For the past six months, I have been following a band that possesses musical originality in performance and composition on a level which I have not experienced for a long time—and certainly never before from a group of high school-age musicians. These Long Island based teens are creating musical magic right now, and anyone who wonders where the next “front line” will emerge needs look no further than The Little Red Men.
Earlier this year, I was invited by my friend Rick Eberle to attend an event in Great Neck that featured live performances from a variety of young Long Island-based artists. It was a last-minute invitation, and it had already been a long day, so I was somewhat on the fence about making the trip westward. I decided to do a bit of research on the performers to help make my decision. Clicking on the various links to the artist/band web pages, I was unimpressed until I got to The Little Red Men … and then the pendulum swung. Listening to the opening chord progression of “Off Guard,” my eyes widened in wonder as I marveled to the musical ingenuity my ears were absorbing. In fact, the first 30 seconds of that track was the impetus that got me in the car headed to Great Neck to see what this band could do live. The four-piece band delivered a set that left no doubt as to the potential inherent in this group of musicians.
I attended several additional shows from that point, from Smithtown to Montauk, and became more convinced that this was indeed a band to be reckoned with. After a change in drummers, the current lineup is comprised of Brandon Gurba (vocals, rhythm guitar), Nicholas Granelle (lead guitar), Andrew Golub (bass guitar) and Jordan Godfrey (drums). Each of these individuals is a first-rate musician, and the songwriting team of Gurba and Granelle produces material that is miles above the mindless pap of radio fodder that is currently infesting the airwaves. Songs like “Off Guard,” “Jessie,” “6,” “Psycho,” “Jibberish” and “Blueberry Jam” demonstrate a level of songwriting ability and musical prowess that is, to these ears, unmatched by their peers. The Little Red Men are my favorite new band, hands down.
I recently spent a Saturday evening at the Granelle home interviewing the band, also checking out some new studio recordings, and was treated to a live performance of songs both old and new, all in the privacy and comfort of the band’s home studio/rehearsal space. Sitting around the Granelle’s dining room table, we got down to business, discussing the recent past, the present, and what the band hopes will be an exciting future.
The newly recorded version of “Off Guard” with its fusion of radio-friendly alternative rock with progressive swing, funk, and jazz stunned me with its professional mixing, arrangement, and performances, both instrumental and vocal. Live, the band has soared to new creative heights at an altitude that most groups can only dream of, let alone achieve. The musical maturity exhibited by The Little Red Men exists side by side with a four-cornered friendship that each member is fiercely proud of and committed to.
For our full conversation, visit Island Zone Update