It’s a bold move to name your band after the lyrics of a Led Zeppelin song (Trampled Under Foot, if you’re wondering), but The Greasy Slicks have the tunes and talent to match their youthful chutzpah. Guitarist/lead singer Jack Kendrew, bassist Nathan Rasdall and drumming hurricane Rian O’Grady were earning their crusts from session work and function bands when they decided to gamble their futures on this power trio. Their self-titled debut album is a blast of blues-rock riffs and raw power, although capturing their bristling energy in the studio has seen the Slicks climb a steep learning curve.
“When we did our first EP it was: ‘We’re a live band, we’re going to do it all live,’” says O’Grady. “It didn’t dawn on us until afterwards that that’s just not how it’s done. We’ve got to multi-track this; it needs a couple of layers.”
The new album was recorded on the Isle of Wight with Jim and Rob Homes at Studio Humbug. “It’s this 19th-century Victorian water tower. These two brothers took it over and it’s now a studio with a big metal tank on top,” says O’Grady. The original plan was to record another EP, but the music kept flowing – even if the money didn’t. “It was all done in dribs and drabs,” the drummer continues. “Because it’s quite expensive, we had to go to the studio, then take a couple of weeks or a month on the road, make some more money then go back to the studio. We were very intent on it being not over-produced. My reference was Nirvana’s In Utero – everything sounds exactly as it would if you were stood in front of a guitar amp or in front of the drummer.”
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In The Greasy Slicks everyone contributes to the creative process – as long as they can handle being under the microscope.
“We’re very brutal with it,” says O’Grady. “A lot of these songs are really quite personal, so it takes a lot of guts to bring that to the table and have someone analyse it, dissect it and rejig it; you might have to get rid of a lyric you really like for the sake of the song. Then we road-test that. You know if something doesn’t work when you’re playing it live. We’ll all come off and say, ‘Yeah, not sure about that, let’s go back to the studio and tidy it up’.”
On stage, the band members hurl themselves into every performance, inevitably ending up sweat-sodden and breathless. “There’s nothing contrived about that at all, that’s just us playing our instruments,” O’Grady states. “Even in our rehearsal room we’re still sweating bucket-loads and really going for it, because it’s so much fun. I used to play in a shoegazey psychedelic band and they used to say, ‘Hey, you’re rocking out too much,’ because they wanted to stand there and look cool. Fuck that, man. If you’re just sterile and lacklustre it doesn’t make for a memorable performance – and that’s what we’re all about.”
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“We started around the same time as them,” Rian O’Grady says when asked about influences. “I think we share a lot of influences as well. Black Crowes, Zeppelin, the energy of Nirvana, all those good 90s grungy, dirty, fuzzy tones, and I’d like to think there is the musicianship of Stevie Ray Vaughan.”