Abrasive and prickly purveyors of violently noisy hardcore, Great Falls (featuring our own Shane Mehling on bass, alongside guitarist/vocalist Demian Johnston and drummer Phil Petrocelli, names you might recognize from Kiss it Goodbye, Jesu, Playing Enemy, Undertow, amongst others) have a new album out entitled The Fever Shed. Hit the big orange arrow somewhere below and you can have it peel the paint off the walls of whatever asylum you’re presently rotting in. And if that doesn’t do the trick, maybe reading the word salad rally between myself and maestro Mehling will be the cure that ails all your decorative wants and needs? Or maybe a simple helping of metallic vitriol and turbulent snark is fine and dandy by you?
Has Great Falls played Great Falls, MT yet? If so, what does Great Falls think of Great Falls and vice versa?
There is another Great Falls, you know. Don’t leave those proud Virginians out of this. But we’ve never played there, though I’ve passed through and there’s a little hill that when you drive over it really fast you catch some air and they call it “Tickle Tummy.”
The Deciblog has gone through so many different format changes and, as a result, I have no clue if any of the previous mentions of the band are still accessible. So, can you give us a bit of an update on what’s been going on recently? What’s been the most recent and most entertaining GF related story you can colour this interview up with?
Well, we did a split with Thou doing Shellac covers and we’ve recorded other music before that and we’re all super fucking boring. You know the King of the Hill intro where it’s just four guys standing around drinking beer? Well, imagine there were only three of them and one’s not drinking. That is the kind of delight and amusement you can expect from us.
Word on the street and judging by the stream that’s included, you have some new goodies set for release. What can you impart upon us about this material?
It’s called The Fever Shed. It’s eight songs, we recorded it about a year ago and according to Noisey, it is the most focused and interesting release in our long discography and may well signify a watershed moment in our career. No wait, they said that about the new Kylesa.
Is there anything notably different about how this material was written or recorded when compared to past records and creative processes?
This is really the first fully cohesive record we’ve done, where all the songs were written from scratch by the three of us and were all meant to work together. In a lot of ways it feels like a debut record, and for a lot of other people it will seem like a debut record since they’ve never heard of us before.
Is there a particular lyrical theme or concept to this collection of new tunes?
The lyrics are a huge bummer and super personal, so it’s probably better just to grab the lyrics sheet and read along with Demian as he screams his terrible life.
In listening to and being a fan over the years, I think it’s fair to say GF is a band that doesn’t sit still or employ blinders to possibility (i.e. the RoboCop cover). How would you characterise the new stuff vs. the old stuff?
Huh, I don’t know ‘cause we’re a pretty punk rock band in the sense that so far we haven’t had any freelance sitarists show up and KRS-One isn’t throwing down any rap verses for us. Everything on the record is just the three of us making noise with our instruments so we’re not exactly trying to show Porcupine Tree how it’s done or whatever. But Demian and I did do an experimental noise band for years, and Phil has a long history with remixes and audio manipulation so maybe those sensibilities somehow bleed a little more into the newer songs? Or maybe it all sounds the same and you were just being nice.
And what about that RoboCop cover anyway? How did that come about and have there been any notable reactions? Any plans for more covers from the real golden age of cinema? Maybe an EP of renditions of 80s action favourites?
We did it because Managing Editor Andrew Bonazelli needed a soundtrack for his killer book DTV and that was just something we thought we could pull off. Graf Orlock’s Predator theme is far superior to what we did. And I think maybe five people total have ever listened to it, but it’s free on our Bandcamp so anyone can download it and give us their notable reactions whenever they’d like. We talk about doing more weird shit like that all the time but we barely have time to write our own wicked tunes.
You guys are all what would, could and should be considered “veterans” of this extreme music business. For yourselves, what keeps you going and the fires stoked when you consider the lack of financial wheel spinning, real-life responsibilities, the disappearance of all the old groupies and all the loading in and out?
Loading in and out. Fuck. I have been hauling an 8X10 for years now with only one wheel on it, so that shit sucks even worse for me and my poor bandmates. And maybe that’s a good metaphor for all this, because we do put a ton of time and care into the music but we’re just super lazy and awful in every other aspect. And yet we still get to play shows with great bands and occasionally someone will buy a record or say nice things to our faces. Simply getting to talk to a pro journalist like yourself is all the stoking we need.
Anything you’d like to add that you feel needs mentioning?
If you’re a band on social media and someone follows you and you send a message trying to upsell them on buying your music or merch or anything, then you deserve to have all your instruments thrown into the gutter.