Sometimes your ears stumble upon a band that takes you to another era (or a hybrid of a few) you weren’t even old enough to enjoy. Toronto-based rock band, Drop Top Alibi is one of those bands!
Here is my interview with front man, Brandon Gregory!
I hear you guys are back in the studio cooking up some new music! Can you spill some details on what the flavor of the new tunes will be like?
BG: Yes we are! And it’s such a great feeling. These songs are definitely a lot more mature and fearless from a songwriting point of view. We’ve spent the last few years really trying to figure out a way to blend the darkness and the light that exists in all of our styles. Led Zeppelin and Alice in Chains are two great examples. Zeppelin could go from Immigrant Song, into The Rain Song and nobody would bat an eye. Alice could go from We Die Young to No Excuses and the fan base would sing along to both. That was something we always wanted to achieve, and knew we could. The key has been to stop giving a fuck really. It’s good to have both, and each song still undeniably sounds like us.
Having a solidified line up that has been touring and writing for a year now has made a huge difference as well. We are in tune with each other and are having a lot of fun blending everything and anything to see what can happen. Drop Top is definitely still a heavy and grooving band, but the spectrum of sounds and groove elements have become far more in depth. But again, the key has been being fearless and not giving a fuck.
What are your top 3 favorite things about the songwriting process?
BG: Comradery is definitely one of them. It’s always a rewarding process when one person pitches an idea for a section, or maybe has a verse and a chorus ready but nothing else really, and everyone gets an opportunity to bring an idea forward. Brandon typically comes up with the original ideas or has a song about 75% done, and then everyone leaves their mark. Some times the groove or pocket will change, someone will have a different melody idea, harmony starts to come into play and of course tone selection. That’s Dylan’s specialty, and it adds so much to the overall mood of the song.
For me, when I’m writing on my acoustic at home, and I really start to feel like I’m onto something, that rush is unlike no other. It’s excitement, anxiousness, anticipation, nervousness, and even extreme happiness or sadness depending on where the music is taking me. It’s always exhilarating, and that feeling of “Oh man I fucking can’t wait to show the boys,” always puts me in a good place.
Lastly, the element of the chase and the fact that we are all in it
together trying to make the song exactly what it should be. That chase doesn’t end until you’ve received your final master back, and it is by far the most rewarding part of the process. Production, mixing, and arrangement are all so important to the songwriting process, and it is the part that everyone has a place to speak every time. Sometimes, someone will write a song front to back and not much needs to be worked on. When that happens, other than writing your own part for yourself, input doesn’t need to come from everyone. But the chase -until the song is mastered and all finished- involves everyone, and truly is a team effort.
Brandon- your vocals are unreal. I’m sure others would agree it’s very Vince Neil meets Axl Rose, with a modern twist. Any tips on how you keep your voice conditioned for gigs?
BG: Thank you Krystal, I really appreciate it! Honestly, the biggest help for me has been my experience singing in choirs. I went to the University of Windsor for two years studying guitar, and I had to do ensemble credits while I was there. I always opted to sing in choirs, and learned how to use a technique called “head voice.” That has saved me from having to belt my lungs out to sing high and with power. Preparation on show day usually entails making sure I haven’t eaten too much to close to show time and a couple shots of vodka. It’s important for your body to not be doing anything that drains energy, like digesting. Plus smoking is a no go, until after the show and only if it’s green.
What are your favorite things about performing live? Least fave?
BG: Our favorite things about it are definitely connecting with the crowd through our music, feeding off their energy and channeling it into our performance. The sheer workout of a high energy set is always fun, and meeting new people and hanging out after the show is great too!
It’s safe to say the least favorite thing is lugging gear around.
If there were a fair food (like weird food at the CNE) named after the band, what would be in it?
BG: If something was ever created and named after the band, it would more then likely be some sort of moonshine. May contain pure gasoline.
It’s safe to say, that would be the the craziest thing served at a fair!
What are some of the highlights of the band’s career so far?
BG: We’ve had the opportunity to work with some legendary people like Norwood Fisher (Fishbone) and Gilby Clarke (Formerly of GnR). Their mentorship and friendship have been invaluable, and we are hoping to get back to LA soon with our new tunes! We got to tour with Gilby in 2017, and party with him and his family in LA when we went down there to visit earlier that same year. Working with him at Metal Works was an amazing experience as well. The wealth of knowledge that man has about rock n roll and how to make it is amazing to be around.
We did a tour run throughout the summer of 2018 supporting our single Heavy Metal Baby, which was a blast. Lastly, the current recording process we are in the middle of has been great as well. There are no timelines, no clocks, and everything we’re trying to make happen sonically is coming together! We are very excited. Having a five-time Juno Award-winning producer in Michael Hanson who is both fearless and creative has been a blessing.
Sounds like good times all around! If you were to form a dream tour with any artists-dead or alive- who would you tour with?
BG: This question is too hard to answer! Maybe a dream festival line up with bands like; Led Zeppelin, QOTSA, Aerosmith, Guns n’ Roses, Soundgarden, Queen, The Stones, The Beatles, Hendrix, Oasis, Chili Peppers…We should probably stop there!
Anything else you would like to add?
BG: Rock ‘n’ Roll Ain’t fucking dead! It’s hard to see that sometimes in North America, where hip hop and club music is the big thing. All across the world, rock music is thriving, and there is an uprising of youth that feel alienated from current pop culture, who want to rebel and be heard. Bands like Cleopatrick have made this abundantly clear to us.
History repeats itself. We just came out of a disco phase with EDM, now we’re in a time with mumble rap that is reminiscent of Glam Metal in terms of decadence, excess, and bad behavior. So what comes next? An alienated generation of suburban kids who don’t identify with any of that bull shit. Last time that happened, Kurt Cobain came along. We’re excited to see how the next chapter pans out, and we hope to be a part of a movement that makes these kids feel like there is something to be a part of.
Thank you so much for your time and I look forward to seeing what’s next for the band!
Like what you hear? Get social! Find Drop Top Alibi on social media!