Interview: Grave Jones

1) Bio:
Grave Jones and the Heartrage Hotel album mark Lebanese musician Rabih Salloum’s long-awaited return to the scene following the rousing success of his previous musical project Slutterhouse that saw him share the stage with the likes of the Klaxons, Sleigh Bells, and Super Furry Animals and working with legendary producers Eric Chedeville (Daft Punk, Sebastien Tellier, Charlotte Gainsbourg) and Dimitri Tikovoi (Placebo, Nick Cave, Kill the Young). After the band’s success playing festivals across the world like Liverpool Sound City, Dubai Sound City, Stockhold Fashion week, and landing sync details across MTV 2 and EA Sports, the band split as Salloum left the music world ahead of his triumphant return almost a decade on.

2) Line up:
I write and play all the instruments on the record except for the bass guitar, which is played by Jawad Nawfal (he's known as the electronic musician Munma.) The additional musicians in my live lineup are:- Bojan Preradovic - guitar
- Michel Maouad - guitar
- Jawad Nawfal - bass
- Rayan Sayegh- synthesizers
- Melissa el Hani - drums

3) We sound like:
I really don't know how to answer that because I personally can't tell, but these are some of the names that other people mention when they hear the music: Smashing Pumpkins, Kasabian, Cage the Elephant, Interpol, Placebo, IAMX, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, Depeche Mode.

As a singer, I'm often compared to Liam Gallagher, Billy Corgan, Brian Molko, Ozzy Osbourne, and Axl Rose. Basically twangy singers who sound very nasal.

4) Discography:

- Without a Doubt (single)
- Crazy Train (single)
- Young Lover (single)
- World Gone Mad (single)

- Smithereens (1st single off the upcoming record Heartrage Hotel)

5) Influences:
I don't have any "direct" influences to the writing and the sound of Grave Jones so I wouldn't really know, it's a combination of everything I've heard and loved in my life. As a guitar player, I learned how to play by imitating Slash, Joe Perry, and Mick Mars. Somewhere down the line I managed to find my own style in there. As a singer, I think I learned a few tricks here and there from singers like Mike Patton, Axl Rose, Ozzy Osbourne or Billy Corgan.

6) What do you write about?
Personal and intimate stories of heartbreak, longing, wasted youth, fear of aging, regret, obsession with the past.

7) Your favourite live performance so far:
The Grave Jones live lineup was formed right before the pandemic, so unfortunately we didn't have the chance to tour together yet. But with some of my previous band Slutterhouse I've had some fantastic shows in Paris at the Showcase, in Stockholm during Fashion Week, and of course in Beirut because it was always great to play back home.

8) Tell us a funny story that happened in studio or on stage:
There are way too many outrageous stories on the road, but one of the funniest ones happened backstage somewhere in France. We had just finished opening for a band whose name I can't remember. The backstage area was located above the stage. Our bass player got really drunk and started playing Nick Cave's "Papa Won't Leave You Henry" so loud on the stereo that it started to compete with the actual sound of the main act performing downstairs. The crowd was very confused. When one of the members of the organisers' team rushed backstage to see what's happening, he saw our bass player fully naked, belting along Nick Cave and whipping his belt frantically against the floor and the walls. Needless to say, we were escorted out and never went back to that town.

9) Your favourite records:
Another impossible question! Off the top of my head, growing up: Appetite for Destruction (Guns N' Roses), Use Your Illusion II (Guns N' Roses), Get a Grip (Aerosmith), It's Five o'Clock Somewhere (Slash's Snakepit), Led Zeppelin IV (Led Zeppelin), Nevermind (Nirvana), Sticky Fingers (Rolling Stones), Rio (Duran Duran), Technical Ecstasy (Black Sabbath), Are You Gonna Go My Way (Lenny Kravitz), Discovery (Daft Punk), Bangkok Shocks Saigon Shakes Hanoi Rocks (Hanoi Rocks), Too Fast For Love (Motley Crue), Greatest Hits (Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.)

My current favorite album is The Battle At Garden's State (Greta Van Fleet).

10) A musician you would like to meet for a beer:
I was never really interested in meeting my favorite musicians in person, but I can see myself having fun with Tommy Lee, Ozzy Osbourne, Slash or Mike Patton.

11) What will you ask backstage if you were the most important band on earth:
I'm a pretty low maintenance person so I would say: a dog park to bring my dogs along, and an ice bath.

Giovanni Gagliano

Passionate about music I wrote my first article for "Given To Rock" in 2012, reaching now 30K global followers. I am also a musician, gigging around London.

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