VMAN28

ARTICLE ALEX HAWGOOD

PHOTOGRAPHY JOSH OLINS

STYLIST JAY MASSACRET

CREDITS ARTICLE CONTENTS

NIKE MOVES US

BRAIN DRAIN

AN ORAL HISTORY OF GRIZZLY BEAR

EXTRA CREDITS

Hair Shon (Julian Watson Agency)  Grooming Yadim (Tim Howard Management)  Photo assistant Lewis Hayward, Lorenz Schmidl, Geordy Pearson  Digital technician Sally Griffiths  Production assistant Denise Cheng  Stylist assistant Olivia Kozlowski  Hair assistant Corey Tuttle  RETOUCHING HEMPSTEAD MAY  Location Pier 59 Studios

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ROBERT ALFONS: TRUST ISSUES ERIK HASSLE IS READY FOR YOU PREMIERE VIDEO: PUSHA T - SUICIDE HYPERAWARENESS

AN ORAL HISTORY OF GRIZZLY BEAR

PHOTOGRAPHY JOSH OLINS
FASHION JAY MASSACRET
TEXT ALEX HAWGOOD

ED DROSTE, LEAD SINGER OF GRIZZLY BEAR, RECOLLECTS HOW HE WENT FROM BANGING ON A DESK IN HIS ROOM TO HELMING ONE OF AMERICA'S MOST BELOVED BANDS

With the release of their astonishing new record, Shields, the pioneering Brooklyn-based indie act Grizzly Bear approach a decade of making music. The band has toured with Radiohead, performed with Paul Simon, played alongside the London Symphony Orchestra, and can name-check Beyoncé and Jay Z as loyal fans—all of this without adopting the air of pretension for which many of indie’s marquee acts are notorious. Instead, they’ve somehow kept things cool, local, and intimate: Grizzly Bear is everybody’s band. Here, lead singer Ed Droste recounts to writer Alex Hawgood a history of cherished memories that help explain how the band has stayed down-to-earth while simultaneously sort of conquering it. 

2003 I wrote the first record, Horn of Plenty, in a period of personal depression. It was just me in my apartment on Calyer Street using nontraditional anything to make percussion, including banging my hands on this metal desk I used to own. Our first show was at Zebulon in Williamsburg. In typical me-style, I bombarded everyone on Friendster to attend. At the time, it was just me, Chris Bear [drums, backing vocals], and Chris Taylor [bass, backing vocals]. There was no Dan Rossen [vocals, guitar]. We charged something like four dollars. The show was 99.9 percent close friends, maybe one person brought someone I hadn’t met before. Even though it was only supportive faces, it was terrifying. There was a ton of feedback from the mics because we were literally singing out of our amps. We probably sounded like ass. Oh well.

2005 We quickly realized that we are not as strong as we could be as just a threesome. Chris Bear said he knew this musical genius from NYU, who turned out to be Dan. So after Dan joined, we booked our own tour, even though there was absolutely no demand. We once played a diner in Minneapolis where customers were eating tuna melts and glared at us like we were playing the devil’s music. There were a bunch of gallery spaces too, and even a leather bar in San Francisco that had an indie night. That was chill. The tour was a joke, but it was important character building for us as a group. I remember someone hooked us up with a gig at a college in L.A. that ended up being a midday show in the space where all the students snacked and studied. Everyone was eating chicken fingers or staring at their laptops. A school official said our music was hurting the employees’ ears and asked us to leave campus.

2008 Our second studio album, Yellow House, came out in 2006, and the reaction was really much more supportive than we could even fathom. It was very humbling and exciting—no more chicken fingers! During the recording process for the next record, Veckatimest, Radiohead asked us to tour with them. When we heard the news, we all basically shat our pants. We were in disbelief for almost three weeks. It was the most surreal thing ever. All of a sudden we were playing amphitheaters. It was the first time we rented a bus to go on tour—we had to show up in style for Radiohead, even though it smelled like cat piss. We used to set up a mini BBQ outside our bus after a show and grill hamachi we would buy from Whole Foods. The guys from Radiohead thought it was the most American thing to grill outside your bus. But soon enough they came around and were like, “Hey man, you got veggie dogs?” It was a little bit of a King of the Hill moment for all of us.

2012 We recorded our latest album, Shields, in Cape Cod. At first we tried recording in Marfa, Texas, but we hadn’t seen each other in eight months, and the 100-plus degree heat was doing no one any favors. But when we moved up to the Cape, it was like something clicked. Dan and I had never been able to write a song together from the ground up before. One night we were sitting in front of a fire and like magic we wrote an amazing one. It was like a new level of trust had been established—it was a whole new approach to making music and song. We hit the ground running, and I knew then that this was going to be hands-down our best album yet.

EXTRA CREDITS

Hair Shon (Julian Watson Agency)  Grooming Yadim (Tim Howard Management)  Photo assistant Lewis Hayward, Lorenz Schmidl, Geordy Pearson  Digital technician Sally Griffiths  Production assistant Denise Cheng  Stylist assistant Olivia Kozlowski  Hair assistant Corey Tuttle  RETOUCHING HEMPSTEAD MAY  Location Pier 59 Studios

MORE TO LOVE

ROBERT ALFONS: TRUST ISSUES ERIK HASSLE IS READY FOR YOU PREMIERE VIDEO: PUSHA T - SUICIDE HYPERAWARENESS
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