artists Jorge Rueda and Furillo from Palmeras y Puros magazine in Zaragoza, Spain.
In 2021 the Gruesomes filmed
Over the years, The Gruesomes have played with such bands as the Jesus and May Chain, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Fuzztones, Chesterfield Kings, The Brood, Music Machine, Blues Magoos, Fourtune and Maltese, The Kaisers, Headless Horsemen, Bomboras, Neandrathals, 5678's, Plasticland, The Cheepskates, Morlocks, The Smugglers, Dirtbombs, ? and the Mysterians, The Alarm Clocks, Muck and The Mires, A-Bones, Optic Nerve, Southern Culture on The Skids and many others.
So stay hip to the flip of the trip, because The Gruesomes may be coming soon to a stage near you. Take it from a fan: do not miss the chance to see this legendary garage band live!
Jack The Ripper  [Primitive Records]
- vinyl reissue  [Fuzz Overdose Records, Greece]
Unchained!  [Primitive Records] Albums
a half hour TV special The Gruesomes Live
on Le Beat featuring the bands favourite songs all played live and captured
Tyrants of Teen Trash  [Og Music]
- 2008 reissue [Ricochet Sound]
- 2012 vinyl reissue [Groovie Records, Portugal]
Gruesomania  [Og Music]
- 2008 reissue [Ricochet Sound]
- 2015 vinyl reissue [Artifact Records]
Hey!  [Og Music
- 2009 reissue [Ricochet Sound]
Cave-in!  [Tyrant Records] - vinyl  [Jaguar Club]
- 2007 reissue [Ricochet Sound
-2021 vinyl reissue on Alien Snatch records - with new LP cover by famous Spanish artist Furillo
Someone Told a Lie / Make Up Your Mind  [Calico Wally] -45 single with 8 page comic book
Gruesomology 1985-89  [Sundazed] Live
Live in Hell  [Ricochet Sound] Selected compilation appearances
It Came from Canada Vol 1  [Og Music] "For All I Care"
It Came from Canada Vol 2  [Og Music], "What's Your Problem?"
It Came from Canada Vol 3  [Og Music], "Your Lies"
It Came from Canada Vol 4  [Og Music], "I Try"
It Came from Canada Vol 5  [Og Music], "You Weren't Using Your Head" Mister Garager's Neighbourhood  [Og Music] “What Wave”
A-Billy  [What Wave Records] “3 Men 1 Coffin”
Nardwuar The Human Serviette Presents "Oh God, My Mom's On Channel 10!  [NardWuar Records] “I Need You”
Time Machine [The History Of Canadian Garage And Surf]  [Stomp Records] “Way Down Below”, "What's Your Problem?"
State Of The Union  [Union 2112 Records] “Stop It Girl”
Thee Cave Comes Alive! [Action Records] ”I Try”
Lost In Tyme - Volume 2  [Lost In Tyme Records, Greece] “Get Out Of My Hair”, “Nowhere”
Ansia De Color  [Aishna Records] “You Gotta Believe Me”
It's Better With Fuzz, Babe! Vol.1  [Fuzz Overdose Records] “Things She Does To Me”
Official music videos
Way Down Below 
The Gruesomes live on Le Beat  - half hour live tv special