The situation I'm at Capitol Hill's Moe Bar with local blues-rock duo The Grizzled Mighty--guitarist/vocalist Ryan Granger and drummer Whitney Petty, both 26, both draining hot toddies to fight off a shared cold (they're also roommates). The pair's headed to see the Atlas Sound at Neumos tonight. Petty, who wears a skull ring, speaks in a slow Southern drawl, and uses the phrase "balls to the wall" a lot, grew up in the same Atlanta suburb as Atlas frontman Bradford Cox, and used to play guitar with Cox's day job, Deerhunter.
How They Got Here Granger and Petty have both lived lives of peculiar adventures. Petty dropped out of college in Georgia to work as a trail-builder in Oregon--she tosses around words like "pulaski," "hazel hoe," and "chainsaw" like she's listing members of her family. She moved to Seattle to work for a cruise line as a deckhand, and offers to teach me some sailor's knots.
Granger thought about moving to L.A., but changed his mind after getting mugged and held hostage at gunpoint by a raving lunatic/faux pot dealer down there. Now he makes his living with flowers as an orchid importer for Ballard's Emerald City Orchids. The pair met two years ago, when Petty answered Granger's Craigslist ad. "I think the title was 'You gotta rock it before you roll it,' " she says.Shop Talk "I've always been a classic-rock-head," says Petty. "I loved playing with [Deerhunter] in the sense that they're a really tight band . . . But I never felt like I had much of a creative voice, because I'd want to put in a blues solo, and there's no room for that in Deerhunter songs! That's basically why I drifted out of Deerhunter, because our styles didn't match up."
The Grizzled Mighty's first release, a self-titled full-length, came out last December; its savage, guttural style suits Petty perfectly. "There's no other band I'd want to be in," she says. "It's just balls-to-the-walls rock and roll all the time."
"We make a lot of noise for two people," agrees Granger.
BTW: The White Stripes comparisons are getting old. "At first it was kind of flattering," says Granger, "because the White Stripes are awesome--"
"It's flattering for you, it's shitty for me!" Petty cuts in. They acknowledge the reference is hard to deny (they even make it themselves in their bio), but ultimately they're just thrilled about playing their own brand of blues rock, not imitating Jack White's.
"We're good live," Granger promises. "Most of the time. Unless we have too many hot toddies."
The Grizzled Mighty plays the Comet Tavern this Thursday, March 9, with Pony Time, Lovesick Empire, and Danny the Street. The show starts at 9 p.m. and there's a $7 cover.