Monday, February 2, 2015

First/Last-Grand Bell

"Grand Bell was born in 2014 and will be releasing its self-titled debut this year. The quartet, consisting of two sets of brothers who have been climbing the ranks together for decades. Of course, they met in grade school. Of course, they spun records together in middle school. And of course, they played in bands together in the dance halls of their high schools. These are the experiences that allow Grand Bell to breathe with one set of lungs and react with one set of reflexes."

Grand Bell is a 'new' indie-rock outfit straight outta Pittsburgh who recently changed their name from Race The Ghost. As they prep brand new material, I want to thank Vincent Bruni (Guitar/Vocals), Benjamin Bruni (Bass/Vocals), Michael Salati (Drums), and Frank Salati (Guitar/Vocals) for taking the time to participate in this edition of First/Last.

The first album you ever bought?
Frank Salati: “Licensed To Ill” by Beastie Boys. On cassette. Probably purchased at National Record Mart.

Your last album bought?
Frank: “Parchman Farm: Photographs & Field  Recordings, 1947-1959” (dust to digital). This is cool. It's actual recordings of prison chain gangs singing while they work in the 40s and 50s.

Favorite album of all time?
Benjamin Bruni: “Kid A” by Radiohead. Mind-blowingly creative. A total departure from what they were doing previously - and it still holds up. You could release this album today, and it would sound current.

Least favorite/most disappointing album?
All: “Songs of Innocence” by U2. I mean, we do like U2, and these songs aren't all that bad... but the surprise appearance of this album did disappoint a lot of people - globally.

First concert attended?
Michael Salati: ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic, Metropol, 1992. I was 14 and my buddy was a big ‘Weird Al’ fan. His mom dropped us off and probably milled around the strip district for 2 hours.

Last concert?
Michael: Charlie Hustle and The Grifters, Poppy's, two weeks ago. It's always fun to listen to and spend time with our pals in the local music scene. Also caught a set from Ferdinand The Bull that night.

Favorite concert ever?
Michael, Frank, Vincent Bruni: INXS, Star Lake Amphitheatre, 1997. Man I get choked up thinking about this one. We were in front of front row. I don't know how my friend nailed down these unreal tickets, but we were literally on folding chairs in front of the first row at Star Lake. INXS were amazing and very VERY loud. We left very deaf and very happy. A few weeks later, Michael Hutchence would be found dead. Many people don't realize that the last show INXS ever played was right here in Pittsburgh.

Least favorite concert?
Vincent: We saw The Shins at a free concert they did at Carnegie Mellon, maybe around 2004 or 2005. Eh.

Favorite thoughts, experiences about Pittsburgh?
All: So these questions got us thinking about some of the now-defunct live music venues in Pittsburgh that we loved. We've had the privilege of being in the crowd, or on stage at these great places:  Metropol, Graffiti, The Decade, Rosebud, The Electric Banana, Laga, Shadow Lounge, The Quiet Storm, Garfield Art Works, Millvale Industrial Theater. Great memories.

Thanks, guys. Looking forward to a new album of music proper very soon.

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