MUSIC BOX: Grieves gets Grizzly with Sweatshop Union

By on November 12, 2013
Grieves and Sweatshop Union team up for an all-ages show at Pink Garter Theatre.
Grieves and Sweatshop Union team up for an all-ages show at Pink Garter Theatre.

Grieves and Sweatshop Union team up for an all-ages show at Pink Garter Theatre.

JACKSON HOLE, WYO – From stabbing himself in the hand to a tragic fire, and from being a one-man band to DJ sets to live instrumentation, hip-hop artist Grieves has pushed through his share of experiences and adversity. He talks about staying positive despite hardship, and the importance of all-ages shows, like the one he headlines Saturday at the Pink Garter.

Jackson Hole Weekly: What’s your stage setup like for this Back on My Grizzly tour?
Grieves: This time around I’m kind of doing the dance thing. I’ve done the DJ thing, I’ve done the one-man band thing and now I just kind of want to open it up more because what goes into creating music in the studio is so much more. I’ve been using samples for five years, so everything’s been played in the studio so I wanted to represent that on stage. I’ve got keys and guitars on stage and I still make the drums and the bass in the tracks via Appleton. Cuz that’s what I love about hip-hop so much is that glorified gigantic bass with the big drums, so I’m keeping those sonics.

JHW: I read on your Web site that it had “been a rough summer getting back on my feet after the fire.” What happened?
Grieves: We spent a lot of last year gearing up to … I was writing this new record and we were getting new places with our business in general and we wanted to take that next step, so we ended up getting our own work space with offices, a merch warehouse, and a studio. About two days from being done with construction, it burnt to the ground. So we lost close to $20,000 in merch, something like that. A lot of gear was messed up. Everything we built was gone. We took a significant loss. That stuff happens. I could let it conquer me, or I can learn from it.

JHW: Well, it seems that many of your lyrics serve as somewhat of a musical therapy for you … working through hard times with a positive outlook. Would you agree?
Grieves: I totally would [agree]. That’s all it’s really every been for me.

JHW: Do you have some new tunes in the works since 2011’s Together/Apart?
Grieves: Yes, I do and we’re incorporating them in. It took a long time to teach them to the band … close to a year. Now, with a new record coming to completion, I’ve never done these songs [live] so it’s fun to see these boys step up and incorporate how they feel things should go and it’s really opened up the set.

JHW: It’s cool that the show here in JH is all ages. That’s not usually the norm at the Pink Garter Theatre. Is that something that you push for and what’s the importance of doing so?
Grieves: Our fan base is all walks of life, all ages. I feel like if we’re going to spend the time to leave our homes, wives and kids to go out on the road, why should we limit it? I want to do it right. Last time we played in Jackson, there were kids getting detention for handing out fliers in school! I know those kids want to come to the show. It doesn’t seem fair to not let them come, so I rallied pretty hard with my agent and manager. They said “no.” I had given up on it, and a couple of weeks later it got pushed to all ages.

JHW: Anything else stand out in your memory about your previous shows in Jackson?
Grieves: Last time I was in Jackson, I put a knife through my hand on accident. We had flown from Mexico that morning and landed in Jackson. I was helping my tour manager take down the merch setup. I was popping off zip ties with a knife and shoved the knife almost completely through my hand, cutting it from the thumb bone down to my wrist. I had to do the rest of the tour with a dead hand because I had cut through the nerves. It was a hot mess.

JHW: If you were not a hip-hop artist, what else would you be doing?
Grieves: For a long time I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher. That’s what I went to school for. But at the same time, I don’t know if I would have ever followed through with it because I have so many disagreements with how kids are supposed to be taught. I don’t think there’s a way that kids are supposed to be taught … I think if you can reach them, you should reach them.

Grieves with Sweatshop Union, 9 p.m., Saturday at Pink Garter Theatre. $13 advance, $15 day-of-show at The Rose, Pinky G’s and A free meet and greet happens just before doors open (8 p.m.) at The Boardroom of Jackson Hole, 733-8327.

About Aaron Davis

Aaron Davis is a decade-long writer of Music Box, a singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, member of Screen Door Porch and Boondocks, founder/host of Songwriter’s Alley, and co-founder of The WYOmericana Caravan.

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