Mr. G

Chris Grenda And Company Re-Attack The Jersey Shore

The Brick, New Jersey-based band, Mr. G, is preparing to re-attack the Jersey Shore scene. After a stint of studying music in South Carolina, front man Chris Grenda has reunited with his band mates Ryan Martin (bass) and Chuck D. (drums).

Mr. G's next step is to finish its follow-up album to his last release, "Salvation," a mix of mood-swinging guitar, musicianship and heavy hard rock. The album will be an improvement since it is being engineered and mixed at Shorefire Studios in Long Branch and the band now has furthered its chemistry, Grenda said.

"We have gotten to know each other better," he said.

"I think our chemistry together has made the album better," Grenda said. "I think the best part is: (Martin) does whatever the fuck he wants," he said.

Letting Martin improvise pays off for the band, Grenda said.

"Most likely, when you see us live, Ryan's not going to play the same thing that he played last time," Grenda said. "Ryan's got free reign to do whatever the fuck he wants and it just works out every time."

"I always have a loose structure," Martin said. "But when we play I will base it on those concepts. When we play, there are certain elements you will hear all the time."

"It takes talent and skill to improvise like that all of the time," Grenda said.

"It gives natural feel to the songs, if you ask me," he said.

Grenda said Martin makes him a better guitar player. "If I have just a straight-ahead bass player, I am just another guitar player," Grenda said.

Martin is a moody player, Grenda said. Something like sound trouble can make him play more aggressively, he said.

When playing live, if a musician makes a mistake, they shouldn't stop playing, Martin said. "The crowd is going to pick up on it, but if you brush it off no one is going to notice," he said.

Grenda and Martin first met when they were 12. The two grew up five miles from each other and went to high school together.

Martin wound up inviting Grenda over and showing him how to play "18 & Life" by Skid Row. The two wound up listening to bands like Dokken and Queensryche together.

"(Martin) was quiet and I was a big, loud troublemaker," Grenda said.

At age 15, the two formed Arrowhead with Mark Katz, who played on the first Mr. G CD. Grenda and Martin played guitar and Katz played drums.

"I think (at that time) I was playing through a stereo," Martin said.

"That band lasted six months, tops," Grenda said.

Now, both hope to bring something new to mainstream music, which hasn't exactly blown them away.

"I don't listen to the radio," Martin said.

"A lot of bands out there, I think they're just looking for a piece of the sound of today," Grenda said. "In my defense, I would like to say I don't sound like any of those bands."

Grenda hopes he can reach a point where he is playing music everyday. that will allow him to grow as a musician, he said.

If the Asbury music scene grows, Grenda said he wants to be a part of it.

However, Asbury may not be the place for the scene, he said. The Saw Mill in Seaside Park is a good building point for New Jersey original music to take off, Grenda said. Places like Sea Bright, Point Pleasant, Seaside Heights and Avon may be better towns for the scene to exist, he said.

"Right now, New Jersey doesn't have a music scene," he said. "Everybody that comes to see a band in Asbury comes from a place other than Asbury," Martin said.

"The only thing keeping the Asbury scene alive are the bands themselves," he said.

Grenda held a show in Brick, called G-Fest, to try to bring local music fans together in August of 2001. That show featured bands like Red Engine Nine, Slowdrown and Majestic 12, but ended early due to rain. He still drew 200 people.

Last August, he held the same type of event with a different name. Local-Jams 2003 was held at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park and included acts like Virginia and Friends of Bill Wilson.

New ideas like these can only be a positive support to the music scene.

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Josh Davidson

Josh Davidson has written music feature articles for Jersey Style and served as the Jersey Shore rock columnist for Steppin' Out Magazine. Other music writing credits include Aquarian Weekly, Jersey Beat, Backstreets and He has written free-lance for the Asbury Park Press' Community Sports section and has written featured articles for its news section, as well as covering campus news and sports weekly for the Signal, the College of New Jersey's (formerly Trenton State College) student newspaper. He has worked as a staff writer for The Independent, and his work for Greater Media Newspapers has also been published in the News Transcript. He is a former beat reporter for the Ocean County Observer who presently is a news writer for Symbolic Systems Inc. supporting the US Army's Knowledge Center. His music writing covers a vast range of topics, from the current cover band craze, highs and lows of the original scene, to the early days of the Jersey Shore rock scene in Asbury Park. He is also a musician, having written hundreds of songs as a singer/songwriter, and playing them out as a solo/acoustic artist. He has also played with cover bands, including It Doesn't Matter, and several original bands, including as the guitarist for the solo project of singer/songwriter Dave Eric. He continues to work on solo material and is presently the guitar player for Jersey Breeze.