Grigio: Dayton’s Musical Miscreants

The band performing a local set, complete with some psychedelic video. (YouTube/Frank)

When I started going to local music shows, I was looking for cheap weekend entertainment and maybe a way to make friends. I never expected to be legitimately blown away by talent in the way that the local band, Grigio, does every time.

I had followed Grigio on Instagram for a good amount of time before ever actually listening to them. One night, my desire to hear live music finally overpowered my anxiety over being in a room full of cool musicians.

I figured it would just be some high school guys messing around and having fun, and there is nothing wrong with that! It wasn’t until I heard Zach Brennaman’s insane chops on the drums that I realized these guys are no joke.

Grigio was originally a solo project of Brennaman, but it began to grow and change, as all good things do. Grigio as a group was soon made up of friends Kieran Harris and Henrik Lebouf on guitar, Jake Clock on bass and Zach Brennaman on drums, with all of them pitching in on vocals.

As of current, Lebouf has left the group and Alek Zamonski has joined on keys. Grigio has released one album, “Fine,” as well as their EP, “Summertime Eyeball.” As quoted by their Spotify page, Grigio is “a group of miscreants from Dayton, Ohio.”

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Like all great bands, Grigio isn’t afraid of climbing roofs for photo ops. (Grigio Instagram/Hannah Jahn)

While I am not too great at identifying genres, I’d say that Grigio is a great example of the fact that good ol’ rock and roll still exists.

When I asked Brennaman if he identifies Grigio as a specific genre, he said, “I would consider Grigio a genre-less band. Going back to the limitless thing, I think you lose a sense of imagination when you put a label on yourself. You should explore every aspect of music that you can, and even more so when you write it.”

The “limitless thing” that he is referring to is something he mentioned to me earlier on in our conversation. He stated that “whatever music you’re into, be it rock, rap, metal, folk, country or anything at all, try to experience as much music in as many ways as possible. Don’t limit your experiences. You never know what is just around the corner.”

Up until probably eighth grade I thought I should only listen to music my Dad likes. If I never decided to branch out, my life would be so insanely different purely due to the music that I enjoy. Not limiting your experiences in terms of music is such a good life lesson. Yes, I do see it as that serious.

In following the members of Grigio on social media, I am able to see that their music taste is quite diverse. I feel as though this wide range of inspiration is a big part of what has helped Grigio become such a genuinely good band.

Grigio treats their fans like family, especially during their intimate live shows. (Grigio Instagram/Hannah Jahn)

Each member of the band gave me a list of their personal inspirations, so get ready for some listing.

Jake Clock: Rush, The Who, Primus, Frank Zappa and Rage Against the Machine

Kieran Harris: Foo Fighters, Stevie Ray Vaughan, The Raconteurs/Jack White, My Chemical Romance and Red Hot Chili Peppers

Alek Zamonski: Pink Floyd, Frank Zappa, Yes, George Duke and Boston

Zach Brennaman: Ween, The White Stripes, Green Day, Descendents and Red Hot Chili Peppers

As previously mentioned, this immense amount of musical inspiration is showcased in Grigio’s own music.

In just 24 minutes, “Fine” offers many emotions. One of the more aggressive tracks, “Let Go of Me,” begins with Harris meticulously shredding on guitar. I am mesmerized every time. The scream that comes after the intense build-up really energizes the listeners and invites them into all that is coming next.

While I have heard the more soulful track, “It’s Over, Go Home,” multiple times, its raw beauty didn’t really hit me until I heard Lebouf sing it during his last performance before he left the band. With opening lyrics, “take me back to a memory far from this Earth,” one knows that it’s time for three minutes and 31 seconds of self-reflection. By the end when the whole band has joined in, I’m at a loss for words concerning how I feel. I highly advise you to give it a listen yourself.

Grigio performing “It’s Over, Go Home.” (YouTube/Frank)

I asked Brennaman if there is anything he feels sets Grigio apart from other local/lesser-known bands. He told me, “I don’t think there is much that sets us apart compared to any other band anywhere in the world. We’re just a group of guys who try to make good songs that make people feel good. Every band is doing their own thing in their own beautiful way.” Wow! Talented AND humble? Does it get any better than that?

While it is true that Grigio can easily be found on all major streaming services, I am definitely an advocate for the importance of live music. Be sure to check out their Instagram @grigio_band in order to keep up to date on their upcoming shows. You wouldn’t want to miss Brennaman’s comedic intros to the different tracks, and the music of course.

In regards to the future for Grigio, Brennaman says, “the next step is to plan our next few tours and make more music, be that records or EPs or other goodies. The end-all-be-all is to hopefully tour and make records successfully enough to make people happy when they see or hear us. Plus, quitting our day jobs would be a nice bonus.”

I hope you find yourself at a Grigio show sometime soon, because like Zach Brennaman said, “EVERYONE is a part of the family at Grigio shows. All we want is for people to feel welcome and happy. It’s mayhem that welcomes all humans.”

Hannah Shafer

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