The Grannies story began on a hot July night in 1999, as five grown men dressed as old ladies crossed 11th St in San Francisco and hit the stage at the Paradise Lounge. 15 years, 8 Jack Endino-produced albums, 3 European tours, more than a few beer soaked house dresses, some delighted fans, some not-so delighted soundmen, an 8’ x 5’ oil painting by German artist Frank Bauer (that sold in Cologne for $25,000), some good press, some bad press; and these self-proclaimed “Masters of Quality Edutainment” are still at it. Still. Saustex label boss Jeff Smith has dubbed them “The hardest working ladymen in rock’n’roll”.
Featuring former members of Ain’t (SF), Black Furies (SF), Hollow Heyday (Boston) and Hullabaloo(Boston) The Grannies have released albums on their Dead Teenager and Wondertaker labels and now unleash their full-length debut for Saustex. “Mixing the frantic three chord riff rock of G.B.H. with the in-your-face danger of the Dwarves and add in Divine’s fashion sense for good measure — and voila, you now have the ingredients for a Grannies’ cocktail.” says Greg Prato of All Music Guide.
These five are mild-mannered career and family men by day, occupying jobs ranging taxi driver to architect that allow them to don nothing but the latest in thrift store fashion on stage, “looking like a dystopian nightmare vision of glam”, notes Ken Shimamoto of The Stash Dauber. The San Francisco Bay Guardian says “this bunch of moldy old punk rockers, whose history consists chiefly of dressing up like old ladies, getting f*cked up and f*cking things up while decent folk look on in horror are a definite must see.” and Musicdownload was prompted to this bit of pith: “The band members look like Nick Nolte’s mug shot if he had been dressed as the lady from ‘Mama’s Family’…” But we’re getting too tangled up in visuals because it’s really the music that matters, right?
While schtick gets The Grannies to the altar, the music ties the knot. Unbeknownst to most, the band has maintained the same five members for over a decade, but each has the unusual habit of changing their stage names from album to album. So, while you cannot count on consistent album credits beyond mainstay Seattle producer Jack Endino (Nirvana, Mudhoney, Murder City Devils, High On Fire) you can bet there will be some furious, juvenile and belligerent punk rawk and roll lurking within the packaging walls of any release by The Grannies. Sleazegrinder had this to say about the band: “…Best of all, regardless of what mode they’re in, whether it’s sincere rock revivalists or snotty, tranny-granny punk rock assholes, they lay on the hooks and the howls and the c*ck-rockin’ guitar solos like…like they’re not even dressed like arthritic 70 year old broads at all.” And Seattl e weekly The Stranger beams “The Grannies assault your ears with something mean, something dirty and something completely rock‘n’roll.”