Grudge Rock, created by the brilliant ringleader Jake Stratton, leader of beloved first-ever sci-fi/hardcore band BloodHag), is styled as a 70s game show (Family Feud format) with bands playing and competing against each other. The winning band gets all the door money, but there are fabulous consolation prizes and more.
The show this Saturday, January 16 is GRUDGE ROCK SEASON TWO – EPISODE ONE, and it will be “party-inspired electronic rock music vs. indie pop” with fan favorites Head Like A Kite and BOAT.
This will be the first time the event is hosted at The Crocodile, as it has been running successfully at the Re-Bar and now needs bigger digs. The first WWF-styled boast was sent out by HLAK: “OPEN LETTER TO BOAT: You guys are toast. You can’t match the mental prowess of Head Like a Kite. We’ve got a panda bear that recites “The Merry Wives of Windsor” and Trent can spin seat cushions with one finger. Prepare yourselves for the consolation prize.”
Just look at who is sponsoring the show: Pabst Blue Ribbon, Jameson Whiskey, Scarecrow Video, Fantagraphics Books, Pierced Hearts Tattoo & Piercing, Singles Going Steady, Trading Musician, Hardware Salon, Snoose Junction Part Dieu and Verellen Amplifiers. It’s $10 (over 21, sorry), with 9 PM and the show starting exactly at 10 PM.
Here’s our interview Mr. Stratton about the history of Grudge Rock, to be followed by interviews with both BOAT and Head Like A Kite.
Who came up with this insanity?
Grudge Rock was my idea, based in my love for the original Family Feud and Richard Dawson. I was watching the show one day and thinking about how if I was ever on the show, I wouldn’t bring my family members, I’d bring a lot of my knowledgable bandmates. That got me to thinking that the five member sides of Family Feud had about the same amount of members as the average band, and that gave me the idea for Grudge Rock. I sat on the idea for about two years before trying it, because I thought that I’d have to build a big game board and all that. Jackson Lowe, the booker for the Re-Bar told me that he had a flash program for a Family Feud game on his computer and that all we’d have to do is run it through the video projector. That did it, and I started booking bands right away. Jackson helped me run the show for the first year at the Re-Bar. He created the video intro for us, and ran the board during the show.
For those who haven’t been to one yet, I am enraged with shame to admit. What can I expect? Do the bands play? Do they play together sometimes? Is there audience participation at all?
The game show is essentially Family Feud, only ALL the questions are music related (whereas the TV FF almost never does music questions). I come up with the survey questions (with suggestions from anybody who wants to help) and send them out to our “elite 100” survey takers made up of music fans, musicians (both famous and otherwise), producers, and other music personalites and I collect the answers at put it all together. We play the game show in two halves. We play the first half, and whoever is in the lead at the end of the half chooses whether they want to play right then or at the end of the night. Then a band plays, then we play the second half. Whoever gets the most points is the winner. At the end we give an envelope for All The Door Money to the winner and give the loser Fabulous Consolation Prizes (provided by our sponsors).
This is a pretty unique presentation, isn’t it? I haven’t heard about anything like this in other cities.
As far as I know I’m the only one doing this live-music-focused game show night. Although the FF program is a free download anybody can use, and running a Family Feud game is a not uncommon party game at corporate events. I do own the name Grudge Rock though.
How do you choose the bands, if you can reveal it?
I started with bands I know well from my years playing with BloodHag. I confirm one band, then ask them who they’d like to take on. They usually pick bands that they’re friends with and we have a good game with good friendly rivalry. In general I try to pick two bands that play a similar style, but my only rule is: every type of music is welcome. I don’t want the night to become associated with one particular “scene” or another. I feel like there’s too many cliques and seperation in Seattle music right now.
Why HLAK Vs. Boat?
Head Like A Kite vs. BOAT was a coup orchestrated by Crocodile booker Eli Anderson, and I’m very excited that he was able to get them. I’ve done all the booking for the show since the beginning, as doing ALL the promotion, designing, printing and hanging all the flyers, paying for everything out of pocket, etc.
So, when I decided to try to move Grudge Rock from Re-Bar to a larger venue, one of the criteria was whether they were able to help me book bands and do promo, so I didn’t have to break my back constantly. Eli is willing to lend his black book and expertise to help me out with booking, as it’s in his best interest to fill the club, and thus The Croc is Grudge Rock’s new home!
Who have previously won Grudge Rocks?
The Girls, Helms Alee, They Live!, The Pranks, A Gun That Shoots Knives, The Abodox, and many more!
Go to the GR Hall Of Fame for the complete list.
Any wild outcomes not expected in performance or audience reaction?
Our two biggest shows for attendance have been Akimbo vs. Helms Alee and Mad Rad vs. They Live!. Mad Rad vs. They Live was probably the most energetic show, those crazy rappers jump around when they win, and they crawl in agony when they lose. Pure drama! The Valkyries vs Neon Nights was probably the most drunken of train wrecks, and also the one that came closest to actually being a feud. That’s a long story that i don’t have the strength to relate right now. It’s been a cool, unique experience because i’ve gotten to see bands out of their element, out from behind their instruments and gotten to know which bands are down-to-earth people with a sense of humor, and which bands are spoiled prima donna sore losers. Fortunately, most are the former, not the latter. If you ask me real nice some day I’ll tell you who’s who.
The drinks are on me for that, Jake! Meanwhile, where do you see this going, that you can say?
Moving to a larger venue is part of my plan of forced growth. I’d rather not talk to much more about it, I’m one of those people who thinks that if you say something out loud you can jinx it. Let me just say that i’m not gonna stop until I take this as large as possible.
Who the hell is Jake Stratton, for those who don’t know (and skipped the above)?
Jake Stratton, singer (don’t call me leader, the other guys’ll get uptight) of BloodHag, announcer for The Rat City Rollergirls and SSP Wrestling, host and co-creator of World Extreme Pencil Fighting Championships, also I’ll come up with some other crazy ideas soon, just give me money, manpower and time.
Being the frontman for BloodHag for almost fifteen years has given me the comfort in public speaking to allow me to be a game show host and a sports announcer. My and BloodHag’s love for literature has had more impact on every OTHER aspect of my life.
Any last announcements before we bring the boys out for a chat in our next two installments?
Starting in February we get our regular night: the third Thursday of every month, only at The Crocodile!
For more info and FF schedule, www.grudgerock.com is coming soon! Find out how you can be part of the survey! And follow us on Facebook!