If there's one thing Austin's Grand Champeen has learned in its nigh-on seven years' existence, it's that rock critics are, at times, blazing idiots. Singer-guitarist Michael Crow has several anecdotes about clueless scribes searching for qualifiers. "Someone in Nashville called us the Southwestern Green Day. That one sucked because every now and then we get a favorable review that compares us to someone we don't like, and that's the worst. If I read a favorable review that compared the band to Green Day, I wouldn't go check them out." Not to mention, what the hell does a "Southwestern Green Day" sound like? Certainly not the sweaty, smarty-pants rock and roll on display on the quartet's third full-length, The One That Brought You (Glurp), which ended up on several critics' top-10 lists for 2003.
"I guess it makes me nervous to wonder when the ax is going to drop, when people are going to start being honest about it. We got one bad review in Wilmington, North Carolina. The guy said we listened to too much New York Dolls and the Stooges. You can't listen to too much New York Dolls and Stooges. His insult was an unintentional compliment."
Like the old cliché goes, living well is the best revenge against dumbasses with laptops, and that's just what Grand Champeen has been doing since The One's release. Back in November, the band, including Crow's longtime friend Channing Lewis, drummer Ned Stewart and bassist Alex Livingstone, struck out on a long tour of the Midwest and East Coast. After a small break, they headed to the Left Coast as the guests of alt-country rockers Richmond Fontaine, and are now back in the studio fleshing out a batch of new songs. Which isn't without its problems.
Grand Champeen performs February 28 at the Wreck Room and February 29 at Sons of Hermann Hall. Both shows with Milton Mapes and Richmond Fontaine.
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"The whole emo thing is making it really hard to write songs about relationships, because you start to wonder how diary-esque they're sounding. Every song in the world is about a breakup or a relationship, and so when the emo kids come along and claim all that territory, it's hard to figure out how to approach subject matter like that without being too precious." It's at that moment that Grand Champeen should ask the timeless question: "What would Iggy do?"