Grunge Dad started as a channel for new drummer Emma Headley to get more practice time.
Headley had been drumming for just a month when she met Lisa Brokaw at a concert last April. Headley made an offhand comment about how fun it would be to start a girl band and how she wanted to play the drums with someone other than herself.
“It can be really boring just to play drums by yourself,” said Brokaw, singer and guitarist for the band.
Brokaw and Headley started practicing together in a storage unit rehearsal space downtown and were a duo until the night before their first show, when Marie Corbo, bassist, decided to join the ranks.
This haphazard origin story matches the attitude the members have for their music: cool and relaxed. Their success in the Columbus band circuit has been a surprise for what they lovingly call their “joke band.”
The name of the band was even a bit of a joke. Someone coined the term Grunge Dad as an homage to the typical, Generation X father, telling their kid to “listen to the Pixies … and wear flannel.” Brokaw thought it was funny and wrote it down for the band’s first gig; the name stuck.
“I think it’s really easy to be in Grunge Dad and the things that we produce just come and … it’s relaxed,” Headley said.
But their laidback attitude doesn’t mean that they aren’t taking the band seriously. Joking around about their music and the band itself releases some of the pressure that comes with their success.
“I think we’re all just super anxious and I think if we take it too seriously we’ll implode,” Brokaw said. “Our approach is just forward momentum and not agonizing over anything.”
Grunge Dad’s music is as unconventional as their carefree attitudes. To accurately describe their sound, Headley said to take “stoner metal, throw some Weezer on it, with some female vocals and maybe some J Mascis riffs.” It’s dark and moody grunge music with a female lead — a welcome twist.
“I don’t think I could play bass on anything I thought was ‘cute’” Corbo said. “I really appreciate the aggressiveness, or whatever genre we are.”
Playing such heavy music was a deliberate choice by the band; they didn’t want to be another “cute” girl band.
Being an all-female band was a conscious decision as well, but they don’t make that the defining characteristic of the band.
“I don’t think about the fact that we’re all women, I don’t think any of us do, it just happens to be the case,” Brokaw said.
Over the weekend, the band recorded an album they hope to release sometime this summer. Regardless of their outward attitude, they want Grunge Dad to become the success they know it can be.
“We accidentally stumbled upon something that we like doing and other people seem to like,” Brokaw said.
Grunge Dad will be playing at Used Kids Records on April 5 and at Spacebar on April 8. Tickets are $5.