Sometimes we get stuff in the mail that is too good (well,... Enter Now
To do: The Mallard
As a band, The Mallard is pretty self sustained. For a while there, it was just Greer McGrettrick strumming a guitar and singing, while kicking a bass drum with her right foot, stomping on a hi-hat with her left and looking cute-as-hell doing it. As a two-piece, the band still keeps its offerings minimal playing vintage (not dated) garage rock.
The Mallard is in town, 9 p.m. Sunday at Fulton 55, with the Useless Keys and Quiet Americans.
In advance of the show, McGrettrick tracked us down to chat about being a one-woman band, living in the city (that's San Francisco to y'all) and how she misses Fresno's dry heat.
Once upon a time you lived in Fresno. Then you split for awhile. Then, you came back and played in a pretty kick-ass rock band called Rademacher. Then you split for SF and started playing music there and then there was The Mallard. Does that about sum up the history part of this interview?
G: Yeah, that's about it, I went to Fresno State and I transfered to Indiana University, graduated and found myself back in Fresno thinking I'd save some money before moving to another city or back to Indiana within 6 months, but it grew on me. It was a time when Fresno Famous was just a baby, Gardenside was releasing compilations and and Broadway didn't have but one mural on it. Everyone I met seemed so supportive of one another's craft. Not to say they aren't now, but it was the first time I got to experience that type of energetic momentum. I think had I went straight to San Francisco or another city with an already thriving music and art scene I wouldn't have appreciated how much work it takes. But after five years I was ready to start my own band and found myself wanting to live here more. I moved to San Francisco two years ago and really love it, it's always been one of my favorite cities. I'm really into a lot of music that's being made and the really motivated innovated people making it.
What are you doing up in the Bay (besides living and playing music)?
G: I'm working as an artist's assistant and I work at a Fayes Video and Espresso bar. I also volunteer at the exotic handicapped pet hospital and the over privileged children's tie-dye workshop in the financial-assistance sector. I've been experimenting with different unorthodoxed food infusions like parsnip-sherry-veal-lime and lemon-sasafras-chocolate-shrimp, you can't imagine a more beautiful color brown. I work at Google installing chips, or something, I ride a double chained fixy and I'm a marketing director for a few for-profit blood banks. Last season I directed San Francisco's City Retrospective Arts Production of an Adaptation of Chekhov's the Cherry Orchard, it was the first time we were allowed to use lasers and without getting sued. In my free time I've been climbing rocks and playing music with a few other friends in the park.
Ok, I think I've managed to insult everyone I've met here. Oh wait, I'm gay, but I don't really act like it. Yup, that should do it.
Wasn't Reid [Reid May of Trumpet Solo] in this band for awhile? Or am I thinking of something else? For awhile, The Mallard was a one-woman-band kind of deal--you playing guitar and singing while kicking on a snare and bass drum, yeah? I've only seen pictures. What made you decide to work outside of the typical band structure? Is it hard to be taken seriously as a one-(wo)man band? It seems like people would either roll-over dead at the awesomeness of it, or chalk it up to novelty.
G: When I first moved to San Francisco I found a drummer on craigslist, and we started looking for guitar players. I had played music in Mehreideran with Reid May (and Mehran Herd) before he moved to Oakland and knew he would be fun to work with. My friend Allison sang and we played maybe half a dozen shows. I was writing most of the songs, but I wasn't able to get it sounding like I had originally planned. So I kicked everyone out of the band and started from scratch. (We're all still friends.) And that's when I realized I really had to focus on what exactly I wanted my songs to sound like. I took the one-man-band idea from Ty Segall, who played about the same set up and just worked on writing guitar, drums and vocals at the same time. I think it worked great for a few songs, but it's very limiting and kind of made me feel a little like a side show, it felt kind of schtick-y after a few months.
Who's in the band now?
G: My friend Dylan Tidyman-Jones is playing a stand up drum kit Mo Tucker style, (snare, crash and floor tom) and singing with me.
The songs I've heard have a sound that I'll describe as "garage-rock squeal-pop" (something I just now made up). What are you trying to accomplish musically?
G: I don't squeal as much. We're going to record in August after a small tour up North, I don't think the sound will change much, it's probably a little weirder, but I think I'm writing better songs.
Is there one thing you just have to do while you're back in Fresno?
G: If I had time, I would love to go floating, but I 'll settle by having some drinks with friends. I honestly can't wait for some hot weather.
Now, wasn't there something about Satanic rituals, you'd like to share? Or anything else, really?
G: No, not really, Satan rules, that's all.