Sludge trailblazers Grief take their rightful place in the Decibel Hall of Fame this month for their landmark 1994 record, Come to Grief.
The full, seven-page story featuring interviews from Jeff Hayward, Rick Johnson, Randy Odierno and Terry Savastano in the June issue of Decibel (available here). Read a brief excerpt below about making the record.
There’s so much agony and depression on the album. What was going on in your lives to make you so miserable?
HAYWARD: [laughs] I mean, honestly, at the time, I wasn’t all that miserable of a person. I was young; 22 years old, I was the youngest of the crew. I was never a depressed or really miserable person. You know, when you’re young, you’re kinda angry about shit. But I dunno, I loved Saint Vitus, I always thought that was our biggest influence, that slow, kinda caveman approach to writing slow songs. We just took it and added an angry edge to it. Maybe part of it comes from playing in Disrupt prior to that, which was all about aggression and it was just brutal, so we just took that mentally and slowed it way, way down. But depression and misery, that was never really me. I’m a pretty happy-go-lucky guy in general.
JOHNSON: [laughs] That’s a good one. Well, I was getting married. My wife was pregnant at the time. It was kind of at that point where I thought my career was going to take off. This band thing came up and I was going to be a father at the same time. I was happy; it was just certain things in life, like going to the grocery store and you step into the aisle that says “13 items or less” and this lady steps in front of you and she’s got 100 items, and they still let her go. Aggravation, you know? People in general. Even back 25 years ago, no one was really nice to each other [laughs]. It’s actually kind of gotten worse, which is hard to believe.
ODIERNO: I was going through hell at the time with a relationship that was on and off, and bad. Believe it or not, she actually showed up on the last day of recording, just randomly, with some friends, came down, and that was really a bummer, but there was nothing I could do about that. But I didn’t have too much misery going on in my life. A lot of the lyrics were written by our old drummer, Pete Donovan. He had a lot more misery going on in general with his life than I think some of us did at the time. But we wrote these songs to express what other people might feel that are in those situations, not necessarily what we’re feeling at the time, but it’s kind of about what a lot of people feel when they’re in those situations.
SAVASTANO: Basically, the same thing that causes me to be miserable today. Just working, breaking my ass, just doing a shitty job for people that don’t care about you or your family, just thankless tasks. Just totally soul-destroying work. At that particular time of my life, I was in my early 20s, and drinking a lot, taking a lot of drugs, getting pretty screwed up, to be quite honest with you, and being alone most of the time, not having a steady girlfriend, and when I did have a girlfriend, it wasn’t exactly the kind of person I wanted to be with, you know? It was a lot of growing up and just that kind of thing. A lot of things that still affect me to this day, but I think I’ve learned to deal with them a lot better.
Just growing up.
SAVASTANO: Yeah, man. For real. The things that affect everyday kids, man. Just putting up with bullshit, trying make a buck, trying to live, trying to do fun stuff and being prevented from doing fun stuff, basically.