Singer of 'hard punk' band talks of boring psych-rock and violent skinheads before Friday headlining slot at Cheap Heat fest
Golden Pelicans singer Erik Grincewicz longs for the good ol' days when the term “psychedelic” was reserved for scary experiences and terrifying people.
“I feel like a lot of psychedelic rock is pretty boring. … Every night you go to the bar and it's another guy with reverbed-out shit and it's boring and you wanna kill yourself,” Grincewicz said recently by phone, chatting outside while on a break from his screen printing job in Orlando, Fla.
He also makes known his contempt for modern psych-rock on “It Ain't Psychedelic (Unless You Kill Someone),” a full-blown guitar assault off Disciples of Blood, Golden Pelicans' forthcoming LP on Goner Records.
“Whatever happened to Charles Manson being related to psychedelic? That's what I think of — a guy that went out and got a good group of kids together, got some dune buggies, and they killed people. That was psychedelic,” he said. “Sometimes [taking acid] is terrifying, and that doesn't come through in a lot of psych music.”
Nothing in Golden Pelicans' self-described “hard punk” evokes flower-haired hippies. Disciples of Blood features songs titled “Smell the Lightning,” “Complete Destruction” and “Corpse Abuser,” and they're all packed full of power chords and guitar solos and Grincewicz's lacerated vocals, which are born of whiskey, cigarettes and a newfound freedom he discovered when Golden Pelicans formed from the ashes of his previous band, Slippery Slopes.
“With Slippery Slopes, I was trying to sing high-pitch, and I think it's because I was nervous,” he said. “I got more comfortable singing, and it completely changed. I also think I burned out that part of my voice. It's just gone.”
After Slippery Slopes' guitarist left the band (“I think he just wanted to play video games,” Grincewicz said), drummer Rich Evans, bassist Sammy Meneses and Grincewicz recruited guitarist Scott Barnes. Barnes' inclusion changed everything, including the band name.
“He's the only one with talent, so that helped,” Grincewicz said. “Scott's amazing. He made everybody play better. … [The sound] got a lot tougher and macho and more bluesy, too. We all like that stuff.”
After two full-length records and a handful of 7-inches (including a recent live release on Third Man Records), Grincewicz said Disciples of Blood is the most fully realized version of Golden Pelicans, even though all nine tracks were recorded in a day at a huge gallery space in Atlanta.
“[Playing in a big room] helps. Everything feels more grandiose, bouncing off the walls like that. It's a good feeling,” he said. “The other two records are like the same thing, one record. And I feel like this one is its own thing and thought of separately. There wasn't a lot of overlap between those two records and this one.”
Even though Orlando may bring to mind amusement parks, Grincewicz said the city is home to a small but supportive community of likeminded bands. It's a different scene than the one he discovered as a high-school kid in West Palm.
“The first shows I ever went to were thrash shows with tons of Nazi skinheads and metalheads beating the shit out of each other. It was really violent — pretty much the opposite of how things are now,” he said. “There's no Nazis and barely any metalheads. Nobody beats each other up. Everybody's pretty egalitarian.”
Cheap Heat lineup
Launched by Gary Danielius of Heel Turn Records with Jah Nada and Laura B. of Bloody Show and Ian Graham of Terrestrials, Cheap Heat will hit four Summit Street venues over the course two nights. Bands are listed in the order they'll appear, and on Friday, performances will alternate between Cafe Bourbon Street and neighboring venue the Summit.
9 p.m. Friday, April 14
Cafe Bourbon Street and the Summit
2216 Summit St., North Campus
6 p.m. Saturday, April 15
Used Kids Records
2500 Summit St., North Campus
10 p.m. Saturday, April 15
2507 Summit St., North Campus
Pink Owl & His Supernatural Fears
Danny & The Darleans