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Published: 2015/02/21
by Kayla Clancy

The Growlers: Beyond The Beach

After completing a lengthy international tour, The Growlers recently stopped through the desert of Arizona to kick off another U.S. tour. The tour concludes with a five night run at Baby’s All Right in Brooklyn, and then it’s back overseas. The Growlers have been living on a pretty intense tour life for a while now. Despite the tiring road life these California natives still go beyond just spreading their groove, covering their crowds with golden shimmers of surfy guitar waves and refreshingly honest and soulful lyrics.

Sitting down with lead singer Brooks Nielsen in Phoenix he alludes to the demands of touring and some California emotions. His songwriting process of assembling poetry into music is somewhat reminiscent of Jim Morrison, another strong lone lyricist to “ride the highway west.” In the end seeing crowd members enjoy the grooves sure seemed to bring warm energy to Nielsen as he softly swayed on stage, microphone in hand, with a certain smile. A new day brings a new town, leaving behind a little golden Growlers dust. The quiet morning hides the howls of a once-growling night, and the ever-burning sun rises again…

To what extent were you at all influenced by sixties surf music?

I heard it growing up and I think that was a part of it, but Matt was really into The Ventures. We quickly kind of went through that and sixties psych stuff and moved on.

What music influenced you a lot growing up?

I really didn’t care about music when I was young. I wouldn’t buy a CD or pick a band, it was just kind of what my friends were listening to. They were into punk and The Misfits, and things like that. I guess the most music I heard was from my mom. She was really into R&B and hip-hop.

*If it wasn’t music, what do you think you would be doing? *

I think I was pretty content just working for my dad. So I’d be building water fountains.

Are you still not listening to a lot of music, and just focusing on making music?

Yeah, I still hear music from friends playing it. I don’t really tend to listen. I think early on I thought, “Oh, I don’t want to listen to music on purpose so I don’t have anything in my head when I make this stuff.” At this point we are just touring so much there’s so much constant playing music that I get a little burned out on it and when I get home I just want to be.

Your song lyrics seem to reflect reality. Do you write them mainly from your own experience of life?

Yeah, if not me than very close to my-my friends and small family. I’m just being honest about everything real close to me.

I’ve heard you play a little bit of guitar, do you still do that?

Not so much really. I probably should be. When I get home I’m just trying to put the pieces back together to build an actual home because we’re gone so much. It’s spending time and checking in with the family and trying to spend as much time as I can with my chick and then back on the road. I only had like two weeks off at a time for the last six tours.

When you write songs do you write them like poetry and go to the band to put it together?

In every way. We have a small amount of time to make a record and a small amount of money and we don’t want to waste it so it consumes everything. I shut everybody out and just focus. So it’s me writing poetry. It’s me finding melodies and humming them. It’s me trying to get the guys to put up everything that they can to me and me playing troubadour to it and humming to it and creating an idea and structuring it all.

Are you at all a fan of Jim Morrison? I think of him as a very strong lyricist and you’re a strong lyricist.

Yeah definitely. When I met Matt he was really into The Doors. I had never known anyone that was really into them. I heard a lot of that in the beginning. When we were younger we used to take a lot of psychedelics and stuff so it was pretty funny we were just trying to imitate these lifestyles. I think he’s really unique. He was a good shit talker and a very good poet.

Do you all still live together in LA?

We finally scattered. We always lived together. It was kind of a golden rule for The Growlers to get along and create as much as possible. In the beginning we had jobs so it made since to kind of make a spot where we could get away from everything and sit and all together all the time do it, but we kind of grew out of it and we were forced to split up. Some guys are in Orange County and some of us are spread out in LA.

You guys have been touring all over lately, what have been some of your favorite stops?

New Zealand was really special. We went and stayed at a house on the beach and surfed for four days. It felt like vacation.

I saw a fan got naked on stage in Australia..has that happened before?

I think so yeah, but these guys took the cake. It was the funniest thing I’ve ever seen.

How did that happen?

One was dancing crazy, then the other one showed him up by getting naked and spreading his butt cheeks, and then the other guy couldn’t be outdone and came back naked and swung from the pipes on the ceiling upside-down, grabbing all the fans, and at the end came up on the stage and gave me a big fat kiss on the lips.

Did he kicked out afterwards?

No (laughs). Nobody cared. I think they were just afraid to touch them.

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