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Granny's A Freak! An Exclusive Interview With TERRY 'GRANNY' LEROI Of GRANNY 4 BARREL

By Cynthia Fields-Jalil, Writer/Photographer
Tuesday, June 5, 2018 @ 10:37 AM

"We can’t take ourselves too serious. I like to have a good time and just when people think it's too comical, I put the hammer down and kick you right in the nuts with the power!"

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Photos By Josh Rienecke

Hey there all of you metal heads and rock and rollers! This go around I was fortunate enough to research and discover a band that I had never heard of before called GRANNY 4 BARREL. G4B’s lead singer Granny aka “The Matriarch of Metal” is Terry LeRoi who wears a gray wig fashioned into the kind of bun that nearly everyone’s grandmother has worn or will wear at some point in her life, enter Norman Bates of the classic horror film Psycho by the late, great Alfred Hitchcock. Granny’s attire includes a below-the-knees Steam Punk dusty old dress with black lace-up boots to complete her outfit. During her performance, she tends to rest her weary old soul throughout by sitting on her rocking chair as she belts out hard-hitting, kick you in your ass and sometimes lyrically comical metal and bluegrass infused songs. She’s backed by her band members, aka “The Family” that includes a violin player “The Maestro", drummer “The Alchemist” and guitar player “The Butcher”. Just like Granny mentioned in our fun interview, if you like theatrics and you’re looking for something different, then be sure to catch her at a venue near you. And then prepare yourself for some ass kicking tunes sung by the baddest grandmother around that aims to empower you to be whoever you want to be, do whatever you want to do while giving you a no holds barred good old rock and roll stage show! Y’all can catch Granny and her family when they past through your city or town!

KNAC.COM: Before we get started, I'd like to first thank you for taking the time to chat with me on behalf of KNAC.COM and your fans, I sincerely appreciate ya for it!

LEROI: Well I sure do appreciate that right back Cynthia!

KNAC.COM: So how are you doing today Granny (Terry Michael LeRoi) or should I call you ”The Matriarch of Metal”?

LEROI: You can call me whatever you want, just don’t call me late for supper! But, yeah, I’m doing good today…I’m doing real good today! We’re just in Kentucky, we’ve got some shows coming up here in Louisville. Well, we’ve got a show here on the 3rd (May) at Trixies in Louisville and then we’ll just keep on going across the country!

KNAC.COM: Let’s start this interview off with a quick bit of history on how and where you and the band first got started?

LEROI: Alrighty! Well, me and the boys are from upstate New York. Two of the fellas are from downstate right in the city, and me and the guitar player or the butcher we’re from upstate New York. And this here is the entertainment industry last time I checked, and ya know just tryin’ to do something different, something shocking, have some fun and do something that kicks ass! So a few years back I said to myself 'you know what would it be like if a badass old woman fronted a metal band?' (laughing) And we did a little test market and put this band together, and the people loved it! And I’ve been in a lot of bands over the years and it’s only this one that’s been getting the attention on this level, it’s only this band and it’s just fun all across the board!

KNAC.COM: I think that the music industry is starting to take a big hit because I think that alot of the fans are really starting to lose interest because like you said, there’s nothing out there like what you’re doing anymore. We’ve got ALICE COOPER, we’ve got KISS and we have AVATAR and they’re awesome but other than that, I don’t know that we really have anything close to that and I really like what you’re doing.

LEROI: Well, thank you! It's like yeah, you’re right, I mean you’ve got AVATAR, those boys are cool, you’ve got GHOST, I like that band too, but there ain’t much and you know we’re just tryin’ to do something different. But you know, the music’s legit, the entertainment value is legit and we want to give the rock and roll children an experience, I don’t want to just go see a band in street clothes looking at their shoes playing heavy metal and swinging’ their hair around. I mean it's cool, but I’m thinking folks want maybe something a little different for a change.

KNAC.COM: How did you guys decide on the name and character of the band?

LEROI: I’m a product of the 70s horror genre. I mean I love the scary movies. One of my favorite movies, well I’ve got a couple of them but everybody knows who Norman Bates (Anthony Perkins) is, he had a crazy mom that actually didn’t exist, well she did once, but she was dead and he was dressing up like her. And there’s another one with Karen Black (aka Marian Rolf) from Burnt Offerings (Released April 1976) is one of the movies that was inspirational to Granny’s character and I got to thinking there’s something about a witch-like old woman that’s kinda of gnarly and badass and if she fronts a rock band, I think that’s going to be pretty cool! The name is kinda like a juxtaposition right! GRANNY means old and feeble and 4 BARREL like a four barrel carburetor-I mean that’s power so ya’ll are mixing two things together, feeble and powerful, it's kind of a mind game and those are two things at the same time.

KNAC.COM: So, there’s a heaviness to your music that reminds me of old school rock and roll peppered with a bit of JACKYL, JANE’S ADDITION, and maybe some rebellious KID ROCK. With that said, who were you inspired by musically?

LEROI: Well I like that description you just said, that’s right on! But, I’m a big JUDAS PRIEST, AC/DC, IRON MAIDEN, BLACK SABBATH fan and I’m old school and I love all of that. I mean LED ZEPPELIN, even bands like STARZ, remember that band with a Z they’re from a long time ago, I mean all of that stuff! And then moving up a little bit more recent, I mean not recent, but still 20 plus years ago, LIFE SEX & DEATH, remember that band with Stanley (lead singer aka Chris Stan). Do you remember that?

KNAC.COM: (laughing) Yeah, I do!

LEROI: Yeah, yeah, and then when the 90s…I mean bands like ALICE IN CHAINS, SOUNDGARDEN, PANTERA, I mean I like it all but there is some old school mixed in there and then we mix in there a little bit of bluegrass and some electronics and there you have it!

KNAC.COM: I’ve gotta tell you that your stage presence is fun and you kinda remind me of Jesse James Dupree (JACKYL) (laughing), he’s fun, and you’re funny crazy on stage, and you crack me up!

LEROI: (laughing) Yeah, well that’s good, I’m doing my job then (laughing). We can’t take ourselves too serious. I like to have a good time and just when people think it's too comical, I put the hammer down and kick you right in the nuts with the power!

KNAC.COM: (laughing) So, I think you’ve probably already answered this, but I did have this question; which music artists, movies or carnival freak show inspired the theatrical aspects of the band? So, you may be able to add a few more.

LEROI: Yeah, I mean again it’s like horror movies mixed with heavy metal, like the bands that I mentioned with just a little bit of my personal craziness I guess and theatricality. I think seeing a band should be an experience so let’s give-’em something and GRANNY’s like a surrogate badass metal granny to all of the rock and roll children out there. She’s like the granny you wish you always had, that’s who I am!

KNAC.COM: During my preparation for our interview, the main message from the band that stood out to me was to be true to yourself and to always be you no matter how different, strange or weird you may appear to be to who our society considers as ”normal” folks. Have I hit the target or missed the mark entirely?

LEROI: I couldn’t have it said it better myself, Cynthia. That’s it, that’s exactly it! It’s like I said the other night at a show. I feel like if people love themselves, then they are less likely to judge other people because they give themselves a break and that means they understand humanity, so they’re not just metal and when you carry that around with you, you can just be authentic. And when you’re authentic, well you know, it’s the real deal and that’s what I’m trying to encourage.

KNAC.COM: There’s so much hatred in today’s world and we all need to find more acceptance towards one another and just love each other for who we are.

LEROI: That’s right! I mean everybody’s unique, nobody’s better than anybody else. Everybody’s got something to offer.

KNAC.COM: How would you describe the band to someone who has never heard of GRANNY 4 BARREL that may be contemplating checking out one of your live performances?

LEROI: Well if you like theater and you like horror and you like heavy metal and you like bluegrass, and you like just gettin' crazy and you want to have an experience and lose yourself in another worldly experience that’s what GRANNY is!

KNAC.COM: So, let’s talk about your latest video “She Likes Guns” (video on KNAC.COM HERE).

LEROI: (laughing) Alright! (more laughter).

KNAC.COM: It happens to be directed by a particular Stephanie A. Gregory Clifford aka ”Stormy Daniels”, the pornstar and stripper who has been plastered all over our TV screens lately because of her involvement with the current White House resident President Donald Trump. It turns out that Stormy’s special ”naughty talents” aren't the only ones she has. She also happens to be an established director and screenwriter. How did Stormy and GRANNY 4 BARREL first meet and ultimately end up working and collaborating on the ”She Likes Guns” music video?

LEROI: Alright, well so about a year ago, actually 11 months now because it was last June or May 10 or 11 months so, Jesse James Dupree (JACKYL), he owns the label that GRANNY’s on, Mighty Loud, and we was gonna release the first single. Now we’ve got a whole record by the way and we’re just releasing singles right now, but the record is ready, in fact it was ready last year and the first single was going to be “She Likes Guns”. And so to back that up, we said “well, we’ve got to do a video!” And Jesse’s friend said “Well I’ve got this friend (Stormy Daniels), how about I connect you two to see if y’all can work out something and if you guys hit it off, and maybe make a video. So, that’s what happened. And then the radio promotion team was a little bit sketched out about guns on the radio and we got a little pushback and it’s like “Alright, it's controversial and they probably can’t put it out so everything just got shelved, we had a video done, the song was done and so we put out "Freak Flag". But then all this stuff in the news over the last few months, I was I like “hey boys guess what? Did you check out the news lately, we’ve got a video here that Stormy Daniels and I think now might be a good time to release it whether radio gets behind it or not don’t you think?" Yeah, and so that’s why we put it out and she did a great job! Stormy and I worked on this for about two weeks. We did a video treatment we talked about, I mean I know it’s controversial and I’m already catching a little bit of flack like 'oh GRANNY you know, come on, girls with guns and they’re half-naked' and I was like “listen, I like half-naked girls with guns and I ain’t got a problem with that!” (laughing) I mean if you don’t like it , don’t watch it! You know really at the heart of the song Cynthia, it’s about and it even sounds strange to say it, but if you listen to the words and you get that it is female empowerment.

KNAC.COM: That’s what I think, it’s a metaphor!

LEROI: It’s a metaphor, that’s exactly what it is! The guns are a woman’s power to stand-up against a bully or a villain and it even says it ya know “hammer to powder, powder to force, she put down a villain on his villainous course” and we wrote this long before politics and Stormy and everything was in the news, that was just the heart of the song. And so, it is what it is and we love it and she did a great job and here we are now!

KNAC.COM: Who came up with the title and lyrics for the song?

LEROI: “She’s Likes Guns”? Well, that was Granny and Granny also did a co-write with that. Our producer Jeff Tomei, who’s credits include everything from Jerry Cantrell, THE SMASHING PUMPKINS, CORROSION OF CONFORMITY, MATCHBOX 20. He did a co-write with me. I came to him with a riff and a chorus and I said “let’s work on this together”, so we wrote that song together. And then yeah, we did that and I think that song is about 2 years old now but, it’s new to everybody else.

KNAC.COM: So, my next question is which idea came first, the song or the video?

LEROI: Yeah, the song was first it was completely first! And there was a lot of ways to go with the video but, since Stormy was involved and she had all of these models, she was like “well let’s just do this!” And I said “well that sounds good to me!”

KNAC.COM: What was the creative process like for the video while working with Stormy?

LEROI: Well, like I said about 2 weeks before we did the video, we did a treatment so we talked about how’s it going to go down. First we were going to have fake weapons and then I was like “well that’s bullshit, let’s have real weapons!” And Stormy was like “well yeah you can, but then that means you’ve gotta have a Gun Wrangler, you can’t just show up in the city of LA with machine guns and real weapons like that without a Gun Wrangler, somebody that is on a movie set." So, we hired one of those and we just pieced it out and it was long and we did it all in one day. And she got it together. She had everybody organized right from 10 a.m. in the morning till we finished. I don’t even know when we were done. It was a 12 or 15 hour day and we would just film the band and then we would film each individual member of the band, we'd do a couple of takes and then with girls we did the same scenario, three girls together, one girl by herself and then we went back to Stormy’s house and shot some more stuff. A lot of that didn’t make it into it, because we had...better to have too much content than not enough. I’ve got about a terabyte’s worth of video footage, I mean we could make 20 “She Likes Guns” videos and they’d all be cool!

KNAC.COM: Why does GRANNY like guns so much?

LEROI: Why do I like it so much? Yeah, here’s why I like it so much Cynthia, in fact when you get the album and you listen to the rest of the songs you’re going to find a common theme. I like it when badass chicks get the upper hand! I like female revenge and villainesses, I don’t know why, it’s just what I like and I can relate to it and that’s what I convey in a lot of my songs and I know the women appreciate that too. But, it’s just something inside me and I like to see a woman get even.

KNAC.COM: Good deal, this woman appreciates that more than you know!

LEROI: (both laughing) Nothing wrong with that!

KNAC.COM: Another fun fact is ”She Likes Guns” features not one but three lovelies from the Adult Entertainment World; Lily Lane, Arya Fae, and Casey Calvert. Does their recruitment credit go to Granny or Stormy?

LEROI: That’s completely Stormy’s game! She’s the one that brought them on board. She’s like 'I know these girls, they’re rising stars let’s bring-’em in they’re right here in LA' and so that’s how it went down. I think it was a good choice.

KNAC.COM: So, I’ve noticed that several of the folks featured in the ”Freak Flag” and “She Likes Guns” videos are heavily pierced and tattooed. I think I may know the fascinating reason why and I believe your fans would love to hear why!

LEROI: Well all right, well go ahead what’s your…(laughing) What do ya think?

KNAC.COM: I think you’ve got a major multi-artistic talented background and that’s what I was leaning towards. I didn’t know whether or not you wanted to include it in this interview or not of who you are and what you do?

LEROI: Yeah, you can include it, I mean it ain’t going to hurt nothing, I mean I’ve been doing this for 23 years now. But because I happen to make fine body jewelry on the side when I’m not being an old woman, that wasn’t the reason those people showed up with piercings, they just did! That was just a casting call that the video director from that shoot put together in Nashville. He just put out a casting call for ya know, eccentric folks. That said to come on we’re going to do a video, dress up the way you want to dress up, be who you want to be and show up and we’re just going to film you. We’re not going to reject you or anybody, I don’t care if you show up in a business suit or you’re breathing fire!

KNAC.COM: I was under the impression that, mostly wondering whether or not some of those folks that were in your videos were some of your clients?

LEROI: Ummm, no actually they weren’t. It’s funny but, they are not…they are not, but they know a lot of the same people.

KNAC.COM: Do you want to tell your fans about what it is you have going? You said you have a body piercing business and that you’re a designer?

LEROI: Yeah, I’ve got a company it’s called LeRoi, just look it up on Instagram. In fact, if you walked into any Tattoo Shop in the world, you’ve probably seen my jewelry! GRANNY’s sitting there everyday when she’s not on tour setting gemstones, bending wires, threading jewelry making the world a beautiful place!

KNAC.COM: What type of merch offerings will guys have for the fans on this tour run?

LEROI: Well, I’ve got all sort of designs of t-shirts, hoodies, we’ve got a VIP package. GRANNY’S got a nice tour bus and if folks want to spend money on the VIP upgrade they get a whole package, they get a pass, they get…and you know I’ve even got venue specific posters. Like last night we just played The Baltimore Soundstage and we sold posters that say The Baltimore Soundstage, and you get to take that home too!

KNAC.COM: You’ve gone above and beyond as far as merch is concerned.

LEROI: Yeah, you’ve got to have legit products and not show up unprepared!

KNAC.COM: I’ve heard that you already have your debut album packaged and ready to go for release. What is the name of the album and when is the release date?

LEROI: So, the name of the record is Deal With the Devil. Like we’re gonna deal with the devil or you can interpret it anyway you want to. Well, we’re going to get through this tour and it’s this summer. It’s just sitting there ready to be uploaded on INgrooves (Music Group), Universal (Music Group) and then be pressed and released. And so, we’ve got to wait and see what we decide with the label but in the meantime if you want to hear the tracks, you come to a live show because that’s what’s on the record.

KNAC.COM: How many tracks are going to be on the record?

LEROI: We’re going to have 12. Yeah, one of those tracks is a story as you would expect from an old lady to tell you a tall tale. It is actually about the origin of GRANNY but you’ve got to buy the record to hear it.

KNAC.COM: Which is the best social media platform to reach you and the GRANNY 4 BARREL band members?

LEROI: Well, I’m kinda fond of Instagram lately so, I mean Instagram, Facebook those are the two best. I mean we’ve got it all, we’ve got a website. Well, I mean you can’t message on Spotify, but I mean every social media platform, we’re on it.

KNAC.COM: Will the response come directly from a band member or do you have a non-band member Page Administrator who handles your social media accounts?

LEROI: Well, GRANNY’s on there, but we also have some administrators too and management pokes around on there and so you might get GRANNY in person or you might get someone else but either way you’re gonna get your question answered.

KNAC.COM: Do you have any parting words for your fans?

LEROI: Well, Cynthia I just want to say back to what you said earlier, it’s freedom of expression. I want everyone to be authentic and be themselves and not be afraid to express who they was meant to be, that's my main goal here.

KNAC.COM: Thanks again for the awesome chat, its been fun!

LEROI: It’s been fun Cynthia, thanks for being a good sport and having a good laugh with GRANNY (laughing)!

Social Media:

Website: http://granny4barrel.com/
Facebook: http://bit.ly/Granny4BarrelFB
Twitter: http://bit.ly/Granny4BarrelTW
Instagram: http://bit.ly/Granny4BarrelIG
Youtube: https://m.youtube.com/user/granny4barrel

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