Razor's edge

Pop

A bearded band of California mountain men, hailing from the unhappening town of Modesto? Yes, but Grandaddy also produce some of the grooviest pop music around. Tim Perry meets singer Jason Lytle

One of the few obvious things to be said about Grandaddy is that their name belies the ages of these heavy-set and bearded Californians, who are still in their early 20s. The man with the biggest chin-thatch of all, the sometimes falsetto-voiced singer, Jason Lytle, feels pretty good that "our whole introduction to this corporate thing had such organic beginnings".

He recalls the story of how he went to a Giant Sand gig with a package containing a tape, T-shirt and a little note that said "This is out of appreciation. I would sincerely like to say thanks for affecting our band and hopefully some day we can affect somebody as you have affected us." Lytle forgot to put a contact number on it, but Giant Sand loved what they heard and turned it over to their management.

The way in which Giant Sand have seemed to affect Grandaddy most is that they've got the confidence to pursue their own ideas. Their album, Under The Western Freeway, contains the anthemic pop burst of "Summer Here Kids", with its exuberant guitars, keyboards and layers of fuzzy noise. Elsewhere, it switches from melancholy to madness with no warning: there's early- Sixties surf pop that's been warped up, some twisted around high lonesome country, orchestral doodlings, West Coast psychedelia and samples of crickets and bees.

Though this is their first album, Grandaddy have been around since 1991. "It creates a bit of solidity. It helps being together for so long. It falls into that indescribable category," reckoned Lytle. They must know each other pretty well by now as they come from the unhappening town of Modesto.

"It's about 90 minutes inland from San Francisco. If California was Disneyland, then Modesto would be the employee break room. It's got a lot of agriculture and not a lot else going on, but it's a nice place to clear your head, gather your wits and just kinda come back down.

Everybody in the band spends a lot of time skateboarding but I also grew up listening to way too much ELO. I've gotten a little bit more secure about that over the years. It didn't rub with skateboarding culture at the time, though."

It seemed an appropriate moment to ask about the beard and whether Lytle is the first Amish rock star. "Err, it's not really Amish. It's more in terms of the whole function-before-fashion thing. I love those pictures of those old expeditioners and mountain men; it seemed the best they could do is crop their hair short and have a big old beard. I've had it a long time. It's not the most girl-getting thing but I like it. I'd love to make it sound as if there's more meaning behind it, but I'm just comfortable with it." Grandaddy play Backyard at the Water Rats, 328 Grays Inn Road, N1 (0171-580 8881) 10 Nov

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Consultant - London - £65,000 OTE.

    £65000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Technical Presales Engineer - central London ...

    Recruitment Genius: Physiotherapist / Sports Therapist

    £20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Physiotherapist / Sports Ther...

    Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Advisor

    £8 - £9 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Sales Executives / Advisors are required...

    Recruitment Genius: Warehouse Operative

    £14000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans campaign: Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after £300,000 gift from Lloyds Bank

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Donations hit record-breaking £1m target after huge gift from Lloyds Bank
    Flight MH370 a year on: Lost without a trace – but the search goes on

    Lost without a trace

    But, a year on, the search continues for Flight MH370
    Germany's spymasters left red-faced after thieves break into brand new secret service HQ and steal taps

    Germany's spy HQ springs a leak

    Thieves break into new €1.5bn complex... to steal taps
    International Women's Day 2015: Celebrating the whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Whirlwind wit of Simone de Beauvoir

    Simone de Beauvoir's seminal feminist polemic, 'The Second Sex', has been published in short-form for International Women's Day
    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Mark Zuckerberg’s hiring policy might suit him – but it wouldn’t work for me

    Why would I want to employ someone I’d be happy to have as my boss, asks Simon Kelner
    Confessions of a planespotter: With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent

    Confessions of a planespotter

    With three Britons under arrest in the UAE, the perils have never been more apparent. Sam Masters explains the appeal
    Russia's gulag museum 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities

    Russia's gulag museum

    Ministry of Culture-run site 'makes no mention' of Stalin's atrocities
    The big fresh food con: Alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay

    The big fresh food con

    Joanna Blythman reveals the alarming truth behind the chocolate muffin that won't decay
    Virginia Ironside was my landlady: What is it like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7?

    Virginia Ironside was my landlady

    Tim Willis reveals what it's like to live with an agony aunt on call 24/7
    Paris Fashion Week 2015: The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp

    Paris Fashion Week 2015

    The wit and wisdom of Manish Arora's exercise in high camp
    8 best workout DVDs

    8 best workout DVDs

    If your 'New Year new you' regime hasn’t lasted beyond February, why not try working out from home?
    Paul Scholes column: I don't believe Jonny Evans was spitting at Papiss Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible

    Paul Scholes column

    I don't believe Evans was spitting at Cissé. It was a reflex. But what the Newcastle striker did next was horrible
    Miguel Layun interview: From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    From the Azteca to Vicarage Road with a million followers

    Miguel Layun is a star in Mexico where he was criticised for leaving to join Watford. But he says he sees the bigger picture
    Frank Warren column: Amir Khan ready to meet winner of Floyd Mayweather v Manny Pacquiao

    Khan ready to meet winner of Mayweather v Pacquiao

    The Bolton fighter is unlikely to take on Kell Brook with two superstar opponents on the horizon, says Frank Warren
    War with Isis: Iraq's government fights to win back Tikrit from militants - but then what?

    Baghdad fights to win back Tikrit from Isis – but then what?

    Patrick Cockburn reports from Kirkuk on a conflict which sectarianism has made intractable