Great Grandpa’s debut album, 2017’s Plastic Cough, sounds like they came from Seattle… which they do. It was an effort largely indebted to the output of bands from Pacific Northwestern region’s well-documented grunge scene in the ’90s, with a slightly modern twist. But for their new album Four Of Arrows, Great Grandpa tried something a little different. The influences are not lost, but the band’s gaze toward the future is more distilled and focused, making for one of the most rewarding listens of the year.
With Four Of Arrows set for release later this month, drummer Cam LaFlam sat down to talk ultimate drumming comfort, Tenacious D, and kidney stones in the latest Indie Mixtape 20 Q&A.
What are four words you would use to describe your music?
Press play and cry.
It’s 2050 and the world hasn’t ended and people are still listening to your music. How would you like it to be remembered?
Emotionally vulnerable, intricately crafted songs made by a group of best friends. Pop/rock music willing to experiment and evolve.
What’s your favorite city in the world to perform?
There are lots of good choices. Shout out Carrboro, NC!
Who’s the person who has most inspired your work, and why?
I couldn’t truthfully point to one person.
Where did you eat the best meal of your life?
There are too many “bests.” Best burger (vegan) I’ve ever had is from Arlo’s in Austin, TX.
What album do you know every word to?
Probably Tenacious D’s self-titled circa 2001.
What was the best concert you’ve ever attended?
I think I’d pick completely different ones if you asked me again a year later. These come to mind now: Thursday in 2005, Broken Social Scene in 2009, D’Angelo & The Vanguard in 2015, Joanna Newsom in 2016, and Young Jesus in 2018
What is the best outfit for performing and why?
Loose t-shirt and shorts for drumming to make things light and comfortable!
Who’s your favorite person to follow on Twitter and/or Instagram?
What’s your most frequently played song in the van on tour?
Last tour it was “Mambo Italiano” by Rosemary Clooney.
What’s the last thing you Googled?
True love will find you in the end.
What album makes for the perfect gift?
Sam Cooke’s Live at the Harlem Square Club, 1963.
Where’s the weirdest place you’ve ever crashed while on tour?
Camped at some hot springs in Ashland, OR on our first west coast tour in summer 2015. There was someone walking around and screaming throughout the campsite all that night. A bit unnerving.
What’s the story behind your first or favorite tattoo?
I only have one tattoo at the moment…so that’s my favorite! It’s a black and white party hat from the cover of our 2017 album Plastic Cough. Everyone in the band has a version of this tattoo.
What artists keep you from flipping the channel on the radio?
Frank Ocean, Alex G, Aldous Harding, Curtis Mayfield, Amy Winehouse, Television.
What’s the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?
First thing that comes to mind is when my bandmate Pat drove me to the emergency room and stayed with me for hours while I was in excruciating pain from what turned out to be a kidney stone. This was a few years ago. I don’t know what qualifies as “nicest thing ever” but that was pretty nice!
What’s one piece of advice you’d go back in time to give to your 18-year-old self?
Apply for a f*ck-load more scholarships as you make your way through private college.
What’s the last show you went to?
What movie can you not resist watching when it’s on TV?
What would you cook if Kanye were coming to your house for dinner?
The Life of Pasta with salad, grilled vegetables, French bread.
Four Of Arrows is out October 25 on Double Double Whammy.