New Blood: The Pink Slips

Seattle’s Pink Slips define their sound as a fusion of “synth-pop, punk, dance, and vintage rock ‘n’ roll”, and are fronted by a genuine star in the making: GRAVE.

That’s not her real name, mind. It’s Grace McKagan – and if that surname sounds familiar it’s because her old man used to play bass in Guns N’ Roses, and can these days be heard jamming with fellow Seattle rockers Walking Papers. His name, of course, is Duff McKagan, and his daughter Grace is well on her way to taking over the family business.

“I like school and I think I should go to college because I have the opportunity to do so, but I can already tell you that I’m probably not going to graduate because hopefully by that time The Pink Slips will be pretty popping and big”, she reveals. “But I do want to further my education and be an intellectual person, as much as I can be.”

Aged 17 and fresh out of high school, McKagan exudes wisdom beyond her years when quizzed about how she juggles fronting a full-time band with her studies, and despite having a rock star for a father and wanting a bit of that fame and fortune for herself, she comes across incredibly – for lack of a better phrase – normal. She has her parents to thank for that.

“They encourage anything that I’m really passionate about,” she says. “They know that it’s what I really want to do, so they support it.”

On the stage though, GRAVE is a different animal entirely. “I like to channel my inner Iggy Pop, David Bowie and Debbie Harry, and move around a lot and make everyone at the show really excited to be there”, she explains. “There’s lots of glitter and fake blood too, and all kinds of homages to Alice Cooper. We’re definitely one of those bands that you have to see live.”

At this stage The Pink Slips have just one release to their name – their debut EP Say L’or Venus – but those six tracks evoke the classic punk and new wave bands from the ’70s and ‘80s, whilst at the same time displaying their own teenage love of modern pop music. And McKagan’s personality and voice shine throughout.

“I write songs with Issac Carpenter, who’s the drummer for Awolnation and Adam Lambert”, she explains. “He has a really good ear, and we think the same things musically. Being in the studio was really cool too, and we recorded the whole EP in three days – like in a weekend. It was a great learning process. But I’d definitely say that playing live is definitely something I favour over being in the studio.”

“We’ve only been a band for two years, and I think it’s way too early for me to put out an album. When I listen to the EP I think, ‘Oh my god, this is so old’, because every year as a teenager you change, and evolve, and grow so much. I’ll definitely put out an album sometime, but not just yet.”

After a recent successful run here in the UK, and a support slot with Alice In Chains confirmed in the US for this summer, it’s clear The Pink Slips are just getting started. And with a list of influences that include the biggest icons in music, you can bet that GRAVE has her sights set on the stars.

For more information on The Pink Slips, visit their official Facebook page.

Matt Stocks

DJ, presenter, writer, photographer and podcaster Matt Stocks was a presenter on Kerrang! Radio before a year’s stint on the breakfast show at Team Rock Radio, where he also hosted a punk show and a talk show called Soundtrack Apocalypse. He then moved over to television, presenting on the Sony-owned UK channel Scuzz TV for three years, whilst writing regular features and reviews for Metal Hammer and Classic Rock magazine. He also wrote, produced and directed a feature-length documentary on Australian hard rock band Airbourne called It’s All For Rock ‘N’ Roll, and in 2017 launched his own podcast: Life in the Stocks. His first book, also called Life In The Stocks, was published in 2020. A second volume was published in April 2022.