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MUSIC: A Conversation with Torn Shorts’ Josh Grabert

Saturday, January 25, 2014


A band that had a wild year in 2013, Torn Shorts surprised nearly all of Providence by winning 95.5 WBRU's Annual Rock Hunt this past spring followed up with the release of their second album Through The Mill. Now a rock & roll power trio, they have a show going on tonight at Fete with fellow Providencians Last One Out, Boston indie rockers The Rare Occasions & Friendly People which should be a great assortment of fun. I recently got to talk to the nucleus of Torn Shorts in Josh Grabert about what's been going on with the band lately and here it is:

Rob Duguay: Torn Shorts last year won WBRU's Rock Hunt, you guys put out your second album Through The Mill and then the band went through some changes. Drummer Brendan Tompkins and lead guitarist Nick Molak left and for a while it was only you and Zach Zarcone. Then Chris Ardoin joined the band as the new drummer and Torn Shorts had experimented with a violin as well as Nick getting back into the fold. When you look back what's your whole opinion on the whole rumble and tumble of keeping the band together?

Josh Grabert: It was difficult but I think the core has grown, everybody else are kinda like auxillary players at this point. It was a pain in the ass finding a drummer but we found one with Chris and it's perfect, the trio we're at now is the core of where our new music is coming from.

R.D.: For anyone who has seen Torn Shorts play, you can still rip it on guitar either playing rhythm or lead. What's it like transitioning when you're playing by yourself and you have to play all of the parts on guitar? Do you enjoy playing lead or are you more comfortable playing rhythm?

J.G.: I like doing both. I think when it comes down to it, it's just a matter of changing gears. As a guitar player, I've been trying with a four piece for a while so I'm not used to taking as many solos. I'm not working that much on technical soloing and stuff like that but when it's a three piece then I have to remind myself that I'm a lead player and I have to step it up.

R.D.: I can understand that, especially when you're the only one playing guitar with nobody else playing alternate chords so you should definitely feel that you have to up your game a bit.

J.G.: Yea, and I like playing the lead. The band sounds different that's for sure compared from me & Nick playing. I think it makes everyone work harder when it's the three of us, everybody has to push each other a little bit to really lay it on as opposed to when there's more people in the band everyone gets to sit back and just play their part.

R.D.: So you've been talking lately about this place called Big Red. It's a performance space/studio joint and Torn Shorts has been doing a few things there. For people that don't know about this place, where the hell is it and how did you guys get involved?

J.G.: It's over in Pawtucket with some friends of ours in a band called Tevelas. It's their studio and they're studio guys, they're always recording everything and we just started renting the space from them for practice and then we were like "Well, we got this great big room and all new recording gear so lets start tracking a new record". It all kind of fell into place and it's working out pretty nice, we've got a few songs done already.

R.D.: That's pretty cool. Now tonight at Fete you guys are playing with Last One Out, The Rare Occasions and Friendly People. Three different bands, The Rare Occasions have a synthy alt-rock sound, Friendly People are very mellow & groovy while Last One Out just wants to make people dance. You guys are more of a heart & soul rock & roll type act, so when you're on a bill with different bands with everyone bringing something different to the table do you feel more comfortable with that or do you prefer to be on a bill with bands that have a lot of similarities?

J.G.: It's cool that everybody's a little different, I think it really makes us want to bring our A game and play for other people's fans who'll probably like our music based on the bill. It's refreshing to have a little mix of music, not just dance bands all night or blues bands all night. It's nice to have a break where there's something that's sets the other acts apart from each other.

R.D.: There's something for everybody along with something different that keeps you on your toes. As I mentioned earlier, Torn Shorts had their second album Through The Mill come out last year. You also mentioned that you guys are currently working on your next record, so what's your major goal with this one?

J.G.: Well, we will hopefully have it done by late Spring/early Summer in like May or June and we've been laying low actually with going on the road lately because we've been writing new music and recording. Our plan is to go back on tour in support of the new album and get the new tunes out there probably during the summer.

Josh is always a pleasure to talk to and make sure you go check out Torn Shorts tonight at Fete. I'm psyched for the upcoming third album as well and you should be as well, keep tabs on this act from The Creative Capital because they are sure to be going places.


Related Slideshow: Marijuana Use in the New England States

According to data collected by the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, New Englanders are among the nation's top marijuana users in the country.  See how the indivdual states compare in the slides below:

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6. Maine

Percent of respondents who used marijuana in the past year: 12.45%

National Rank: 13th most

Possession Laws: Decriminalized (2.5 ounces or less)

Prev Next

5. Connecticut

Percent of respondents who used marijuana in the past year: 12.50%

National Rank: 12th most

Possession Laws: Decriminalized (less than 0.5 ounce)

Prev Next

4. Massachusetts

Percent of respondents who used marijuana in the past year: 14.19%

National Rank: 5th most

Possession Laws: Decriminalized (1.0 ounce or less)

Prev Next

3. New Hampshire

Percent of respondents who used marijuana in the past year: 14.60%

National Rank: 4th most

Possession Laws: Medical Use Only

Prev Next

2. Rhode Island

Percent of respondents who used marijuana in the past year: 14.85%

National Rank: 3rd most

Possession Laws: Decriminalized (1.0 ounce or less)

Prev Next

1. Vermont

Percent of respondents who used marijuana in the past year: 14.90%

National Rank: 2nd most

Possession Laws: Decriminalized (1.0 ounce or less)


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