Interview: Jason Lytle of Grandaddy on return to playing live
Space rock legends Grandaddy are back on the road following a six year hiatus
Led by guitarist, singer and composer, Jason Lytle, the Modesto, California outfit have reconvened for a handful of club and festival shows, with their only Scottish date at Glasgow’s ABC. The show, following the stateside reissue of the band’s first three records, Under The Western Freeway, The Sophtware Slump and Sumday, on vinyl earlier this year, will allow the reunited band to run through tracks from their acclaimed back catalogue.
'We set out to have two separate chunks of rehearsal time; we ran down this list of 20 something songs from beginning to end,' says Lytle. 'There were obviously a few bugs we had to work out but we pretty much ran through the whole lot, I was just like, "Thank you, thank you, thank you!" I think we’ve spent just enough time working on it. I find there’s a fine line between when things are clicking and between starting to get bored.'
Together, the five-piece have played a run of American shows to rave reviews, including a performance at San Francisco’s Outside Lands festival earlier this month, but Lytle admits there is still an element of uncertainty over restarting his old project.
'There’s a fatalistic part of me that’s always expecting to see only three people out in the audience when we walk out from backstage,' he says.
'Even more so now. After so much time away I just don’t know what to expect.' This element of the unknown would be enough to make some stay at home, but the singer, a former extreme sports star, wouldn’t have it any other way.
'If anything, I get off almost as much on the element of surprise as anything else,' he laughs. 'I raced BMX bikes and used to skate in competitions, there’s something about the pressure and the anticipation of the performance that I really get off on. It’s unfortunate that when you’re in a band, out of the 24 hours in a day, you are only channelling that energy into an hour and a half. But when you do it well and knock it out of the park, it’s a pretty amazing feeling.'
This ABC date will be the band’s final Scottish performance as Lytle plans to shelf the project when the tour ends in London on September 4. Fans can, however, take solace in Lytle’s continued solo career. As the driving force behind Grandaddy, often playing all the instruments on recordings, Lytle’s solo work can be seen as an extension of his work with the band. His latest record, Department Of Disappearance, will be released in October. 'It’s pretty big sounding and cinematic; it was kind of a cool, guilty pleasure sounding album for me to make. That part kind of concerns me though, as for me to tour it the configuration would involve a whole slew of dudes. I think that when I get done with this Grandaddy stuff I’ll have had just enough of hanging out with dudes,' he laughs.
O2 ABC, Glasgow, Thu 30 Aug.