MARK GRZELAK


1.0 Do you see your ‘Frosting’ cd as a one-off project or the future? One off? oh, no… Frosting is the future of my personal writing… “till old and grey, or old and greyer”.  The name is somewhat non-descript, and lends itself to an ever morphing musical ride, threaded in Rock and Roll. Well, that’s how I see it…

2.0 Are the songs on the album all new? Half are new (written in studio).  Half are scattered – anywhere from 3-10yrs old as of 2010.  Only two are from the 10yr old first demos.  But with “Fresh Frosting” being the first effort – it was important to me to have those early songs, as well as some of the progressional songs on the debut.

3.0 Which are your favorite songs on the record? Jeez – I’ll list three:  The first track “Comfortable Enough” – pretty much a window to my current state of being,  Track 3 “King Dawdle” – A testament to rock and rollers in the “life void” between bands, trying to find the next path, and wasting a hell of a lot of time thinking,not doing……  Track 8 “Last of the Good Men” – a song about my Father-in-law as he was dying – words or song can’t describe what it’s like to actually be in the room with someone you hold dearly as he/she has their last mortal breath.

4.0 What guitars did you play on the record? A modified Fender Telecaster, 70’s Gibson Les Paul, Gretsch Nashville, Gibson Jumbo Acoustic, cheapo lap steel,  cheap nylon string acoustic, and very “METAL” 80’s ESP “Chicago Cubs” guitar (killer for solos)

5.0  Javelina’s, had a real roots-rock feel, is that part of ‘Frosting’? I was the guitar player in Javelinas.  The bands/roles are quite different.  Javelinas focus was more a blend of 70’s punk rock insanity meets arena rock meets Americana.  To me that means no-holds barred rock and roll. Americana / Roots Rock was a bit out of the element I was used to, and it was very inspiring to write/jam in a new sonic environment. I had a big hand in the first record’s writing, as well as an anchor of the “rock and rollness” of the entire sound.  It was more of a let the rock fly vibe. Such a great band…  With Frosting, the boundaries are a bit more streched…  I am the sole writer for now.  Anything from quiet, simple ballads with minimal guitar playing to full blown anthems with three tracks of soloing, to songs based on keyboard riffs – Same spirit of rock and roll, just more of an open palette.  Writing by myself for Frosting tends to be on an acoustic, which lends to strumming, picking pretty melodies, etc.  But get me in a room with a good drummer and bass player and watch the f**k out.

6.0  As a songwriter, are you influenced more by bands from 60’s, 70’s, or the 80’s? I grew up in the 70’s/80’s. Began playing music in the 70’s and that music really is a big part of my history.  As I grew as a musician in the 80’s, who couldn’t embrace the ongoing technology boom and new sounds/styles within –  The 80’s broke the guitar driven mold. So my answer is I’m a bit of a hybrid… My “songwriting per se” leans more a bit to the 70’s model, however.

7.0 If you had to choose, who is the main artist or band that compelled you to be a musician? Hate, Hate, Hate this question.  The first four records I bought were Boston’s debut, Frampton Comes Alive, Strangers in the night (UFO),  and 2112. I’m gonna say RUSH.

8.0  What are your fondest memories of Simple Simon? Aah, The “Simons”…  Simple Simon was “THEE” band that my friends and I grew into as musicians and transformed from kids to adults. . It’s that band that you get your first goose bumps when writing, recording and performing.. No boundaries – conquer and carpet bomb the world.  We played everywhere in the USA that we could.  15 yrs of amazing memories and too many lessons learned to list. We still write together from time to time…  Simons were the epitome of a super powerful band with minimal members… 3pc – everyone must do their job really well, or the machine does not function properly.  All hail the power trio.

9.0  What are your favorite Chicago music venues to play? Double Door, Metro, House of Blues…  On the smaller side, Beat Kitchen, Elbo Room… they’re not afraid to turn it up.  Or ANY tavern.

10.0  It’s said that pop music comes and goes in cycles, will the wang bar ever return? God I hope so.  I’m still bucking for that 3rd guitar player slot in Night Ranger.

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