Tuesday, January 1, 2019
Fistful of Questions With Ed Grabianowski Of Spacelord
Frontman. Space Wizard. Weaver of tales. Reluctant chef. Would be assassin? This edition of Fistful of Questions goes out to Spacelord singer and published author Ed Grabianowski.
What is your full name?
Do you have an aliases?
Only secret ones.
What bands are you actively involved with?
How did Spacelord materialize?
Rich and Kevin had a band that fell apart before it got going, then they found me, then we all found Chris, the bass player (who it turns out I’d played with a few years earlier when I auditioned for an Iron Maiden tribute band — which he still plays in, by the way, and they kick ass. 2 Minutes To Maiden).
What inspired the name Spacelord?
It just had the right vibe.
What was the name of the first band you were in?
Oh hell, let’s see. I was in a band in high school that went through a couple names. Wet Paint. Origin Myth. Silly teenage stuff. In the early 2000s I had a band called Illegal Machine.
Do you play any instruments?
I started out playing the drums. I play guitar, but not very well. No one would let me play guitar on stage, and I prefer to just focus on singing anyway. But that’s me playing the acoustic guitar on “Warlike Prelude” on the first Spacelord album.
Tell me about one of your first musical memories.
At some point someone made a novelty song called “The Curly Shuffle” about Curly from the Three Stooges. I was really young, but I remember I loved it. My dad bought the 45 single of it for me. My first serious musical memory is that I literally wore out my cassette tape of Van Halen’s 1984. Still love that album.
Who are some of your biggest musical influences?
Chris Cornell and Steve Marriott, which I guess is a pretty good cross-section of our sound.
Attalla was great, really fun show. Mos Generator is just killer. Insane level of musicianship in those three guys, they made a little dive bar stage feel like Wembley Stadium. I also want to add that literally every single stoner/doom band we've played with has been amazingly friendly, helpful, and awesome to hang out with. Zero exceptions, and we've played with a bunch of touring bands when they visit Buffalo. It's such a great scene, and my favorite thing about being in Spacelord is getting to be a part of it.
Do you have a pre-show ritual?
If you could insert yourself into one band what band would it be and why?
Do I have to plan and carry out the assassination of the prior lead singer for this to work? I’m not saying it’s out of the question, but I want to clarify first.
Have you ever heard a song and immediately wished you had written it? If so, what was the song and artist?
Soundgarden, “Like Suicide.” That song is everything, gorgeous and intense, takes a small moment of life and recasts it in more mythic terms, and creates enough mystery and space for the listener to interpret it in a hundred emotional ways. And that’s not even talking about the punch in the gut it is to hear him sing those specific words now, you know?
What comes first when you are writing a song. The title or the lyrics?
Most of the time the lyrics happen and I pull the title from there, and it can be really obvious if there’s a chorus of any kind. “Iron & Pride” is like that. Or not, like “Doriath in Starlight.” But all songs have working titles at some point so we can work on and rehearse them without going, “Uh, that one song with the drum thing?” And every once in a while the working title sticks.
“Cruiserweight” was just a word that popped into my head when I needed a working title, but when I sat down to write the lyrics, the image of a scrappy fighter stuck with me and the song ended up using that as inspiration. “Super Starship Adventure” was like that too. It was kind of a joke title, but it was too fun to get rid of.
Speaking of writing. You are a published author. Is your approach to writing lyrics any different than your approach to writing stories?
There are elements that are the same, like making sure you’re using specific and unique imagery to create something that’s really vivid for a listener or reader. But writing stories is a craft, it takes work and practice to get good at plot and pacing. Not that writing lyrics doesn’t take work and practice, but you can definitely get away with just riding on raw emotion and a couple good lines with lyrics.
What is the name of the first story that you had published?
“Extraneus Invokat,” a horror short story that was printed in Black Static magazine. Almost got made into a short film last year too!
If I’m not mistaken you recently completed a novel, is that correct?
I have two novels, a horror novel and a sword & sorcery fantasy novel, but neither is complete.
Can you tell me a little about it?
The writing world is drowning in writing advice, but the one advice I really took to heart was, “Don’t talk about your stories until they’re finished.” Because you have this internal force that makes you need to get that story out of your head and into the world, and talking about it is like a release valve for that force. You need to bottle it up and focus it one direction — getting the damn novel done.
Well, I’ve made a living writing full-time for almost 20 years (mostly non-fiction), and my total net profits from being in Spacelord for more than two years are maybe $200?
When did you know that you wanted to make your living as a writer?
When I was in high school I realized I was pretty good at it. It's not a straight line from there to here, but that's where it started.
The year is 2000. Where are you at and what are you listening to?
I’m in Buffalo working for a shitty local newspaper, and I’m definitely listening to either Tool or A Perfect Circle. I got really into those bands that year.
What is a non-metal song that you’d like to do a cover of?
The Faces “Wicked Messenger.” I know it’s a Dylan song but I love the Faces’ version of it. I’m imagining a really heavy, doomy take. “If you cannot bring good news then don’t bring any!”
How long have you had your dog?
About 13 years. We just figured out the other night that she’s turned 14 (she’s a rescue dog though, so it’s impossible to know exactly when she was born). I barely remember life without her.
One thing most people don't know about you?
I once drove a Vega to Saturn. Or maybe it was a Saturn to Vega. The memory’s a little fuzzy.
Favorite guilty pleasure?
No guilty pleasures. Love what you love unironically and without shame (as long as you can do it ethically).
What’s the longest time you’ve gone without bathing?
Is this like the bridge guy in Monty Python’s Holy Grail? I don’t want to answer incorrectly. 3!
If you had to choose would you rather sell a million albums or a million copies of a book?
Albums. Not that I wouldn’t love to sell a million books, but I’d much rather the book get made into a movie. If I sell a million albums that means I can play shows for decent crowds, and playing for a packed house of people that are into what you’re doing is an incomparable feeling.
What two things should people absolutely know about Buffalo, NY?
1). The best wings are not at Anchor Bar.
2). The corporeal body of a dark and vengeful god lies dreaming beneath the city and will one day awaken.
Is there any chance at all that you would include me as a character in one of your stories or novels?
There's a term for that, Tuckerization. The long version of this answer sounds pretentious, so the short answer is, no, that's not something I'd ever do. Nothing personal, I won't do it for anyone.
I really honestly don’t know any. I heard one called “Bad Blood” or something once, it had a neat video but I thought it was pretty poorly written and overproduced. I’m not anti pop music. I love Rihanna and Pink. Just never got into T Swift.
The Lord of the Rings
The Sword “Warp Riders”
Waffles or Pancakes?
Many, many thanks to Ed for taking the time to answer my queries. I love finding out what makes people tick and it is always a bonus to learn a new word (Tuckerization). Thanks to Spacelord for releasing one of the standout albums of 2018. If you haven’t already you should check out their second full-length Indecipher (a.k.a one of the standout releases of 2018).
-El Pedo Caliente (a.k.a Uncle Jameson from the Fistful of DOOM show)
Links to two of his published works...