YOUNG TYRANTS Interview with Lou Grillo by Greg Prevost
Reproduced with permission from OUTASITE issue #4
The YOUNG TYRANTS ruled the Rochester area between the years 1965 and
1968. In this segment of time, they also released their one and only 45 - a kickass 2-sider, "She Don't Got The Right/"I Try" on the In Records label. The following is an interview I did with the Tyrants lead singer Lou Grillo in the Fall of 1978.
OUTASITE: When and how did the Young Tyrants get together?
LOU: Actually, I was a late addition to the band. The band started before I joined. It started in 1965, with four of the five members, and another person who was dropped to make room for me. I joined the band maybe six months after they began, in which time they had done one show. I had been in three bands before.
OUTASITE: Did any of these groups do any recordings?
LOU: No. The Tyrants record was my first and only. That was around the end of 1967.
OUTASITE: After you joined the band, did the personnel change at all?
LOU: No, the personnel was exactly the same for the remaining time the group existed.
OUTASITE: Was there a quote 'leader' of the band?
LOU: As such, Carl was the leader. It was Carl's band, since he was the lead guitarist, and his mother drove us to all our jobs and everything, he was the leader.
OUTASITE: How did you decide which material was to be done?
LOU: Everyone chose the material. For example, if one of the guys heard a song on the radio and liked it, we'd try it.
OUTASITE: As a lead singer, who influenced you the most?
LOU: The Beatles.
OUTASITE: How about collectively?
LOU: The Beatles also. Although we didn't do a whole lot of Beatles' material, everything we did was Beatle oriented. We wore Beatle boots, Beatle hair cuts and everything else relative to The Beatles. As a group, maybe a bigger influence might have been The Young Rascals. We did seven or eight of their songs. One of my favorite songs that we did, and the band's favorite song was "Slow Down". OK, that was a Beatles' song before it was a Rascals' song, but we did it exactly the way The Rascals did it! We also had the word "young" in our name for the simple reason that the Rascals had "young" in their name. Young Rascals...Young Tyrants.
OUTASITE: On the record, what did you have in mind? Were you trying to sound
like anyone in particular?
LOU: No, we were just trying to be creative.
OUTASITE: I noticed on the 45 label, the song you wrote, "I Try", there were no credits...
LOU: That was an oversight, nothing more.
OUTASITE: Did you ever do any concerts with National groups like Paul Revere
& The Raiders, Seeds...
LOU: No, we never got that far. I guess the closest we ever came to playing with a National group was that we played at The New Patriot Club in Hornell one week before The Lemon Pipers did!
OUTASITE: Did you ever do any shows with local kingpins, The Invictas?
LOU: We played out at Sodus Point opposite The Invictas one night. We played in between their sets.
OUTASITE: Getting back to the record-how many copies did you press up?
LOU: 500 copies...we sold most of them at our shows at the time.
OUTASITE: You did the record with Vince Jans (Fine Records owner/producer), right?
OUTASITE: You told me years ago about how Vince signed you to the label-he heard you over the phone!?
LOU: This is the story! It was a really nice day and we decided to practice outside. At the time we were using this lady's house across the street from East High School. It was Saturday, and instead of practicing in the cellar, we moved all our equipment into the garage.There was a football game going on at East High across the street, and we were practicing when the game let out. All of a sudden, we have a huge crowd in front of us! They were dancing and having a great time. The lady that owned the house saw all this, she knew Vince, called him on the phone, hung the phone out the window, and we got our recording contract!
OUTASITE: Did you receive much airplay?
LOU: One radio station in Rochester played it - WSAY (natch!).
OUTASITE: You recorded this at Fine Studios...what can you tell me about the other eight or nine songs you recorded at the same time?
LOU: It was just a recording session. Vince was going to take two songs. It was our decision to pick the songs we wrote.
OUTASITE: Did you ever have plans to make an album or any other 45's?
LOU: We wanted to...the 45, as I mentioned earlier, came out in late '67, and the band broke up five months after that, around June of 1968.
OUTASITE: What was the cause of the band's demise?
LOU: Carl and I were graduating from high school, 1968, that was the big thing. Carl was going on to college. He was gone, also, the personality conflict between the four of us and Carl, because he was very unbearable at times. He was a very good musician, one of the best I've seen, but he was very eccentric as well.
OUTASITE: Going back a step or two, were you satisfied with the way the 45
LOU: I would say it was a pretty good example of the way we sounded.
THE YOUNG TYRANTS WERE:
Carl Lundquist: Lead Guitar; Vocals
Lou Grillo: Lead Vocal
Mike Montoya: Drums
Julio Lora: Rhythm Guitar
Mike Zazzaro: Bass
UNRELEASED DEMOS: Slow Down; I Can Only Give You Everything; Tyrant Theme; Gloria; Pipe Dream; Louie Louie; The Last Time; Mercy Mercy; Feel A Whole Lot Better; Light My Fire....September 1967