The Graniteers defy genres and remain genuine

Sign Up For Our FREE Daily eNews!

The Graniteers perform April 9 at Angel City Music Hall. Photo/Tyler Laplant

MANCHESTER, NH – Conventional wisdom would suggest that a rock’n’roll guitarist would be the last person you’d ask about getting a haircut.

So there’s irony to the fact that when I met The Graniteers’ frontman Nick Ferrero for our interview, he also cut my hair.

As I walked into The Blank Canvas Salon—a chic, hip, busy hair studio in Londonderry—it was impossible to miss Ferrero’s corner of the universe: a glassed-in barbershop to the right of the entrance, with its walls painted black adorned with music posters and a dog calendar.

While he’s only been a barber for a year and half, Ferrero seemed as comfortable with a set of clippers as he is with a guitar. “I love my job,” he told me. “You’d be surprised how many musicians have day jobs.”

And at night—as the Kiss-anthem goes—it’s time for the 32-year-old guitarist to rock’n’roll with drummer Jordon McCrea[1] and bassist and girlfriend Monica Grasso in The Graniteers, a Manchester band whose sound isn’t easily pigeonholed.

Which is perfectly fine with The Graniteers, whose eclectic list of influences run the spectrum, from Springsteen and AC/DC to The Clash, The Menzingers and Rancid. “Genres are out the window at this point,” said Ferrero. “And it’s a good thing.”

Grasso also considers the band’s chameleon-like ability to blend with other musicians a boon.

“The most exciting thing about playing in The Graniteers is that we get to play with all sorts of different bands, from punk and hardcore to folk and jam bands,” said Grasso. “I feel like we hover between several genres so we can fit in with almost any crowd.”

When labels are stripped and limitations lifted, the music itself becomes “an attitude and a mindset,” as opposed to a genre, said Ferrero.

“All that matters in rock’n’roll is being genuine and being yourself,” he said. “It’s not about sounding like Led Zeppelin. It’s about sounding like yourself.”

Grasso added that simplicity is also an essential ingredient in The Graniteers’ sound. “We’re not trying to try too hard and not trying to say too much. I think this is why we appeal to so many people—they get it because there’s not much to get,” she said.

So far, with their grit and working-class ethos, The Graniteers’ original sound has earned them a solid following.

“They’re straight stallions who honor the present and the past of punk rock with the taste of blood on their tongues,” said Rob Azevedo, the host of the radio show “Granite State of Mind” that showcases local musicians. “I fucking love The Graniteers.”

Local musician and host of The Angel City Music Hall Open Mic on Thursday nights, Jonny Friday agrees.

“The Graniteers are a great original band on the Manchester scene,” Friday said. “You don’t see many three-piece bands anymore, and they have a huge sound—catchy, creative, original music.”

Through six years and many configurations, The Graniteers have remained “genuine” while charging forward.

The band started as a side project for Ferrero, who grew up in the Concord area. For much of his 20s, Ferrero played and toured with the Jersey-based Hudson Falcons while occasionally meeting up to jam with high school friends Brian Peasley and Taylor Pearson, who played together in the Contoocook folk-bluegrass band Hometown Eulogy.

The three men’s casual creation became the first itineration of The Graniteers.

But—as artists are wont to do—they drifted in separate creative directions, and Ferrero moved forward with the band with Peasley and Pearson’s blessing.

In 2019, the band recorded their first EP, “Always Nowhere,” which was produced by Eric Sauter at the Manchester studio Blackheart Sounds.

When Ferrero’s good friend and fellow Manchester musician Scotty Cloutier left the band as the bassist, Grasso—an accomplished local singer and guitarist—signed on as The Graniteer’s new bassist and background vocalist.

With the current lineup, The Graniteers are continuing to grind it out on the Manchester music scene, a scene that Ferrero embraces and believes is sitting on the brink of something special.

“There’s a renaissance of live music,” he said. “There are more venues popping up. Manchester is becoming a mini-Boston.”

In the past, the Manchester music scene has been criticized for its inundation of cover bands, something Grasso believes is changing, an auspicious sign for The Graniteers who write and perform original songs.

“I think people are generally sick of hearing the same songs covered week-to-week at the same bars,” said Grasso. “Overall, I think people really want the experience of seeing an original band in a club setting. It will only get better from here. I think we may finally be seeing the downfall of ‘Wonderwall.’”

Now The Graniteers are primed to reinforce their presence with new music and an EP while extending beyond the New England borders.

“The most exciting thing about playing in The Graniteers is that we get to play with all sorts of different bands, from punk and hardcore to folk and jam bands,” said bassist Monica Grasso. Photo/Amanda Stahle

On April 8, the band will drop a new single, “Mindslide,” in anticipation of the EP “Tales of the Underground” with a music video to follow in May.

“We’re in a day and age where it’s about frequency of content [through the streaming of music], so if you release EP’s and singles, every month listeners get a little gift,” said Ferrero.

And The Graniteers have scheduled a bevy of live shows to plug their new music.

Locally, the band with play The Angel City Music Hall in Manchester on April 9 then The Shaskeen[2] on May 7 with The Cryptics, The Welch Boys and The Hagglers.

Then, after opening for special guest Lee Rocker of The Stray Cats at The Pin-up Party on Elm Street on June 18, the band lights off on a mini-tour that will cover Vermont, northern New York, New York City, Detroit and select cities in the Midwest from June 18-31.

For Ferrero, however, his goals for the band remain—in true Graniteer-form—modest. “I would like the band to have enough clout that people will come to the Blank Canvas Salon, and it will become its own culture here,” he said.

Which seems entirely attainable.

After all, The Graniteers can really jam, and Ferrero gave me the best haircut I’ve had in a while.

_________

[1] Ferrero acknowledged that he has had a Spinal Tap-esque string of drummers in the band. However, at the time of writing this piece, no Graniteer drummer has spontaneously combusted on stage.

[2] According to Ferrero, The Shaskeen is Manchester’s CBGB due its support of the local music scene. However, Nick was quick to point out that The Shaskeen is “far cleaner” and safer than the notorious New York City punk-rock Mecca.

To check out some of The Graniteers’ music, videos and for show information, visit their website at www.thegraniteers.com.


 

About this Author

nathan-graziano

Nathan Graziano

Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester with his wife and kids. He's the author of nine collections of fiction and poetry. His most recent book, Fly Like The Seagull was published by Luchador Press in 2020. He's a high school teacher and freelance writer, and in his free time, he writes bios about himself in the third person. For more information, visit his website: http://www.nathangraziano.com