Since forming in 1992 in Modesto, California, Grandaddy has released some of the more interesting, sad, and beautiful albums in the indie genre. Under the Western Freeway and The Sophtware Slump are two of my favorite albums from any band in recent memory and the most recent stuff is equally impressive. Stirring together a strange concoction of nature and technology, Jason Lytle and the boys always seem to drag a new emotion from its listeners. Glideís Joe Long had the opportunity to speak with Jason recently, about the new EP, Excerpts from the Diary of Toddzilla, their upcoming full length, nature, his current take on Modesto, and the future of Grandaddy.
So, howís the weather today in Modesto?
The weather is actually almost perfect today, its great. I was just out in the backyard doing some home improvements, but my neighbor was out there blasting Rob Thomas and it kind of killed the whole mood for meÖ..
How is Modesto these days?
Iím in a small town right outside Modesto actually. Modesto is getting really bad, but here itís worse. I mean, kids growing up here nowadays donít seem to have anything to do besides drugs. Iím looking to fix my place up here and sell and get out fast. Iíve thought about moving to LA possibly but I donít operate at the pace of that city very well. I just want to end up somewhere that has the pace of somewhere like Montana or something, but thatís just me being hasty, and I know I canít do that right now even though I think it would be great. So I think of the move to LA like Iím going to technical college or something, you know, just gotta get through it.
How did you come up with the name for the EP, Excerpts from the Diary of Toddzilla?
Itís kind of funny actually, I saw a vanity plate on this huge, shiny, truck. It said TODDZILLA. It was a time when I was in a goofy mood already so I wrote it down and knew I would use it later at some point, and it ended up being this EP.
What are the differences between doing an EP like Toddzilla, versus doing a full-length album?
I actually ended up working a lot harder on it than I anticipated. I thought of it as a way to fill the gaps of time while recording the new album. I just thought I could throw together some old songs and some newer ones and a really new one. And we ended up with a nice bunch of songs that go well together, they were kind of crudely recorded so they needed some cleaning up. But as far as work goes, I think I can trick myself into thinking things like an EP can be a lot less work, but then, next thing you know I was going through it with a fine tooth comb and overanalyzing it. Overall, Iím ok with how it turned out, but in terms of focus and dedication, it doesnít hold a candle to what we did for the album.
When and what can we expect from the new album?
I really didnít hold back on the new album. I really wanted to revisit all the things that excited me through the years to make Grandaddy music, so even if sometimes I felt like I was treading on old ground, I didnít care. And then when I realized I was, I took it even further. Including some ideas that over the years were only semi-developed, I kind of put them over the edge on this new album. In my mind, its kind of like a really, gooey, gushing , lush, over the top, super funny, super sad, super everything Grandaddy album. If everything did end, because I donít know where things are going, Iíd be super happy to be standing on top of the mountain that is this album, and saying, ďok, thatís it, Iíve reached the peak.Ē
But as far as the album itself, its all done. Actually we have one last mix date and then the mastering is a couple of weeks from now, Iím hearing April of next year for a release date.
Do you ever revisit your old albums for inspiration for new material?
Very rarely, but sometimes if Iím feeling down or I need that reassurance, Iíll go sifting through some old stuff. I actually had started to get that way with the new album material, Ďcause I was so excited while I was recording and then I started getting to that point where I was getting sick of the songs, but I really didnít want to. Thatís kind of a sad point, but more so than other albums I think I'll be able to come back to these songs a lot sooner and be proud of them.
Talk about how ďNature AnthemĒ and the Civic Hybrid commercial became a match.
I was pretty stoked about that. They actually contacted me about getting that song in the hybrid commercial, but they wanted an edit with no vocals and like a 30 second chunk of it. So I sent it to them edited and they said they would be working on it and they would get back to us. So, it was only like a week or two later and I get a call from a friend who had seen the commercial and heard the song. So I guess they just used whatever I gave them as a template and it worked out great. I could think of worse causes too.
So what is the future of Grandaddy? Youíve eluded to the possibility of calling it quits at some point, maybe soon.
I wasnít kidding all through the years of doing interviews that I hoped I had the good sense to know when to stop, know when to say when. There are plenty of people out there that didnít know when to say when and it resulted in a lot of really shitty records. You know, people that sort of play off of their own reputations and you arenít getting what you should be getting out of them. It's so different from bands that make truly heartfelt records. I just donít want Grandaddy to be one of those bands making music that isnít heartfelt stuff. So, if thatís what the future holds for us, then thatís it. Iím very proud of the music weíve done though and especially of the collection of songs on the upcoming album.
for more info see: grandaddylandscape.com
Special thanks to Joe Long and eachnotesecure.com