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Grynch wouldn't mind stealing show.

Byline: Serena Markstrom The Register-Guard

The young men from Eugene band Grynch are polite.

Recently, when I stopped by the band's north Eugene rehearsal spot, they apologized for the smell, then offered me toilet tissue for my ears, a "band chair" to sit in and a pull of rum directly from the bottle they all were sharing.

"No thanks. On duty," I said about the rum, accepting the tissue and the chair.

The five men from Grynch, ages 23 to 31, are many things: intense, creative, hard-working, funny, focused, wild and, yes, loud. (Not death-metal loud. I didn't need the tissue in my ears.)

You've got to be loud if you're going to open for Floater, which became one of Eugene's most popular rock bands before getting too big for our little pond and swimming north to ply its trade in Portland.

Floater is signed to indie label Elemental Records. It released "Stone by Stone" last fall, and has routinely sold out shows first at the WOW Hall, then at the larger McDonald.

Grynch is no stranger to the McDonald. The group has been around since 2001 and first played the McDonald in 2005, opening for Floater. In November, Grynch played on a multi-band bill headlined by the Cherry Poppin' Daddies.

The Saturday show is important because Floater fans are naturals to also take to Grynch. The band wants to take full advantage of the opportunity.

Guitar player Darrell Jolliff said he thinks this show will sell out, but Grynch is still handing out countless fliers and working, "so people see our name next to Floater's," he said.

The last time it opened for Floater, Grynch only had 20 minutes to play, so there wasn't much chance to schmooze with the crowd, Jolliff said. This time, Grynch gets an hour.

Jolliff said the group has been working on a new CD of late, with a planned release date of April 20. That would coincide with the fifth anniversary of Grynch's first show.

The album, which Rommi Records is putting out, has a working title of "Two Minutes Before. Two Minutes After." That refers to a band ritual of taking time together before and after each performance.

A chemistry that works

Year-round, the group gets together to work at least twice a week - sometimes three - in bass player Kyle Neuberger's converted garage.

During the recent rehearsal, the four launched into "Wish You Well," with a fifth member, Sean Neuberger (known as "Wookie'), hanging out, tapping his foot and dancing. During shows, Wookie provides digital sound samples and light effects.

Lead singer Jonny Hanson faced his bandmates and sang the song as though to a crowd of screaming people, squatting to the ground and springing back up, straightening his posture, flexing his body and pulling the mike away from his mouth as he closed his rough roars.

"We haven't played that song in a while," Jolliff said when it was over.

In his habit of blurting out non sequiturs - something that has led to a running band joke of shushing him - Kyle Neu- berger responded, "I'm so glad I got the new bass."

The songlist from the Daddies' show is posted in the Grynch rehearsal room with a note to the effect of: "Kyle, don't talk or we'll kill you."

The band then dove into a cover it often performs live: "Sober" by Tool. The choice would seem ironic considering the rum-and-Cokes and beers the guys were consuming, unless you knew the song is about not wanting to be sober.

"Why can't we drink for- ever?/ I just want to start this over," Hanson sang, wearing torn jeans, white T-shirt, skater shoes and a studded belt.

The group took a cigarette break, then gathered to talk band history. They spilled the story behind the name, why other drummers and singers didn't work out and how they landed a record deal.

The name came up as sort of a joke when the original band, from which only Kyle Neuberger and Jolliff remain, thought it'd be funny if they dubbed themselves the "Grynch who stole the Eugene music scene."

The other band members "just weren't a fit," Hanson said.

As for the record contract, a representative from Rommi attended a show with maybe 10 people in the audience. Discouraged at first, Grynch members decided to approach the gig as though it was playing for a huge audience, which impressed the label representative.

Having some financial support for buying new equipment, putting out a CD and booking a tour has reduced the stress of band life, Jolliff said. That, plus a combination of chemistry and experience, has meant two things for Grynch: better songs and more fun.

Since backup vocalist and drummer Tobby Lugo joined the band, members agree the sound has gone more metal. Lugo said he wants their sound to be even harder.

The latest Grynch incarnation produces a compromise between mellower

leanings of some and Lugo's craving for the most aggressive, thrashing and hard music they can muster. Some members don't even want the word "metal" in the de- scription.

Bucking several mock attempts to silence him, Kyle Neuberger blurted out his suggestion for a genre name.

"We're Emo-metal with a silent 'E'!' he said.

When everyone started laughing, he shouted out over them, "We're 'mo-metal'!"


Grynch, opening for Floater

What: Rock

When: 9 p.m. Saturday

Where: McDonald Theatre, 1010 Willamette

Tickets: $13 in advance, $15 day of show

Listen on the Web: /grynch.php


Signed to Rommi Records, summer 2006

Winner of the Eugene Splint Media Battle of the Bands, January 2003; third in the University of Oregon Cultural Forum Eugene Battle of the Bands, March 2004; winner of the New Stars Cabaret Battle of the Bands in Salem, 2006.

Twice played the WOW Hall's Reignition showcase of local talent

Has performed with more than 200 bands, including the Rock 'n' Roll Soldiers, Earshot, Fishbone, Domeshots and Ding Mao

You can call Serena Markstrom at 338-2371 or e-mail her at
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Title Annotation:Entertainment; The Eugene band sees opening for Floater as its big opportunity
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Feb 2, 2007
Previous Article:MUSIC BRIEFLY.
Next Article:After taking time to reflect, Furtado is back in spotlight.

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