by E.A. Poorman
I was sitting in my office beginning to write this story when I suddenly flashed back to being a little kid and I was at my grandma and grandpa Poorman’s house in Amish country. They weren’t Amish. My grandma was actually a wasp-y broad from a rich family that resided in Metropolis, Illinois. They lived alongside the Ohio River and enjoyed the good life; ferry rides, barbershop quartets in the gazebo on Sundays after church, and the wonders of speakeasies during weekend Chicago outings. My grandpa on the other hand grew up with nothing much. German immigrant parents and a hell of a right hook got him into lots of trouble and a few featherweight boxing matches. He used to load 100 lb bags of concrete onto rail cars by hand for a living in Laporte, Indiana. He met my grandma on one of those weekend jaunts to the Windy City and the rest is history. What does any of this have to do with Grey Gordon, the Fort Wayne singer/songwriter that’s featured here today? Well, this one time I was at my grandma and grandpa’s house visiting. I had my Walkman and a few cassettes with me. I happened to have Hüsker Dü’s Zen Arcade. My grandma looked at me and said “What is a Hüsker Dü?” I didn’t really didn’t know what to say as she scared the hell out of me, but my grandpa piped in before I could mutter anything. “Leave him alone, Dorothy.” And like that, I was off the hook.
Grey Gordon in a lot of ways reminds me of my grandpa. No, he’s not old and grizzled with meat hooks for hands. But Grey does exude a certain confidence and casualness that one might mistake for lackadaisical. You’d be wrong to think that. He’s anything but that. I don’t think there’s a moment when Grey isn’t working on something; whether it’s with the Wickerwolves whom he plays guitar with, working on his own music, or contemplating the existential lean of Nas’ Illmatic. Gordon comes across as someone that shares everything. He comes across as an open book, yet in this writer’s eyes I believe there’s a few chapters he hasn’t revealed just yet.
One chapter he recently revealed is called Forget I Brought It Up. It’s eleven tracks that get in and out in less than thirty minutes. They don’t wear out their welcome and welcome repeat listens. Luckily your ears will welcome them as well. I spoke to Grey about the album recently and he was nice enough to speak back.
EA Poorman: So tell me about Forget I Brought It Up, Grey. Give me the low down.
Grey Gordon: “I recorded it out it Sumner, WA, just north of Olympia back in March and April. It was produced and engineered by Benjamin Barnett and Pierre Ferguson, and I truly cannot understate the importance of their work to how this record turned out. They were absolutely invaluable to the creation of FIBIU. Ben is a singer/songwriter under the name Kind of Like Spitting, and has been going strong since the mid 90s. He was a huge influence on me growing up, so it was a real honor to be able to work with him on this. Josh Maroney, Tate Garringer and Kiah Gerig all played on the record, who are the guys who comprise the other band I play in, The Wickerwolves, and they were also crucial to the record in innumerable ways.”
EAP: This album is quite a bit different from Still At Home Here. While that record was quiet and acoustic-based, Forget I Brought It Up is a big rock record. Lots of crunchy guitars and pop hooks. Very much reminded me of latter day Hüsker Dü. Did you go into this record thinking you wanted to go bigger this time around?
Grey Gordon: “First of all, thank you so much for the Husker Du comparison. One of my favorite bands, and Bob Mould’s work with one of his other bands Sugar was actually a big influence on certain aspects of this record. I love playing acoustic jams, but I’ve always wanted to make a loud indie rock record. The great thing about being a solo artist is that I can really do whatever I want. Take Ryan Adams, for example. That dude has such an eclectic discography. I just felt as if, since I had the resources at my disposal, it would be a shame not to make the record I’ve been waiting to make my whole life. There will definitely be more lowkey songs in the future, and more loud ones, and most likely some experiments with other sounds. I never want to be stagnant. I want to challenge myself and my listeners constantly.”
EAP: So who or what influenced the new record?
Grey Gordon: “Sonically, I’m taking my cues from the late 80s/early 90s indie rock scene with this one. I grew up listening to bands on Merge, Sub Pop, Matador, Rough Trade, etc., and that’s where I wanted to draw influence from with these songs. You can hear all sorts of influence from Superchunk, Dinosaur Jr., Sebadoh, Sugar, Archers of Loaf, Ride and even The Pixies if you listen for them. Beyond that, everything I create aims to be a synthesis of all of the varied and eclectic things I enjoy, from literature to film to strange life experiences. Ideally, any record I create will be a semi-cohesive document chronicling the period of time over which the songs were written. I think FIBIU accomplishes that.”
EAP: Is there a tour planned? Loading up the van and hitting the open road?
Grey Gordon: “I’m leaving on September 13th and won’t be home for about 80 days. I’ll be doing 45 days with Fossil Youth, and then will be doing another month or so on another as of yet unannounced tour. For this one, I’ll just be going out acoustic, but I’ll be trying to plan a full band tour in support of the record sometime after the New Year. The Wickerwolves dudes will be my backing band on that, whenever it happens.”
EAP: Since I have you here, how are things going with the Wickerwolves? Anything new on the horizon?
Grey Gordon: “Things are great. We’re gearing up for a split with our homies Fossil Youth, which is dropping this month. We also recorded a 5 song EP, and that’s just in the process of being mixed/mastered. We’ll be dropping that sometime next year.”
EAP: Do you have any new songs already cooking for the next solo album?
Grey Gordon: “Oh yeah. I plan on trying to do an EP of full band stuff next year at some point to lead up to another full length. No set schedule, but there are already a few songs that are totally done. Been trying to find a way to fit in some Big Star, Teenage Fanclub and Stone Roses influence, while still keeping it heavy and putting my own twist on it. I’m so excited to be working on new stuff. I already think it’s leagues better than ‘Forget I Brought It Up’. I’m stoked.”
EAP: Before you go, what have you been listening to lately that’s been blowing your mind?
Grey Gordon: “Lately, I’ve been on a lot of classic British stuff and things from my youth I haven’t listened to in a grip. Teenage Fanclub, Primal Scream, Big Star, Her Space Holiday, Sugar, Portastatic, Eric B and Rakim, just to name a few. As far as contemporary stuff, been rocking the new Code Orange, “Guilty of Everything” by Nothing, Pity Sex, the new Hostage Calm, the new Underachievers, and I’m anxiously awaiting the Joey Badass full length.”
As of press time, Grey is out and about rocking faces across the nation. He’s hardstylin’ it with whoever will drop to their knee and offer a hand. Like my Grandpa Poorman, Grey Gordon is keeping it real. Go out and get a copy of Forget I Brought It Up today. Go to https://nosleeprecords.com/artist/grey-gordon for more info.