Jack Grisham - 2007

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Jack Grisham is the legendary singer of (the original) TSOL, Tender Fury, Cathedral Of Tears and The Joykiller, and is now singing in a hottt crooner lounge duo called The Kuehn and Jones Orchestra. I was pleased as punching you when he agreed to a brief telephone interview one pleasant night in January. Please see below, with the understanding that my words have been emboldened and his remain part of the plain text universe.

Oh, and take it from me -- my joke at the beginning is hilarious.


Hi, can I speak to Todd Morgan, please?

Yeah, this is Todd.

Oh, great, hey. Can I speak to Jack, please?

What? This is Todd Morgan.

Oh, hey, how you doing? This is Mark Prindle from the Internet.

Hey Mark, Jack.

Hey, how you doing?


Are you free now?

Yeah, I'm actually going to get dinner. but yeah, I'm in a fucking ditch. I'm in a ditch.


I'm in a ditch.


I'm trying to walk across the street to get something to eat.


So, anyway. Yeah, I'm eating. How'd the Tae Kwon Do class go?

Oh, good, good. Got some good kickin' in. Good jumpin'.

Yeah, good, Mark, good. I'm like on a railroad track urinating. That's why we're talking.

Why are you in San Diego? What's going on?

I'm camping.



Wow. With the family?

No. No. Once a year I go with a bunch of guys to go camping. I mean, it's pretty fun. There's not much, you know, camping; we're just kind of like on the beach. Yeah, but it's good.

Are these music guys?

No. No. Well, yeah, some of them are. They're just like friends, a bunch of friends of ours. We've been doing it for years.


Yeah. So it's pretty fun. Anyway. But yeah, I'm free. Right now I'm free, I'm walking, I'm good.

OK. When Neil Hamburger interviewed you on Tom Green's Internet channel last month, did you actually get to meet "Weird Al" Yankovic?


How was he?

Oh, are we talking right now?


Yeah, no, he's good, man! He was nice!

Did he know TSOL?

No, I don't think so.


That's a train going by. Can you hear the train going by?

I can! Why don't you hop the train? Do some livin'.

Here: [holds phone out in direction of train] Hear the train?


We're down on the train tracks.

Well, get off the tracks!

I'm off.


No, I didn't get to talk to him, really. I mean, I just said "Hi", that's it.

What was all that stuff at the end of the interview about a kid with a big penis drowning? I didn't think that was appropriate.

No, that wasn't appropriate, was it? You know, to tell you the truth, I don't remember. I don't remember what we said.

Yeah, he says that somebody who owned the house-

Oh, drowned in the pool?


(laughs) I thought that was kind of funny! Whatever. I mean, it's not nice, but it's a joke.

No, I'm just kidding.


So. I guess TSOL is officially retired now?

Well, we're taking a long, long break if we're not done.

Were you upset that they were all moving away? Did you want the band to keep going regularly?

No, I wasn't upset. We were old, you know what I mean? It gets kind of depressing - you know, all these old guys rockin' (laughs). Fuck! I mean, as far as I'm concerned, it's like, "Come on, stop. Just stop, bro. Stop."

Why did you guys come back? Just to save the name of the band from.

Yeah, well the band. We were just playing with each other, everyone got straightened out, we just got together and started doing some shows and it was fun. So there wasn't a lot of "Hey, let's do this to be successful" or "Hey, let's do this to do this." It was like, "Hey, we're bored. Let's play some shows."

Did you make fun of Mike Roche for all those hair metal TSOL albums he put out?

Uh, actually, no, we didn't talk about that at all.

Oh! Nice!

I made fun of. There goes another train, coming by the other way.


Listen. Here it comes. .oh well. [sound of train speeding past] Whoa-ho! (laughs)

That's going in the interview.

Yeah, that's nice! But no, we didn't talk about that. That's kind of a sore subject with me with those guys. I mean, I wish they would've never fucking done that. But, you know whose fault it is? It's mine. Because they asked me. When they came to me and said, "Hey, we're still going to use the name TSOL," I said, "Who gives a fuck? What do I care?" You know what I mean? I never should have said that. I should have challenged them or whatever, you know, "Hey, that's my name, think up another fucking name." So.

Have you ever heard those records, any of them?

No. No. I've heard like little bits of the songs, but I can't listen to that stuff.

Even "Change Today"?

Little bits of it.

Yeah. The thing is, I have them all just because I was collecting all the TSOL stuff. "Change Today" I think actually could have been a good album had you sung on it. But the others, no way. The others are horrible.

Yeah. Well, I don't know if I completely agree with you, but the whole thing was bad news. The whole reason why they did it was bad.

What the reason they did it? Just so people would-

They did it to make money. They kept the name to make money. And everything that they were about was completely different from what the band once stood for. You know, the whole attitudes and all that shit. I don't know, it was pretty rough. That was kind of hard. I mean, it's still a little sore spot to me.

Were they successful at all?

Well, I think they sold some records and did good, yeah. I mean, Joe Wood seems to think of himself as being successful. You know?

Now, are you somehow related to Joe Wood?

Yes, he married my sister.


Yeah, he married my sister, so that's true. But other than that, no relation. He's a nice enough guy; he's a nice guy, man.

Oh yeah? OK.

Yeah. I mean, I don't deal with him much, but he's nice. When I see him, I'll always be like "give me a hug!," you know what I mean?

Oh, OK.

Yeah. There's no real animosity between us. I just don't -- I don't know.

I know a lot of people feel the same way about the Vandals, the way that one guy in the band took the name and replaced everybody.


Do you feel that way about them as well?

Yes, kind of, yeah. Exactly. I mean, it's exactly the same thing. It's bad news, you know? It's just wrong. They should have changed their name.

Yeah. Now, what was the story with "Who's Screwin' Who"? Were those songs that you didn't have the rights to anymore, or.?

Yeah. Sure. Mark, can you hang on one second?


Can you give me just one second? One second.



[long pause.background chatter]

All right. I'm sorry.

That's all right. You had to order dinner, right?

Yes. (laughs heartily)

That's fine!

Thank you. Yeah, I had to order, yeah. Anyway. OK, go on. Sorry. Where were we at?

I was just asking what the story was with "Who's Screwin' Who?" Were those songs that you.

Oh, oh yeah. Yeah, mainly those are songs we re-did, we just re-did them.

Yeah. But why is it called "Who's Screwin' Who"?

Oh, well, it's kind of a joke. We got burned on all the records we made. So it's like us re-recording our own songs so nobody -- us re-recording our own songs with nobody else. With us being in charge of it.

Did Frontier not pay you or something?

Yeah. Well, none of them paid like they were supposed to pay us. One time, one of the guys - I'm not going to say who - but one of the guys who put out one of our records gave Mike Roche a little money, and Mike said, "Can I see some accounting?" And the guy said, "You can see some accounting, or you can see some money, but you can't see both. What do you want to do?"

Oh my gosh.


But you made the record! How was that legal? I guess he figured you wouldn't pay for a lawyer?

I don't know. Yeah. It doesn't matter. We didn't have the money to pay for lawyers, so. And a lot of it was we were kids and we were stupid. But the bottom line is, there were a lot mistakes. I mean, basically what you and I are sitting here talking about right now is a lot of mistakes. You know? Some cool music and a lot of mistakes. Basically that's what it is. Fucked-up kids signing contracts they never should have signed, not knowing what's going on, people getting burned, burning other people, a lot of egos, a lot of fucking just bad news. Bad news. It's a dirty business.

Did you leave the band because of the music they wanted to play, or because of the personalities?

Well, we were starting to go our separate ways anyway. I mean, if you look at the last record that TSOL made, "Beneath the Shadows," it's completely different than the next thing they did.

Yeah, I know.

Do you know what I'm saying? So that basically will tell you right there where they were going and where I was going. So.

But then you went back to punk eventually with The Joykiller.

Well, yeah. I mean, actually, it was before that. The last Tender Fury record, "If Anger Were Soul I'd Be James Brown," which was done in, shit, I don't know, I can't remember what year I did it in. '90? '89 or '90 or whatever? It was like a punk-pop record.

Oh. I used to have one of the Tender Fury records. I think it was on one of those CDs. But I don't own any now. I have all the TSOL and all the Joykiller.

You know what - if you send me your address, I'll send you a copy of that record, because it's a great record.

Oh, OK, cool!

Frank Agnew from the Adolescents played guitar on it, Josh Freese played drums, Randy Bradbury from Pennywise played the bass. This guy Ronnie Champagne who used to play bass with Jane's Addiction was the one that produced it.

Oh, wow.

Yeah. It's really a cool record. I'm really proud of it.

What was the one you didn't like? "The Garden"?

Yeah, that was the one. That's the biggest piece of shit I've ever -- I couldn't listen to it if I had to.

Why? What kind of music is it?

Well, it's just not. (laughs). I just wasn't into it. I was just kind of doing it to do it. I wasn't really thinking a lot about it. It wasn't like, "Hey, let's really pay attention to what we're doing here right now" (laughs). No.

Now, what was the other record? There was one other record that you told Neil Hamburger you did that you didn't like.

The Cathedral of Tears record.

What is that?

It was a band I was in before Tender Fury, right after TSOL. That was another one of those mistakes we were talking about earlier. My dad died, I stole the tapes.....

Your dad died and what happened?

Well, we stole the tapes. We had a record - we wrote a bunch of new songs, went in there and stole the tapes. The record company said, "There's no song here that the radio will play," and I was like "Bullshit, there is." So I stole the tape from the record company, took it to the radio station, and they were playing our song while I was driving away.


By the time I was driving away. And it turned out to be the number four requested song on the station that year. With no record out.

Oh my God.


And then Enigma finally put it out?

Yeah, they finally put it out, but it was too late. I had already done the damage by the time it came out.

Jesus. That's hilarious. I mean, it's bad. But now you're making a lot of money from something, right? You own your own business or something?

No. Not a fucking thing. Are you kidding?

Oh, so you were LYING on MySpace.

About what? Oh, about the money?


Yeah. Are you kidding? It was a joke. I hope you know that's a joke. Yeah.

Oh! I think I read on Wikipedia that you started a software company or something?

No. No. That's not me.


Yeah, no.

Someone's spreading untruths about you on Wikipedia.

Yeah. I'll have to go look. But hell, maybe it was me writing that shit on there. You can add in your own thing, you know, so. Yeah.

Yeah, it said something about you starting a company to. where the hell did I see that?! It obviously wasn't Wikipedia, because I'm on Wikipedia now. It must have been an earlier interview with you. Well, never mind about that. So, what about the new duo you've got?

Oh, the Kuehn and Jones Orchestra?

Yeah. That's the guy who played piano on "Beneath the Shadows," isn't it?

Yeah. Yeah, he's great.

Do you actually have a record deal? Or was that another MySpace joke?

No, that's another joke.

Oh! I was gonna be all proud of you for getting an Epic deal!

(laughs) No, it's Decca. It was Decca.

Oh, OK.

Yeah. You know, we're just doing it because it's fun, man. I like it, it's fun. It's different and it's fun to do. You know?

Yeah. So, to live, where do you get your money from? Not from royalties, I guess. I mean, you're not getting any.

No, not really. I don't know, it just kind of comes. Stuff comes. I do all sorts of shit.

Like what?

Well, I'm a life coach.

What's that?

Drug counseling.



Oh wow, that's cool. Now, what was going on in your life that made you decide to get clean?

Well, I'd married an underaged girl, I'd been arrested a ton of times, I was living with my mother, no job, no money, no car, (laughs) fucked up all the time, people trying to kill me, warrants out for my arrest. That would be a good reason to get straightened out (laughs).

How long did it take?

Well, it took a while. I mean, look, it took a while but I've been clean now for 18 years.


Yeah. So it's a good thing, man. It's a good thing.

Did (TSOL drummer) Todd Barnes know that he was basically killing himself?

Yeah, he didn't care. My friend ran into him a week before and he held up a bottle of Wild Turkey and said, "It's Wild Turkey and me to the grave!" That's what he said a week before.

Oh boy.

And he was dead like the next week. Yeah. Anyway.

Were you able to get along with him at that point?

Well, I mean, he was mad. I took the step, he was mad, you know what I mean? He was mad. He thought that we were fucking him around, when we weren't. He wasn't showing up for shows.

Oh, OK.

So. Anyway. Sorry, Mark.well, listen, I'd better eat dinner because dinner is here.


OK. Well it was nice talking to you.

You too!

Yeah. And if there's anything I can do for you, let me know, man.

OK, thanks.

OK. Bye.


Reader Comments

Let me preface this criticism by saying that I love your interviews. However, that Jack Grisham interview was a complete waste of time and bandwidth. Granted, Jack isn't exactly Gore Vidal. He's not the brightest, most articulate person, but compared to the other super insightful, fascinating interviews (Troccoli, Ginn, Watt, etc etc etc)that one was a real dud.

I'd love to see you interview:
Raymond Pettibon
Al Kowalewski (Flipside)
Robbie Fields
Jerry Roach (Cuckoos Nest)
Pat Smear


A fan

Mr. Prindle-

I've been reading you reviews and interviews for a while now. Quite insightful. I'm not the kind of man who sends random emails out all the time. I'm the kind of man who send occasionally sends random emails. That being said, read your interview with Jack from TSOL and then, lo, there was one lone dissenter at the bottom of the page in comments section.

I thought to myself, "Gus, why do people jump on their high horse with references that make very little sense, while trying to hold the intellectual high ground?"

Then again, I've never read Gore Vidal, so what the hell do I know (?), however I never have been one for the 'high brow' side of music anyway, at least not on some weird college level thing. I mean to say 'Jack is no Gore Vidal', well no shit, and Greg Ginn is no Jimi Hendrix, monkeys are not parakeets, and Bic lighters are not Zippos- blah blah. Then again, TSOL didn't write 'They Saved Hitler's Cock' or 'Highest Power' either, thus putting them in the running for some type of literary award. The wonderful thing about music though, is that there is place for every thing. Not everyone has to be insightful. I've talked to people who were brilliant and they were a step above chimps in communication, where as the most verbose, banal things I've ever had the misfortune to be assaulted with, came from the most brain dead of the bunch. Music needs thinkers, and music needs thugs, just like life. I just find the disparity between the people out there who think in an easy chair at home with a pipe and those who are slugging it out in the trenches, actually doing something, is hilarious. I'm not just saying this because I play music and have nothing to show for it besides a big scar on the top of my head from a beer bottle that flew through the air when I was 16, and deep rooted mistrust of guys who run dingy bars (which in fact suck).

But yeah, you should do some interviews with Fields and Smear. For every talk like that you should have an HR or someone who's really out there (I've met quite a few musicians who may have a street address but don't live on this planet). When it comes down to it, old punkers don't die, they get an education and start driving people nuts. I have a friend who says about Kiss, "5 million teeny boppers can't be wrong." (and how tremendously un punk is a Kiss reference?)

It's thinking like that, this bourgeois, slick as hell, master's degree crap that takes a something based on breaking rules, and codifies it in to into a lock step, 'everything must stay as it was' load of poo. It was that 'tude, so prevalent in any style of music, but more so in your punk/hardcore thing, that leads to hating on any one who strives to flex the frame of style.

So anyway, there's my (let's see, at 10 cents a paragraph.five paragraph minimum.15 per extra paragraph.cut you a deal and throw in the 'Mr. Prindle'.and this paragraph for free since I like ya.your out of state so no tax.) sixty five cents worth of crap at 4:45 AM with no whiskey.

Thanks for reading this

Thank you so much for interviewing Jack Grisham. It is nice to hear from a genuine gentlman as he. Jack always has time for a nice word with anyone who wants to talk. He is a very kind soul and has helped more people in our community than you will ever know. He has indirectly saved thousands of lives and directly inspired many of us to do the same.

Jack has hundreds of these interviews over the years, and for what? Did you pay him? Did any of them pay him for his time? Hell no. He was trying to get dinner while enjoying some time with his friends but he still had time for this interview.

I'm embarrassed when I read comments from idiots like that other poser captain. Yea you captain13579. Who cares what you want or need. You are a jerk. I hope this comment was insightful and fascinating enough for you. What a complete ass!

The Good Captain Brad

P.S. Next time grow a pair and sign your name.

Jenny Frimmer
Jack is my cousin. We grew up together. His dad and mine were brothers. We had a great extended family who got together every holiday. He always has time to talk whether in person, by phone, or email. He went through some rough times but has a generous heart.

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