Most metal heads will tell you from personal experience that extreme metal isn’t family friendly music. Whether it’s black metal, death metal, thrash or grindcore, this music will not be enjoyed or appreciated by your grandparents. Unless of course, you’re talking about the Grindmother, a Canadian grindcore metal group of the same name, fronted by the anonymous, 69-year-old singer. Her son Rain plays guitar and writes the music for the band, while both share in writing lyrics.
Since 2015, the band has been making music that would appeal to fans of Phobia, Napalm Death, and Nasum. The Grindmother’s videos have gone viral via social media, and in 2016, Grandmother released the album Age of Destruction. A band that started more or less as a joke has since gotten national press coverage everywhere from this infernal rag to media outlets like VICE, NPR, FOX and Huffington Post, and performed live nearly 30 times in Canada, the US, and even Japan.
Recently, the Grindmother took time to speak with the Weekly about fan reaction of the band’s live shows, life on the road, and defying stereotypes of age, gender, and music. Grindmother will embark on month-long tour across America, with up and coming metal bands Alterbeast, the Kennedy Veil and Aethere. The tour stops in Santa Ana at Malone’s on Feb. 18.
OC Weekly (Alex Distefano): How did you get into heavy metal music?
The Grindmother: I wasn’t always into metal. But for years, my son has been a metal musician, especially with grindcore. I had all his CDs and albums, but I never listened to them because they were too loud, and also I couldn’t make out the lyrics. It wasn’t until after he invited me up to his studio to scream into the microphone that I began to get into it. I think he had an idea of what he wanted it to sound like. We had a blast doing it, he showed it to his girlfriend, and they put the video on the internet and it went viral. From there we just kept doing what we were called to do. At this point, I really started to get into it because I began to listen to the intricacies of the music to know where to scream. We are on the same page and enjoy making music it’s been a lot of fun.
What was your previous career? Do you have any background in music?
My previous career was a social worker. I played clarinet in high school and a little of guitar that I taught my self, but that’s it. I enjoy listening to music. In my younger days, I loved rock music, of course, the Beatles Rolling Stones and a variety of music actually. But I do remember my parents always saying all this music was just noise, just as many say the same thing about heavy metal today, but I always encouraged my son while he was making music.
Tell us about life on the road, has it been difficult to tour?
No it hasn’t been difficult to tour, I have enjoyed it. I will say that it takes a lot of energy in terms of the music and the passion behind it. Luckily the songs are all short so it hasn’t been too tiring. My son takes care of me on the road to make sure I get rest and good nutrients. We were both avid campers so we love it, and we relax in between shows. Overall, I have not seen too much crazy partying. I knew about the mosh pit at shows from my son. At our shows, I joke with the audience to enjoy the moshpit but tell them to please not hurt each other!
What do you like most about grindcore metal?
Just the passion and intensity of the music. In terms of creating our music and message, one side of our music is the bad things going on in the world but the other aspect is what you can do to make it better. Ultimately the music we make and grindcore metal shows there is peace and harmony that can be achieved.
What has been the reaction of your peers?
I have got a lot of positive reaction from my peers even though they don’t understand why I would make such loud, noisy music. But, a lot of them view it as a good thing, because it is going against stereotypes of age limits. They encourage me, even if they don’t understand the music.
How have audiences reacted to your live shows?
We get both older and younger fans at our shows, and the response from audiences have been great so far at every show we have played. I have gotten lots of younng women coming up to me after shows, and they tell me they are encouraged and inspired to play music. It feels great to give them encouragement. Other people are so nice when they come up, and hug me tell me it’s wonderful. I am grateful to be able to do this. We get lots of ladies coming to say hi after shows, as well as different types of fans, younger kids, middle-aged people, bikers. We love it when we get to interact with our fans and meet them and get to talk for a few minutes.
Catch Grandmother live at Malone’s in Santa Ana on February 18, with Alterbeast, The Kennedy Veil and Aethere. For tickets, click here.
Alex Distefano is an established freelance writer and music blogger from the Los Angeles area. With over a dozen years under his belt as a published Journalist, he covers the worlds of heavy metal music, punk rock, current events, cannabis culture, comedy, radio, food, tattoos, the paranormal, and ‘conspiracy theories.’ He graduated from California State University Long Beach in 2012 with a Bachelor’s Degree in both Journalism and Ancient History. Aside from his professional writing endeavors, Distefano works as an Educator, and delivery/rideshare driver.