Crawling out from deep within the sludgy, heavy, crusty depths of heavy metal, I had the opportunity to talk to two very rad dudes, Ritchie and Mike from Gravehuffer, and chat about metal, the best venues in the area, and, as promised, the band’s rather exotic name.
Thanks for taking the time to speak with Rise Above the Anchor! Please tell us who you are, what group you play in, and a little about the group!
‘I’m Ritchie Randall, I play guitar and do some backing vocals and Mike Jilge, I play bass.’
How did Gravehuffer originally form?
‘Here’s a small history of the band:
Gravehuffer, formerly KROM, started in August of 2008. Three of us, Mike, Larry & Ritchie, were originally together in a crust-punk band called Initial Detonation. Our singer, James, was in a band called H.R.B. Initial Detonation released two 7” records & did 2 tours. We were in a van for one three week tour and one six week tour of the east coast & mid-west in the mid & late nineties. Mike, Larry and James got together and formed Aether Bunny. Ritchie was contacted after Aether Bunny disbanded, and we formed KROM, which went in a in a more metal direction. We recently added a second guitarist named Seth Ledbetter, from local metal band, ‘Fathom And A Hand, who is a little younger and brings a new element to the band. ‘
Gravehuffer has a very sludgy sound; how do you classify the group, and who do you cite as your main influences?
‘We usually throw around thrash/punk/doom styles, but don’t limit it to just those. Our influences range from Mob 47, Napalm Death, Septic Death, Black Flag, Voivod, Slayer, Black Sabbath, Celtic Frost, old Metallica, Kreator, Motorhead, Neurosis, Godflesh, and the list goes on.’
Buffy thinks you guys have a pretty unique name; where in the world did you come up with that one?
‘Our friend Dozer came up with the name. We were called KROM but there were other Krom bands popping up all over, so we started trying to come up with a new name. James and Mike were constantly coming up with lists of names. Dozer was James’ roomie and one day he just blurted it out as we were throwing out band names. We liked it but he wanted to use it for a project he had. He never used it and we begged him for it. Lol!’
What are some of your favorite things to write about?
‘At first, it seemed like it was more about politics and religion but lately we’ve been trying to add a little humor here and there. James likes to write about interesting ‘characters’ throughout history, ranging from Hercules, Evel Knievel and Robert Oppenheimer. He’s even written a couple of more personal songs that I honestly am not sure of the meaning behind them. Hell, we even have a new song that we’re writing about Aquaman and what his suicide note might be like! LOL!’
You have a song about Evil Kenevil. Is his extremeness an influence on the extremeness of your music?
‘Evel Knievel is a huge inspiration to Mike. Mike has a Evel Knievel doll in his pedal box which he has at every show. Evel was true “balls out” and we try to play music with the same energy and heart.’
Where is Gravehuffer based? What are your favorite venues to play?
‘We’re based out of Joplin, MO. Some of our favorite places to play here are Blackthorn Pizza & Pub, Cesspool Castle and Solace Music Venue.’
Do you have any plans to tour in the future?
‘We don’t have any touring plans, but we’re trying to play more out of town shows, like Tulsa, Oklahoma City, Kansas City, St. Louis, etc.’
What new releases are you working on?
‘Right now, we’re finishing up writing for an EP/7-inch vinyl release. We have 3 out of 4 songs written and 1 more is in a rough stage right now. We just need to hash out the parts and then record them. We’re really looking forward to getting that out there and also working with the artist that’s done our shirts and CD covers. His name is Karl Dahmer and he has his own company called Dahmer Art. He’s going to cook up something wicked for this next release as well as a brand new t-shirt design!’
What can we expect from Gravehuffer in the future?
‘More extreme music, for sure. We like to push each other as musicians to do the best we can as well as have a fun time doing it. Like I said, the new EP/7-inch record will be coming later this year, as well as merchandise that will tie in with that release. We’re looking forward to spreading the disease, as Anthrax would say! Thank you for the interview and thanks for promoting the underground! Cheers!’