We posed some questions to Bill Whitten
about being a band in Brooklyn, band vans,
and subway performers...
Free Williamsburg: Is Brooklyn Better?
Bill Whitten: Yeah, sure. It's a great place, if you can
turn a blind eye to the forces of gentrification that are constantly
at work, creeping ever further and further, deeper and deeper into
the gritty, working-class heart of Brooklyn. If you can do that,
then it's cool.
It seems like most people who play in NYC bands live and rehearse
in Brooklyn. Almost everyone you see walking down the street look
like rock'n'rollers. It'll be great while it lasts, until it is
fully transformed into an upper middle-class bohemian enclave like
the East Village. I ended up here after being forced out of Manhattan
and Long Island City by skyrocketing rents. Perhaps it's only a
matter of time before I have to leave Brooklyn (next stop Staten
NYC rolls on...tearing down landmarks, steam-rolling neighborhoods,
displacing people, but it's always been that way and we all love
it. It beats Hartford,CT or Des Moines...or Chicago.
Free Williamsburg: Who's your favorite subway platform performer?
Bill Whitten: The Kagle Family. They are a bunch of young siblings
who seem to be vastly talented, and cute, and have better chops
than most bands in NYC.
Free Williamsburg: Does Grand Mal have a Band Van?
Bill Whitten: Our band van was abandoned during a blizzard in
Toledo,OH last January, 2001. It was filled with garbage and covered
in graffiti, a '72' vandura I believe. I am glad it is gone. It
was like a mobile gas chamber.
Grand Mal is recording an album in October.2001 with producer Dave
Fridmann (Mercury Rev, Flaming Lips,Mogwai, Sparklehorse etc.)...it
will be released in 2002 on ArenaRockRecordings....it
is to be called "Bad Timing".
For more Grand Mal news, reviews, and info on upcoming shows,
go to their website