Photography: Josh Rienecke
GRANNY 4 BARREL
Imagine if Norma Bates fronted a rock band....Enter Granny 4 Barrel! The “Matriarch of Metal” A neo-Victorian shock rock nightmare! Granny represents the rebellious spirit of rock ‘n roll, freedom of expression and non conformity.
Think of Granny as the surrogate bad-ass metal grandma you always wanted.. She’s cooking up her special recipe of hybrid metal for all the rock-n-roll children, and serving up a big middle finger to all the stereotypes and oppressions of the world! Who’s your Granny? Granny 4 Barrel is!!
Now more than ever, rock n’ roll needs a true character - one that harkens back to the days of Alice Cooper and other highly theatrical, shock rock trailblazers. Finally, the rock world has met the “man/woman” that undeniably fits the bill - Granny, from Granny 4 Barrel. Imagine if Rob Zombie had a great grandmother who fronted a metal band, or better yet, think the movie ‘Psycho’ with a cross-dressing alter ego split personality for a singer, and you’re not far off. And the musical proof is provided by a series of singles that are being issued via Mighty Loud Records (and distributed by InGrooves/Universal), and produced by Jeff Tomei (whose previous credits include Jerry Cantrell, Smashing Pumpkins, and Matchbox Twenty, among others).
Who is this matriarch of metal? “Granny is an alter-ego character, an amalgam of contradictions, a dichotomy of old and feeble meets youth, power and vigor,” explains the singer. “She represents freedom of expression, no limits on a person, and I channel her rage and insanity. In society, there are these stereotypes based on age, sex, race etc. Granny just shatters the mold! Her mantra is, ‘Unleash your true self...make your own rules, anything is possible.’ The first song released to radio is ‘Freak Flag,’ that’s the theme of the song ‘Be true to yourself...let your Freak Flag Fly!’”
“I’m a big horror fan and I grew up watching a lot of scary movies. Granny’s persona in some ways is inspired by a character in the movie ‘Burnt Offerings’ - it’s one of the best horror films, in my opinion. In the movie finale, Karen Black becomes possessed by this dark spirit that lives in the house and becomes this evil, crazy old woman, who lives up in the attic. The movie and that character are burned into my psyche. Old women in general have that witch-like quality to them, they have this angst, and don’t care what others think. I thought, ‘Wow! I feel like I can channel this scary, creepy granny front-person...imagine how insane and cool that would be to front a metal band with this persona.’”
Hailing from Upstate New York, the band made its live debut on Halloween several years back, and immediately, began developing a following. “People relate to the character they’re like, ‘Yeah, Granny! She’s a bad-ass!’ It’s fun and serious at the same time. The first show, Granny came out and just pummeled people with this heavy music - people just went crazy. It was like, did you feel that!?’ We had so much fun with it, we just kept doing it, and now, here we are!”
And along the way, Granny 4 Barrel developed an original rock sound - merging heavy electro-rock with violin - which although may sound odd on paper, adds up to create a winning combination. “The appearance, there’s something definitely unique visually and striking about this band. Musically, it’s a hybrid. Granny takes all her influences, throws them into her caldron, and mixes them up. There’s no limits on what we can do musically. It’s like, violin sounds amazing here, so we’re going to mix it with electronics, metal riffs and some loops, and let’s see what we come up with.”
With a string of singles about to be issued, Granny was willing to take us on a guided tour of what to expect. “The song ‘Freak Flag’ is certainly one of my favorites, because I guess it summarizes what the band is about. It rocks, it’s reckless abandon, and it’s about not being afraid to just be who you really are. Just express yourself. I’m here in Nashville right now shooting the video for ‘Freak Flag.’ The director’s name is John Billings, and we put a casting call out for eccentric people, who wanted to be a part of a rock video, people who were not afraid to express themselves. People who felt they had a certain look or talent that made them unique. We shot in this old church yesterday. We had a crowd of people - there was a ton of energy in the room and everyone looked amazing!”
“Another track, ‘Nitro Sexy,’ basically, the two words describe it - speed and sex! The song is fast moving and it rocks. You could be driving your car 100 miles an hour shifting, listening to that song. We’ve got another one, ‘She Likes Guns.’ - it’s kind of a double-meaning song. It’s got innuendo,’ It’s got that twist to it. Slow plodding, and sexy. ‘Piledriver’ is about a bad-ass villainess femme fatale character -a common theme on the record.”
But certainly, a huge part of the Granny 4 Barrel experience is witnessing the band’s live show. According to Granny, be prepared for the unexpected. “They’re going to see shock rock at its finest. It’s a heavy band, with strong hooks, and visual eye candy. If you’re into the sounds of metal bands, industrial bands, and heavy music mixed with violin and theatrics - this band is for you.”
Lastly, Granny agrees - the time is right for the theatrical rock void to be filled, and Granny 4 Barrel is just the right band for the job. “It’s absolutely perfect timing for this band. Just when you thought you’d seen it all...this time you won’t believe your eyes!”
Be prepared to be shocked and rocked, by Granny 4 Barrel.