Grifters: C er D?

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So I've seen 2 different interviews now with Bruce Pavvit and Jonathon Poneman where they describe the grifters as being at the center of 'the dark years' at Subpop. That they signed us for too much money (even giving out numbers.. which I thought was an industry no-no) and that we were pretty good but not deserving of that kind of money..

well, first off, Bruce was barely even involved with the label the whole time we were there. All the employees at Subpop described Bruce as being this crazy guy who lives out in the mountains and every now and then he would send them some band and say 'sign these guys, they're great' (anyone remember Chixdiggit?) and then everyone at the label had to do so, apparently begrudgingly. They essentially described it as being saddled with him. 'but he's the co-founder of the label so what're you gonna do?'.

secondly, maybe Subpop could have made a return on their investment in us if they, oh I dunno, TRIED! They barely did any advertising. I told them they should take out an ad for us in some Fantagraphics comics (which they used to do all the time) but they didn't. I think they maybe bought some tiny ad space in an issue of Magnet.
They chose Last Man Alive as the 'single' from the record. And we had a big fight with them about it. Well, I had a big fight. Dave seemed pretty pleased with the decision. They tried to placate me by saying that it didn't really matter because nothing we chose would ever really get any airplay. If thats the case why NOT pick a song that is maybe at least SOMEWHAT REPRESENTATIVE OF THE BAND'S SOUND! And why then spend $50,000 on a video that will ALSO NEVER BE SEEN OR HEARD.?

Maybe it was because they were such amazingly inept business people? OR maybe they wanted us to tank. Why did they make SO MANY wrong decisions regarding Aint My Lookout? Why did they let Those Bastard Souls do a major tour with Sebadoh exactly when we should've been out touring supporting the record? Me and Scott and Stan were told that Sebadoh didn't want to get blown off the stage by us every night... I have to kinda think that blowing Sebadoh off the stage every night MIGHT'VE BEEN A GREAT WAY TO SUPPORT THE NEW RECORD!
But that was Dave dicking us over more than Subpop, they just let it happen.

And what happened right before Full Blown Possession came out? Almost the entire staff left Subpop and a lot of them ended up at Matador. There was a so-called mutiny supposedly spear-headed by Poneman. it seemed to us that they were trying to get out of their deal with Warners by losing a lot of money.

Like I said, maybe they could've made a return on their investment if they'd been better business people. Maybe they didn't want to make a return. From what I saw when we were with them they never worked anything. They had a hit with Sunny Day Real Estate but that was because SDRE did it themselves. They built their own fan-base and did all the hard work (as did we) and then all Subpop had to do was squirt out some records for them and they sold themselves. But we never saw them get off their asses and work anything. What I saw was the staff of Subpop flying all over the country and the world and staying at THEE most posh hotels in whatever city they were in. They friggin LOVED playing Record Company when it meant traveling with the gold card.

So lay off the effing Grifters Pavvitt. Not that you were there but we threw you a friggin touchdown pass with Ain't My Lookout and you fucking fumbled it ON PURPOSE.

And at the same time we had to contend with Dave's not so secretly-scheming to advance TBS. I've read articles where people are saying we'd run our course and that Ain't My Lookout was a bomb. Well let me tell ya it was really hard trying to eek out a little success when your label is sitting on their fat asses doing nothing and at the same time one of the band-members is plotting their exit and stealing tours from you.


griftertripp, Thursday, 31 July 2008 15:27 (fifteen years ago) link

I will say that Joyce Linehan was a great friend to us and I feel truly believed in us and fought for us.

griftertripp, Thursday, 31 July 2008 16:13 (fifteen years ago) link


will, Thursday, 31 July 2008 16:32 (fifteen years ago) link

hey Will, whassup mang?

griftertripp, Thursday, 31 July 2008 16:45 (fifteen years ago) link

what kills me about those interviews is Bruce is doing all the talking (about us) and Poneman is just sitting there. Why don't you let the guy who was actually there talk about it some.?

griftertripp, Thursday, 31 July 2008 16:56 (fifteen years ago) link

not much.. settling into new job. any ideas for entertainment tonight? ...cause i ran across VHS copies of Beaches and the Sabrina remake. j/k dude j/k

will, Thursday, 31 July 2008 16:59 (fifteen years ago) link


Glad I never made it in a band!

I still love the Grifters!

You got to play the Hull aDELPHI TOO?

Fer Ark, Thursday, 31 July 2008 17:09 (fifteen years ago) link

Jeebus - looks like I've got my tongue stuck up your hole.sorry

Fer Ark, Thursday, 31 July 2008 17:11 (fifteen years ago) link

ain't my lookout is awesome.

CaptainLorax, Thursday, 31 July 2008 18:17 (fifteen years ago) link

Will, come on over tonight if you want. Sheri's making some kind of dip.

I read something else recently where some dude said that Ain't My Lookout was over-cooked and Full Blown Possession was a return to basics..!?!?

I'd say FBP was over-cooked and absolutely was not a return to basics. For one thing, Subpop made us hire a mixer so it was our first time doing automated mixing (in a House of Blues studio no less). It wasn't a return to anything.

Aint My Lookout was our favorite because we were firing on all cylinders
(and we mixed it at Easley's like we always had). We know the fans all like Crappin' You Negative the best. We really liked that one too but by the time it had come out about half the songs had already appeared somewhere else. There had been singles versions of Holmes, Junkie Blood, Bronze Cast, Spaceship. And Black Fuel had already been on a compilation as well as the first BUD tape.

So AML, to us, was the ultimate realization of what we could do. Maybe it was 'over-cooked' compared to some of our other output but to us we'd finally hit a stride.

And FBP couldn't be a return to basics because we never worked quite that way before. We weren't collaborating very well, we had to split the recording between two studios, and we didn't get to mix it. We helped with the mixing but the automation certainly took some of the weirdness out of it.

griftertripp, Thursday, 31 July 2008 18:49 (fifteen years ago) link

You know, if it weren't for Sub Pop, I wouldn't have gotten to hang out with the Grifters on a "junket" which led to two things - my discovery of Paines' BBQ and a week-long hangover. So, well, there's that.

vaninadh, Thursday, 31 July 2008 19:19 (fifteen years ago) link

Tripp- can I come over? I will wear tight Calvins for old time's sake ;-)

Fer Ark, Thursday, 31 July 2008 19:46 (fifteen years ago) link

just don't pee on anybody.

griftertripp, Thursday, 31 July 2008 20:03 (fifteen years ago) link

Jacko asks if scat is acceptable.
Does Mempho have canals?
Our longboat is a bit special

Fer Ark, Thursday, 31 July 2008 20:15 (fifteen years ago) link

Just been out into the cold ,grey, rainy gloom and it's dicking fucked flooded!
Advice to get Tennessee please?

Fer Ark, Thursday, 31 July 2008 20:25 (fifteen years ago) link

oh shit - i've done a wrong un again with my THUMBNAIL SKETCH

Fer Ark, Thursday, 31 July 2008 22:45 (fifteen years ago) link


Fer Ark, Thursday, 31 July 2008 22:46 (fifteen years ago) link

sorry , night night

Fer Ark, Thursday, 31 July 2008 22:46 (fifteen years ago) link

wot a fuckin freak
care in the community haa failed again

Fer Ark, Thursday, 31 July 2008 22:50 (fifteen years ago) link

one year passes...

i just got full blown posesssion yesterday

my first grifters record

i love it

scuzz blues are my favorite blues

BIG HOOS aka the steendriver, Sunday, 18 April 2010 22:42 (fourteen years ago) link

My fav band ever - get One Sock Missing, Ain't My Lookout and the first 2 EPs (The Doink Years). Those are my favorites.

CaptainLorax, Sunday, 18 April 2010 23:58 (fourteen years ago) link

that is about their least scuzzy record big HOOS, you've got some primo scuzz-blues discovery in store if you get some of the other ones

dmr, Monday, 19 April 2010 03:02 (fourteen years ago) link

crappin you negative

dmr, Monday, 19 April 2010 03:02 (fourteen years ago) link

Crappin You Negative is A++ scuzz, sounds like a rock band should.

The Amy Misto Family Knife (Plasmon), Monday, 19 April 2010 04:01 (fourteen years ago) link

Yeah but the end of "The Sweetest Thing" may be their most gorgeous moment.

Evan, Monday, 19 April 2010 04:47 (fourteen years ago) link

i am

the mambo king

mookieproof, Monday, 19 April 2010 05:31 (fourteen years ago) link

Wrapped tight in my tarantula skin

CaptainLorax, Monday, 19 April 2010 06:45 (fourteen years ago) link

their most gorgeous moment = gotta be something off the Eureka EP. maybe Founder's Day Parade.

dmr, Monday, 19 April 2010 13:43 (fourteen years ago) link

Dragoon (Tripp and Stan from the Grifters + Bobby from Trusty) has something out now:

Dragoon is still slugging through.

trying to get the first record done. Everything's recorded just need to mix a few things. And get it mastered. And do all the art.. it'll never get done..

― griftertripp, Wednesday, May 7, 2008 10:41 AM

dmr, Tuesday, 27 April 2010 17:13 (fourteen years ago) link

their most gorgeous moment = gotta be something off the Eureka EP. maybe Founder's Day Parade.[

Founder's Day Parade is indeed a gorgeous tune.

The Grifters are still one of my favourite bands ever along with Ramones, Buzzcocks,Du, Mats et al - 'famous' bands if y'like

Fer Jessie the Drunk Dutch Mountain Ark (Mobbed Up Ping Pong Psychos), Tuesday, 27 April 2010 19:58 (fourteen years ago) link

i think "wonder" is a pretty song

69, Tuesday, 27 April 2010 20:06 (fourteen years ago) link

two years pass...

friend of mine just ripped a Grifters live show from cassette

live in Chattanooga, November 4th, 1994, at the Barking Legs Theater

Snake Oil
Bronze Cast
Maps of the Sun
Dead Already (incomplete)
the Casual Years
Skin Man Palace
Corolla Hoist
Return to Cinder
Felt Tipped Over
Shark (incomplete)
You Don't Miss Your Water
Love X (incomplete)

dmr, Monday, 10 September 2012 20:50 (eleven years ago) link

I <3 this thread

Colonel Poo, Monday, 10 September 2012 21:04 (eleven years ago) link

one year passes...

Reunion shows for you lucky Memphibians

Jessie Fer Ark (Mobbed Up Ping Pong Psychos), Sunday, 17 November 2013 21:35 (ten years ago) link


TracerHandVEVO (Tracer Hand), Sunday, 17 November 2013 21:36 (ten years ago) link


mookieproof, Sunday, 17 November 2013 22:01 (ten years ago) link

Already happened. Video at (you have to register)

Wandering Boy Poet, Monday, 18 November 2013 13:11 (ten years ago) link

Yeah but... I want to see them on the east coast :(

Evan, Monday, 18 November 2013 15:06 (ten years ago) link

Wandering Boy Poet - thanks so much for the almighty link.

Given that they won't be visiting Ol' blighty again, any clues as to how to save this vid in case it walks?

Jessie Fer Ark (Mobbed Up Ping Pong Psychos), Tuesday, 19 November 2013 22:52 (ten years ago) link

It's some annoying new format. I've grabbed the (literally) 1000 or so fragments, but the methods for joining them don't seem to work for me (& I haven't got anything that'll play the fragments). Need to get back onto researching it.

Wandering Boy Poet, Wednesday, 20 November 2013 01:38 (ten years ago) link

Cheers WBT. please keep me updated. Not been lazy there, I'm just not tech and too fucking burnt out to learn

Jessie Fer Ark (Mobbed Up Ping Pong Psychos), Thursday, 21 November 2013 20:46 (ten years ago) link

I haven't tried it, but the Firefox "Download Helper" add-on might work. It doesn't catch on to every web player but you can get lucky.

Evan, Thursday, 21 November 2013 21:14 (ten years ago) link

Evan. Thanks. Hopefully you have e mail?

Jessie Fer Ark (Mobbed Up Ping Pong Psychos), Saturday, 23 November 2013 10:25 (ten years ago) link

five months pass...

i just dug out the eureka ep for the first time in…a decade?

some observations just because i wonder what this sounds like to other people almost 20 years on

eureka iv -- i still like this song, although what was up with gold boys and ray guns in the 90s? it sounds weird now.
his jesus song -- awesome, still love this and i would not mind being in this band
x-ray hip -- what the fucking fuck is going on with the singing/lyrics in this song. awful. otherwise it's fine but not memorable
there's also a song that sounds like an alex chilton impersonator

i guess part of it held up ok. that's not bad! the only song i could really get into was his jesus song. this video is pretty awesome

Mayor Manuel (La Lechera), Wednesday, 30 April 2014 16:32 (ten years ago) link

Relistened to it, still think it's their most solid release, though other albums contain some better songs.

I've always linked Eureka with Urge Overkill's Stull EP from a few years previous. Comes right between the promising/catchy/eccentric minor league album and the major label jump. Features an eclectic bunch of stuff, some much more accessible than anything previous, some out-there. Like a last-minute housecleaning before getting more focused. Actually there's a bit of similarity between the two bands' career arcs, probably due to the state of the music business at the time more than anything else, I'd guess. Especially:

Supersonic Storybook/Crappin You Negative
Ain't My Lookout/Saturation
Full Blown Possession/Exit The Dragon

dlp9001, Thursday, 1 May 2014 16:54 (ten years ago) link

One Sock Missing is my favorite Grifters album, and one of my favorite albums from the 90's.

I only saw them once at a small bar around '95? They were good and sloppy or sloppy good I guess.

I still remember some drunk from the back kept yelling out, "Rolling Stones!"

I guess I could see them covering a couple of the 'Exile' songs.

nicky lo-fi, Thursday, 1 May 2014 17:48 (ten years ago) link


Mayor Manuel (La Lechera), Thursday, 1 May 2014 19:27 (ten years ago) link

three months pass...

Grifters show in September at Gonerfest and two in November in NYC


dmr, Wednesday, 20 August 2014 02:08 (nine years ago) link

got my tickets for Glasslands already. thinkin I'll go to both of the new york ones. one of my favorite live bands of all time.

dmr, Wednesday, 20 August 2014 02:09 (nine years ago) link

see u at mercury lounge

mookieproof, Saturday, 23 August 2014 03:03 (nine years ago) link

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