2020...Well, one could much prefer to use the Spanish
'Veinte Veinte', so they can exclaim it as a euphemistic curse. These days, it has seemed to exterminate small talk in a way never before seen, which brings this article straight to the point; Veinte Veinte has stripped the world of live music. Social distancing and shouldering up to 50 sweaty strangers squeezing into a venue to see your favorite live act are simply incompatible. At this point you can catch yourself wondering about the logistics of a show with an audience in Hazmat suits(and if it would look cool). Needless to say, this year has posed unique and new creative challenges about how to, well, be creative.
Before the pandemic you could consider a lot of musicians veritable "super-spreaders." Attending live shows, practicing music with friends, and enjoying the restaurants and bars Detroit has to offer week after week. But when something invisible, something dangerous comes knocking at their door they have 2 options; Let the beast take them or adapt to survive. The latter is what most sensible musicians have done (I see you Smashmouth, hey now, you're an asshole) and GRAND HEFT is no exception. We immediately realized how many tangential connections we had and started to feel uncomfortable with indoor practice, let alone live shows.
Coming into March we were set up to record our first EP, our freshmen debut under our new moniker. When cases came to Michigan, and the severity of the pandemic started to become apparent, we called the studio and told them we weren't comfortable. The sigh of relief from the engineer who has an immunocompromised son was palpable. The unknown certainly can brood darker than the most imposing visible threat.
So, flash forward a month or so, we start discussing how to keep our progress moving, we were JUST about to record, we must keep these chops, we must shake the hair and beat the scare. In the midst of this discussion, singer Ryan Thomas chimes in and tells us of this project he's involved in; NØ EXPERIENCE, who's recording bands outdoors, with social distancing implemented, to produce live video and audio content. Greedy for stimulation and nostalgic for adrenaline, we jumped on this opportunity as quickly as possible. A few quick discussions with NØ EXPERIENCE, and a date was set to get noisy in a Royal Oak backyard.
What you see in these videos is a raw take, no audio overdubs, just raw, out of shape, socially distant power. In Veinte Veinte you roll with the punches or the punches roll on you. I/we/all of us need to keep fighting to keep creativity and music alive. I give NØ EXPERIENCE the utmost respect for doing their part and giving bands a healthy outlet to express themselves. There have been many creative live streams, socially distant shows, and other expressions of the same point, but for us, for GRAND HEFT, playing live together as a group can't be simulated.
So please, enjoy this footage of a 94 degree day, in an open back yard at 2pm. If there's any polish on this footage it's due to the fine folks at NE. At the very least, we hope that a little taste of live rock 'n roll can drown out the onslaught of news in your life for a few minutes.
See you in 2021.
- Jamison Mosshart
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