Sunday, May 3, 2009

Nick Greif - Turning Point

Nick stomping away with Turning Point, Photo courtesy of Turning Point

Over the past few weeks we have brought you a few sections of our interview with Jay Laughlin of Turning Point. Soon after we interviewed Jay, we got TP bassist Nick Greif on board to chime in as well. Since our first two parts were without Nick, we wanted to introduce Nick here and get some of his memories down before moving on to the rest of the interview with him and Jay. So here's Nick firing away on being one of the few and the proud... -Gordo DCXX

The first time I met Jay was at a ramp jam, and he had a black motorcycle jacket. He was selling Pointless demos. I was like, "who is this kid?" I felt like I was meeting a rock star. I was younger than him by a few years. I was impressionable. Actually, in a lot of those ramp jam photos, it's pretty much everyone who would end up in Turning Point and a part of the Turning Point crew, though at the time of the photos they were just various people in different bands, hanging out.

I was the youngest in the band. I ended up in TP because I had become friends with Ken, and we would skate together. After skating, we would go jam in this other kid Brian's garage. At the time, Ken kinda knew I wanted do a band. I remember TP starting as a summer project with Skip, Jay, and Ken, and they had asked Ken's brother to play bass, but he didn't end up doing it. So then they kinda asked me. I was psyched!

At the first two practices I couldn't even remember how to play anything. I was really nervous, with this shitty little amp that made like no noise. Then somehow at the third practice it came together a little more and I kinda figured out what I was doing. Up until then, I wasn't sure what they thought, but at the practice they said it was cool. Years later Jay told me they were gonna kick me out at the second practice, but I pulled it together by the third. So yeah, it was close.

Nick jams out the bass pre-Turning Point days, Photo: Kevin Sullivan

I just learned the songs from watching them play them. The way I remember it going, Jay would just say, "ok here it is." He had it figured out already. Then sometimes Skip might grab the bass, and then we'd just be doing it. We started at the beginning of the summer, and by the end of the summer we were ready to play shows. It was fun, Jay knew how to make it happen, even early on he kinda had the role as the dedicated band guy. I would say that 95% of the songs were written by him. Skip would hop in and work it out. Ken just knew exactly what to play. Skip was very serious earlier on, but he eased up a lot as time went by.

I was so impressed hanging out with these guys, because I was younger. Pretty quickly, they were like "let's do a demo!" I'm like, "whoa really?" That was kinda a big deal, it just really came together. I remember with the demo we did two sessions, with three or four songs in each session. We had all these dudes there to do back ups. I remember all of us sitting around and just dying as Skip did his vocals, because we were in the engineer's basement, and we were hearing just Skip's vocals isolated from the music as he did them, and we were all laughing our asses off. Skip didn't appreciate it at all.

Overall, early on we had no plan, we just did it. It was just fun and spontaneous and natural. "Wanna play a show?" "Yeah!" Get in the van, drive. Meet people. Play. Record a demo. Sell it. More shows. It was awesome. There was never any big plan, we just did it. I was lucky because even though I was only 14 or 15 at the beginning, my parents were very cool and gave me a lot of freedom. I remember our first trip to the Anthrax, on the ride up in the van we all were talking about what we told our parents. We are going around the van, and each person is talking about what they told their parents, whether it was lying to them and telling them that they were either sleeping over at a friend's house, or going to a local show or whatever. It gets to be my turn to turn, and I'm just like, "umm, I told them I was going to the Anthrax in Connecticut to play a show with other hardcore that bad?" Everyone was like, "what the fuck? How?!"

My parents thing was that as long as I was doing ok in school it was fine, they were very cool about it. In the band, even being the youngest, I kinda had the most freedom and the most relaxed home environment. Ken's house was kinda rigid, if you went there, you had to take your shoes off outside. I remember we'd be leaving and if it was winter our shoes would be frozen stiff with frost on then. At my house we could do whatever, wear your shoes inside! We'd play loud and the dishes upstairs would shake and my Dad would be watching TV like 6 inches from the screen so he could hear, and they didn't mind. Afterwards, my mom would make all of us dinner. It was great.

I wasn't really like a punk kid with a mowhawk. I went from being a generic skater, right into hardcore, it was a direct transition without any time dabbling with metal or punk really. I didn't do the whole crazy punk outfit thing. It was pretty much army pants, Air Jordans, and a skate shirt with a baseball hat. It's kinda just what I still wear today. I remember seeing Another State Of Mind, it was on one night and some of us were watching and we're like "whoa!" They get to the part with Ian and Henry working at Haagen-Dazs. And they are like "we're punk rock but we're still polite." I always dug that. It made sense to me. You didn't have to be self destructive to be pissed off.

Nick contorted and fast asleep in the Turning Point van with a friendly foot to the face, Photo courtesy of Turning Point


JD said...

Cant wait to hear more from Nick. Super nice guy. What's up man!

Taylor said...

Great read. Awesome to hear from Nick after so many years. Hope to hear more.

Anonymous said...

im the brian guy he jammed with in the garage said...

Really effective information, much thanks for the article.