An Interview with McKendrick Bearden (Grand Vapids)

Having had Beatles on the brain for a while now, specifically the early years of their hysteria-inducing mop tops, I started to think about their early interviews. I looked up some of those early pressers and was taken aback by just how many times the fab foursome was asked about money and marriage, but there were also some gems hidden amongst the clunkers. And so, inspired by the early press conferences of the Beatles, especially their US tour interviews, I decided to ask some of those very same questions to some of the best and brightest making music today.

There's plenty to love about Georgia outfit Grand Vapids, and it goes well beyond their sardonically cheeky name. The foursome just released their sophomore record, Eat The Shadow, a collection of shadowy, haunted songs borne out of some pretty heavy shit that speaks to the dark places and gasping for breath that we all feel.

GV guitarist McKendrick Bearden gamely dove right in and channeled his inner Beatle. Read on to check out his answers, and be sure to check out Eat The Shadow. though I've still got questions (definitely need to know more about dodgy late night taxi rides in Puerto Rico). And if you happen to know anyone who can book Grand Vapids in Croatia, please make it happen. You'll be making at least one Vapids-ite's dream come true.    

What has been your most exciting moment in the last year?

Honestly probably seeing our record come to fruition.

Who are your favorite recording artists?

No way to answer this.

Do you feel safe riding in airplanes?

Logically of course I feel safe...but it is not an enjoyable experience.

Does every city look the same?

To some degree yes....They never feel the same though

What message are you trying to get across, if any?

Not for me to decide I suspect.

How would you describe yourself in one word?


Where would you like to go that you haven't gone yet?

Most places in the world. Most pressing is Mohovo, Croatia because I was instructed to go in a recent dream.

Do you feel that you're setting a new trend in music?

I don't have that feeling, no.

What kinds of guitars do you use?

I love Teles and Offsets but will try anything. They're as unique as people.

Does anybody ever ask you for advice?


How do you prefer for your fans to act at your concerts?

Just to be engaged. I wouldn't classify our music as dancy but every now and then we have people dance and it's strangely pleasing.

How do you go about writing your songs?

Music dictates words.

What is one question you would like to be asked that probably nobody has ever asked?

Do you feel safe?

What do you call your sound?

Kraut Jazz?

Have you ever had a mental block-out on stage?

Definitely. Ever gone to a sensory deprivation tank before playing a show?

What are your unfulfilled ambitions?

Pretty simple. I'd like to reach a point where my sole income is from music. Home ownership as well.

What advice do you have for teenagers?

Please don't take on college debt.

What is the closest you have come to losing life and limb?

I was more than convinced it was the end for me in the back of a very questionable late night cab in Puerto Rico.

Do you think of yourself more as an entertainer or a musician, or do you think it's more of a combination of the two?

Probably more of a musician but I guess some kind of combination. Maybe 20% entertainer.

[posted 8.2.19]


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