The main thing you have to understand about the Canadian hardcore band "Grindmother" is that their lead singer is a 67-year-old great-grandmother.
But there are other things you have to understand, too. Like that The Grindmother, as she prefers to be known, is a quite pleasant woman to talk to. Or that she was trained as a social worker and has worked at hospitals and small community agencies. Or that her newest hobby came to her a bit by accident, after her son invited her to perform some backup vocals on one of his musical projects. Or that she also enjoys woodworking.
The band is a three-piece out of Windsor in Ontario, Canada, featuring a mother-son combo on vocals and guitar, respectively. Next month, they'll release their debut album "Age of Destruction," a 15-song set that can be preordered at TheGrindmother.com, naturally. After that, they hope to tour.
The Huffington Post spoke with The Grindmother over the phone about what it was like when she heard herself scream for the first time, what kind of music she likes to listen to when she's not screaming and what her other hobbies are outside of screaming into a microphone. Yes, this woman is a hero. No, this is not a joke. (We think.)
My first question is the most obvious one: Are you actually a grandmother or no?
Oh, you bet. I’m a great-grandmother. I’m a grandmother of three children and a great-grandmother to three, yes.
So how did this happen? Tell me the story.
It’s a lovely story! My son just got a notion that he might have me sing into a microphone and do some guest vocals on one of his albums, so he did the setup and I asked him, “What do you want me to do?” He just said, "Have fun with it." He had the wherewithal to let the video camera run while we did it, so that was one of the earliest videos that came out. I think people liked it because it was spontaneous and we were having fun. One thing I found is what I thought of was the condition of the world just before the first scream, and out it came, and I think there’s an element of that behind every scream that i make.
Had you ever screamed before?
No! I didn’t know I had it in me.
Do you consider this sort of a joke or is it a serious venture for you?
No! It’s kind of a serious venture. I'm the kind of person that, whatever life presents me, I'll go with it, and it seems like a good thing. I actually hope to do a tour if it’s in the plans -- it would be fun.
When you walked into the studio for the first time, was that the first time that you had heard that sort of music?
Well, I have all of Rain's [her son's] CDs. But now, mind you, most of them aren’t opened because I can’t understand what he’s singing, and I gather that most people can’t understand what I am [either], although I perfectly know the lyrics.
Have you ever been to a grindcore show or anything like that?
No, no. I get a few warnings about them. But they better behave themselves. The Grindmother fights back.
How did you feel when you first heard that sort of music?
I never had a negative feeling about the music, that’s for sure. Just, well, it was kind of loud. I usually listen to instrumental music.
Sorry, what's the normal music that you listen to?
Instrumental, no words. Soft and soothing.
What’s a band I could look to that you like?
Well, mostly it’s classical music, basically.
Like Beethoven? Bach?
Yes, yes, that’s it.
When you’re singing in the band, how do you feel?
There’s an aliveness to it. I guess something that loud couldn’t not be alive. Aliveness in the present moment, just trying something new, but it has a good feel to it.
What do you like to do when you’re not screaming?
I have lots of interests. I’m an organic farmer, learned some farming. Right now where I’m living I don’t have much land, but I’ve got all these tomato plants growing in the house, and basil and different things growing. I love to work with wood. I wished when I was young that girls were allowed to take woodworking courses. I brought home some logs and stuff from a forest I visited and made a nice table, candle holders, different kinds of things. I enjoy doing those sorts of things, so i’m usually always busy.
I can’t help but wonder what your own grandmother would have thought of this.
Actually, my own grandmother was pretty cool. She would have thought this was a lot of fun. I come from kind of a unique family. My dad was a protester, too. My dad and my mum would have loved it.
Does it make you wish that you had pursued music earlier?
I just feel that now is kind of a neat time, and it’s kind of exciting to have something that’s so alive and getting such a good response from people -- at my age, it’s great.
I asked some of my co-workers what I should ask you, and they wanted to know what’s more satisfying: your first single or the birth of your grandchildren.
[Laughs]. They’re different. They’re very different.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.