The Growlers

Bands - Musicians - Issue 18

This was what we call a “politically incorrect” interview. The Growlers are they guys you want to sit down and drink beers or hang out at a bar. Pure rock’n’rollas. Matt, the guitarist lying on the couch in a hangover state following last night’s lip sync at a bar, Brooks, the talkative frontman, posing and showing off his tattoos, Kyle -guitar & keyboards- (aka Uncle Ronnie) being the “soul of the party” and Scott the drummer, the “discuss” guy. Anthony Braun Perry the bass player was the one missing… as he was strolling around Gagarin 205 and finally came around after the interview had finished.

It all started with Scott, discussing with us about his visit to Acropolis earlier that morning, as well as about how impressed he was by the sculptures, while he asked us where he could have an ancient Greek style tattoo done at the late hours... 

The whole atmosphere had something from Paul Thomas Anderson’s recent movie ‘Inherent Vice’. And so it all started…

Interview by Eirini Katsara.
Photos by Ino Mei.

It all reminds me of ‘Inherent Vice’. How did you end up having a cameo at Anderson’s latest movie?

Brooks: I don’t know. Anderson knew our music. I think somebody showed us to him. He was looking for a seventies – sixties atmosphere thing, West L.A. and somebody showed us to him. He is a very nice guy and he was really cool, and we were like we don’t know if we can do it, but we will try. And he said, “Ok, let’s do it”.

So you have many fans from the cinema section, such as Bill Murray who happened to “dig it” in a Growlers gig in SXSW in 2010 (there’s also a video). Are you fans of Murray as well?

Brooks: Who isn’t a fan of Bill Murray?  I mean he has an integrity that hardly any other comedian has. 

Matt: And there is this thing that you say it and you can’t even believe that is happening, no one will ever believe you. And he’s peeing next to our friend. And our friend says, “Are you Bill Murray”? And he says “No”.  And we say no one is gonna ever believe you. And that’s the funniest part of it.

How did you guys first meet? Was it at high school?

Brooks: Yeah, we were all walking down in high school together, we were all carrying books and looked at each other had this eye contact and we said let’s start a band (laughs)…

No way!

Brooks: Yes! Ha ha! No. We all met after high school when we all started drinking and kind of met each other in circles.

So, what are your artistic influences as a band?

Brooks: We are art lovers, but we’re uneducated, so we can’t really talk about art.

Scott: I like Greek art, like Greek pot art; the vases, the amphorae, the ancient motives in general. I love their simplicity and the pureness of this style. I would like to get a tattoo with ancient Greek thematology.

Matt: I really like impressionism. I’m a huge Van Gogh fan.

Kyle: I like amateur comedy nights. Not improper but beginner comedy, I think that’s the best. Cause it really is not funny, and that’s what’s funny about it. I also like Greek street art. 

Brooks: I’ve been in a band for such a long time that I didn’t really get into art so much. When I was young I liked pop art, like the “obvious” stuff; like Warhol. Other than that, just bands.

Kyle: Here in Athens there is so much Graffiti! I’ve been seeing it everywhere in this city. “Greek-ffiti”! You guys have been “tattooing” the entire city. I’ve never seen so much graffiti in my whole life.

If you had not been involved in music, what you think you would be right now?

Matt: I’ d probably be a professional body builder. 

Brooks: Drug dealer (laughs).

Ok, let’s talk about your tattoos. You have… plenty of them. How many?

Brooks: Thirty one. 

Kyle: You know, when we were in Australia and I was sitting in the bathtub I counted them, and I think they’re around a hundred. I had them done by fifteen – twenty different people.

Are you then a tattoo “collector”? 

Kyle: Yeah a tattoo art collector. I am willing to have a tattoo whenever someone is willing to give me one.

Brooks: I hated tattoos when I was young. I thought I would never get one. And then, one day Matt said come one let’s have a tattoo. And then we get drunk and had a tattoo. Let’s get a “I’m Jones’n” tattoo. Because he met some bum called Jones, and he was like ok let’s get that, and he got a giant “I’m Jones’n” on his arm (laughs).

Matt: I hate my tattoos now.

Brooks: Come on Matt! Your tattoos are sick! You know what is weird with tattoos? If I could get rid of all of them, like this, right now, I would do it, but then I would get new tattoos.

What do you mean?

Brooks: I’d get rid of them all, ‘cause they just don’t really mean anything to me. You know, when someone asks you what does your tattoo mean, I’ m like “absolutely f…ing nothing”. It’s just partying and getting them. I’d like to have them erased not because I’m embarrassed, but because it would be fun starting over. And it would probably be the exact same thing: drunk and doodles. 

Do you think tattoos and Rock 'n' Roll go hand in hand?

Brooks: Yeah, they go hand in hand! They are both ego expressions. Rock 'n' Roll people are like strippers; they have low self-esteem and they seek attention. They want to express themselves. So that’s why strippers, Rock 'n' Roll people, and tattoos go hand in hand. 

Kyle: Tattoos and drinking Jack Daniels.

You’re doing the so-called “Beach Goth festival”. What about making a festival like that in a Greek island?

Matt: Yeah, that would be awesome!

Brooks: We initially didn’t know how to do a festival, but we’ve been learning. It would be nice to bring it to other countries, you know, not only beaches, cities can also be involved.

HeartbeatInk Tattoo Magazine would like kindly to thank P90 Events for the help and the realisation of the interview and Gagarin 205 Live Music Space for the hospitality.