When you're in a hard rock band and the holy trinity of sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll has lost its glitter and appeal, what do you do? What do you sing about?
The name of this heavy outfit is Space Grazer, and the band has solved that problem by writing songs about space and science fiction.
"We shout about the universe," says Benton Sillick, the trio's bass player. "As far as lyrical content, the general love songs of hard rock and heavy metal aren't something we really want to yell about anymore. We don't party anymore, so we don't sing about drugs or drinking; it's not our thing. So it was like, 'What else does metal yell about?' We looked and found there's a lot of sci-fi and fantasy stuff in heavy metal."
Space Grazer came out in late 2015 and started out trying to do a Motorhead and Black Sabbath throwback style — it was more hard rock than heavy metal. As the band's sound developed, its members felt trapped. They looked to their past for inspiration and changed it up.
"We realized we had pigeonholed ourselves into that sound," Sillick says. "Now we've taken things from more modern stuff, and some more out-there stuff, like the Melvins. And I grew up on hardcore punk — Black Flag, Dead Kennedys — and that sort of made it into our sound, too. So we have some stuff that's old school, skate metal, stoner metal, punk rock; played loud and proud all the while shouting at the universe."
With all this talk of space, you'd think Space Grazer would be primed to record a concept album. Nope.
"We're kind of a concept band already," Sillick says. "Without really thinking about it, we sort of have an aesthetic — 'Space Grazer' — we already have a mythology to that in our songs."
Trying on different names, the band that was to become Space Grazer wanted something really big, something that sounded cosmic ... and they found it in the extended "Star Wars" universe. "It's an alien that floats through space and swallows stars," Sillick says. "It eats worlds. We have a few songs about battling the space grazer."
The members of Space Grazer have been in and out of bands for years: Sillick has played with Attic Abasement and still plays with Thunder Body and Overhand Sam; guitarist Jesse Carson came from the black metal band Warblade; and according to Sillick, drummer Jay Moon has been in and out of punk bands for 20 years. Still, the band is searching for its place.
"We're kinda under the radar," Sillick says. The three members haven't been the face of any bands, so "people don't pay all that much attention to us."
Space Grazer is for anyone that likes it riff-based, loud, and a little weird, so it's hard to consider the band as not fitting in somewhere; this is some good shit.
Space Grazer has one EP, "Cosmic Terror," out and is back in the studio with producer Matt Ramerman as we speak and seems sharply focused, determined with its eyes on the prize. It's just a matter of time before Space Grazer is as big as it sounds. And the band is ready.
"This is our time to do this," Sillick says.