Gary James' Interview With Dru Lombar Of

One of the first groups I interviewed in 1978 was a Southern-based band name of Grinderswitch. Dru Lombar, the group's singer / guitarist did the talking.

Q - How would you classify Grinderswitch's music?

A - It's...I don't know. It's a lot of everything. We draw upon different styles to make the music we're playing. We're like Blues, Rock 'n' Roll, Dixieland. It's all these.

Q - How has your music changed over the years?

A - It's becoming more refined. We're learning how to control it, to shape it to how we wanted it to sound all along.

Q - What were the first songs that really made an impression on you?

A - King Creole - Elvis Presley, Honky Tonk - Bill Doggett. All of that early Rock 'n' Roll stuff really impressed me.

Q - Do you remember the first musicians you ever met?

A - Oh, yeah. They were a recording group from Jacksonville, Florida, where I'm from, called The Echoes. They had a little 45 out and I thought they were just great when I was about ten years old.

Q - How many years ago was that?

A - Phew! Seventeen years ago.

Q - Some people say that Rock 'n' Roll died a long time ago. Do you agree?

A - It's changed many times and it's beginning to get that original feeling back, but Rock 'n' Roll has gone right on through. Look at The Beatles. That's Rock 'n' Roll. Look at the San Francisco thing. That was Rock 'n' Roll.

Q - Bob Dylan said The Beatles and The Stones were not Rock 'n' Roll.

A - Oh, man, of course they are! Any time somebody comes in and does something different and new, that's Rock 'n' Roll. What do you think Elvis and all them cats...that was new. It had energy. People picked up on it. Dylan is Rock 'n' Roll whether he knows it or not. His new album is great. It's Rock 'n' Roll to the hilt.

Q - Did you ever think that you would have a recording contract?

A - Oh, yeah. I believe, just like everybody in the whole band. We've been working towards that our whole lives. We've been working in bands, working in clubs. You know, your big locally, you're big regionally and then you put out a few small records and it just keeps getting bigger.

Q - How much artistic control do you have over your album when you're in the studio?

A - Well, in the beginning we always had artistic control. We get a lot of control. We're just learning how to be better at it. If you control something and you don't know what you're doing, that's not a good thing. Over the years of travel we've learned more and more. Now we have that freedom to do things and the things we do are turning out better and better

Q - What Grinderswitch songs do you most enjoy playing?

A - We enjoy playing our Blues songs. We enjoy all of it or we wouldn't do it at all. The ones we seem to get a lot going from night to night are "A Taste Of Love", "Kiss The Blues Good-bye", "Elmore James" and "Pickin' The Blues". Songs like that. Blues-based songs.

Q - Why do you feel people enjoy the group's music so much?

A - I think it's the energy, 'cause when we play it's not like; here we are, we're gonna do this show and it's the same every night. It's like we're getting off. I think people enjoy that and I think people enjoy our tunes too that we've recorded.

Q - Does Grinderswitch have a new album out?

A - No. We're fixing to put one out this Fall.

Q - Where is your current tour taking you?

A - We're just doing the Northeast. Utica, Buffalo, Poughkeepsie, Albany and New York City. We just got back from the Midwest.

Q - What do you prefer, concerts or the studio?

A - It's different. We enjoy doing 'live' shows a lot. We're just learning the studio. The more we record, the more we've learned to like it. And that's where the control comes in. Since we like it more, we look forward more to going into the studio each time. So it's hard to say. We like both. They're different situations.

Q - What's life like for you on the road, day to day?

A - Well, it's not that bad. Everybody gets plenty of sleep. Nobody burns it out too bad. We get up, take care of business, go do the show, party a bit, go to sleep, wake up, do the same thing again.

Q - Have you played any outdoor festivals this year?

A - A few. We did a show in Stillwater, one with Muddy Waters in Virginia and another in Missouri.

Q - Would you ever consider joining a New Wave group?

A - No, but I can respect what they're doing because we're sort of that way too. We're kind of like the underdogs. We've been working at it, chipping away at it, just tryin' to put good Rock 'n' Roll out there, not the conglomerate Rock 'n' Roll, but just good Rock 'n' Roll.

Q - If you couldn't perform tomorrow, what would you do?

A - Freak out!

© Gary James. All rights reserved.

Note: Dru Lombar passed away in September 2005