Grotus live in Rouen, France - 1994.
The expression "ahead of their time" pretty much sums up the musically unique, genre blending, multi-media 1990's Bay Area group Grotus. Grotus was an amazing band, especially live, that appealed to fans of punk, industrial, metal, two drum-set percussion, samples, and politically outspoken lyrics. Unfortunately though they were also one of those really good bands that never fully got the type of credit or, more importantly, the level of success that they deserved and the band called it quits in 1996, only five years after they released their debut album.
Grotus' original members Adam Tanner (keyboard, guitars, sampler) and John Carson (keyboards, bass, sampler) formed the band in San Francisco in 1989. Drummer/vocalist/sampler player Lars Fox joined afterward and together they honed their unique sound and steadily built up a strong local following, getting much airplay on stations like KUSF and KALX, and gigging at a variety of venues, often with the band Consolidated with whom they were friends. Drummer and DJ Bruce Boyd joined the group after they released their debut in 1991. His addition gave Grotus the two drummer sonic assault that helped define their powerful sound.
Grotus' record labels included Spirit Music Industries, Alternative Tentacles and the major London/Polygram, and between them all the band released a series of singles, EPs, and albums. They played on stages alongside such groups as Nine Inch Nails and Mike Patton's Mr Bungle, for whom they opened on a 1992 US tour. For the next four years the band toured tirelessly, winning diehard fans along the way in countries such as France, where the above live concert clip was shot and where they recorded a live album in 1994. Grotus' three studio albums are Brown (1991), Slow Motion Apocalypse (1993), and Mass (1996). While most of the Grotus catalog is out of print (Slow Motion on Alt Tent is still in print on CD), you can usually, with a bit of digging in the vinyl and CD sections, track down copies of their records at Amoeba Music. Recently I caught up with member Bruce Boyd to ask him some questions about this great SF group.
Amoeblog: You joined the band after it had been around for a minute. Can you give folks an idea of what point Grotus was at when you joined and how you came to join the fold?