In 2009, Dan Lardner met Alex Niemetz. The two went for ice cream and the next thing you know, they were playing in band together along with Dan’s childhood bud, Peter Baumann. They were 17.
Last month, the New York City-based four-piece (Texan, Grant, is on the drums) hit the NorthSide stage with their blues-tinged rock and roll for the second year in a row. We caught up with the band before their gig to talk New York foodstuffs, first albums and why they’re named after a mid-sized Michigan town.
CIS: Why Grand Rapids? Why not Flint or Lansing?
Dan: I think we just got stuck with it. We named ourselves a lot of things when we first got started. Like a lot of stupid names and then…
Peter: We went with the stupidest.
Dan: We got a magazine piece and it was like, that’s our name now.
CIS: How long have you been playing together.
Alex: In this formation, we’ve been playing for about a year.
Dan: We played the last NorthSide Festival together.
CIS: Alex, I know you won a “Shred for Your Life” competition when you were 16. How did it change your life?
Alex: My friend Bill entered me in it. It didn’t really change my life that much… I got a big guitar pic.
Grant: What did you play?
Alex: Some sort of metal medley.
CIS: What’s your favourite metal solo?
Alex: Probably the one in “Hot for Teacher”
CIS: Pizza or Pretzels
Dan: Pretzels make me sick.
Alex: I never eat pretzels.
Dan: They remind me of a warm car or something.
CIS: What’s the first album you bought with your own money?
Grant: It was a cassette single for Guns and Roses, “You Could Be Mine”. The first CD was Tag Team’s “Whoomp There It Is.”
Peter: I bought a Kinks tape. I didn’t even know who they were. My brother bought The Spice Girls.
Dan: Probably a KISS record.
Alex: Mine was Britney Spears, on Canal Street; bootleg Britney.
CIS: Who’s your favourite pop star now?
Dan: I like Rihanna.
CIS: You were just on tour on the West Coast. What was the best part?
Alex: San Fran
Dan, Peter, Grant: L.A.
Dan: We were touring with Surfer Blood and they didn’t say at any of the venues that we were on the bill. So everyone would get there really early thinking they’d get the band they came to see and they’d get us. It was great. We were playing to packed houses.
CIS: What are you guys up to this summer?
Alex: We’re about to record and then hopefully tour in the fall.