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South Sound Garage reopens

Coubnterfist, Mob Law and others test the sound system

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On Friday, March 2, the Mob Law, Totalisti, Counterfist, and the Funky Monkey’s Damon Stuart will be at The South Sound Garage, unleashing their real-deal metal chops, and in Stuart’s case his mouth, to celebrate the club’s grand opening. Although The Garage opened its doors briefly in December to give the South Sound a taste of what was in store, that opening was just a precursor to bigger things.

Bigger things are now upon us.

Before I start, though, I thought I’d pay homage to garages. No doubt The South Sound Garage will be fantastic (I’ve heard it is), but let’s be honest — garages are probably the coolest part of any house.  Thinking back, some of the best and most important moments of my life have happened in a garage.

The first time I ever saw porno I was in my baby-sitter’s garage. I think her new boyfriend had decided to store volumes and volumes of the real dirty stuff in there.

The first time I ever wrote a rock ‘n’ roll song I was in a garage. Granted, it sucked, but still.

The first time I ever smoked an herbal jazz cigarette I was in a garage. I lived in Edgewood and was, gasp, 14. I was at Scott (blank)’s house, and his dad came home. I wasn’t deterred.

The first time I saw porno I was — crap, I already used that one.

The first time I ever kissed a girl I was in a garage. Her name was Ashley, and we went to Edgemont Jr. High. Incidentally, she dumped me for Glimpse’s drummer a week later. True story.

I think the point has been made.

In honor of this week’s “Grand Opening” of The South Sound Garage, I caught up with Ed Shaw, The Garage’s talent buyer and booking agent, as well as George Grissom, lead singer of Counterfist, which is set to take the stage as part of opening night’s festivities.

WEEKLY VOLCANO: How do you choose your acts? Do you guys have a specific demographic? I've noticed the calendar is kind of eclectic.

ED SHAW: We really want to keep an open, varied music format.  At this stage we want to focus on and cultivate our relationships with local and regional artists and media, and move outward from there. 

VOLCANO: Why does Tacoma need The Garage? What does the club offer?

SHAW: We were toying with "not just another meat market" for the slogan. To start with, a 37-foot handcrafted bar, 50,000 watts of sound and lighting, and a pristine interior.  It's not a sports bar. The steakhouse will be opening later in the year. 

VOLCANO: What can we expect out of the musical calendar?

SHAW: Predominantly original band lineups on Fridays, a mix of local, regional and national touring acts.  Primarily 21 plus.  Saturdays will be for the dance crowd, but no cover bands.  We WILL NOT be doing the cover thing — with the exception of maybe an occasional tribute band. 

VOLCANO: Why did you choose Totalisti, Mob Law, Counterfist, and Damon Stewart to open with?

SHAW: We want to identify with and support our local artist pool and media, and they are all kick-ass bands that have great local support.

VOLCANO: What’s up with The Garage opening briefly, then closing, and now re-opening?

SHAW: The first opening was a "soft" one to gauge the initial response of the public and identify any bugs.

VOLCANO: What can people expect from The Garage in terms of music and atmosphere? 

SHAW: Three and a half years and two million dollars worth of hard work.

VOLCANO: Who owns The Garage? Who makes it tick?

SHAW: All I will say is that we've got a great team of hardworking, honest and intelligent people that have taken their licks. 

VOLCANO: Why do you guys think this is a good idea?

SHAW: All indications at this point seem to be that the club will not be making the "Another One Bites The Dust" list in six months.

And now Grissom …

VOLCANO: What is the current lineup?

GEORGE GRISSOM: Counterfist has undergone a few lineup changes over the years, the most recent of which was a change in guitar players. Currently we have Adam Clark on percussion, myself — George Grissom — on vocals, Rodney Michael Moore on bass, and Mike Fisher (Purdy Mouth) on guitar.


VOLCANO: New guitarist, eh? What's the deal?

GRISSOM: Mike is a very unique person.  Besides being able to unhinge his jaw like a snake for what can only be described as “sexual” purposes, he’s one of the most driven people I know.  He’s been so determined towards this project that he left his previous band, Cornerstone, to join us.  And we’re a better band for it.  Tony was a close friend for a long time.  I can’t say his leaving didn’t ruffle a few feathers, but he didn’t “quit.”  He told us the truth — that his heart wasn’t in it like it once was and that he had to move on.


VOLCANO: How has the chemistry changed?

GRISSOM: Well, this adjustment period has been a little shaky.  We went from never practicing because we all knew the songs so well to needing to practice and not having the time.  Now when we get together, it’s all business.  We drive through the set list and work on the weak parts. 


VOLCANO: What's up with the album, bro? Still just one?

GRISSOM: I’ve said this before, but a new album is coming soon.  We began recording our second full-length years ago, literally.  I promise that new Counterfist is on the way, and you won’t be disappointed.  Most of the stuff we play live is new anyway.  Maybe we should just put out a live record and call it good. 


VOLCANO: What's in the future?

GRISSOM: We’re not stopping until we reach the middle, man!  The top is overrated; plus if you keep your expectations low, you’re never disappointed.  I think Nietzsche said that, or one of the Golden Girls.  It’s a toss-up.

Go to for more info.


With: Mob Law, Totalisti, host Damon Stewart & The Monkey Militia

When: Friday, March 2, 9:30 p.m., 21+

Where: South Sound Garage, 933 Market St., Tacoma,

Admission: No cover

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