Grady Spencer & The Work are kicking off 2024 with their Surf N’ Slopes tour. The Fort Worth Texas natives are hitting the road to play 9 shows across the southwest region. Pulling from inspirations like Jason Isbell and Theo Katzman, paired with their Texas roots, the band plays a unique mix of old and new school. Fans have a lot to look forward to on this tour with the opportunity to enjoy upbeat alternative fusion that they can two step and rock out to. The shows will feature Grady Spencer, along with drummer Jesse Fox, bassist Johnny Hatcher, and lead guitarist Tyler Martin. The Surf N’ Slopes tour starts in Lubbock, Texas on February 15th, shortly before their Phoenix stop at Last Exit Live on the 18th where Music Scene Media will be covering the show.
Frontman Grady Spencer was kind enough to sit down with us to discuss a little bit of the band's history, their plans for 2024, and, more importantly, the journey they are preparing to embark on. For information on where you can see the band play live, head to their website, or Instagram. In the meantime, we are thrilled to share the following interview:
You released your first album “Sleep” in 2013 and now, 10 years later, are still touring and releasing music. What's the secret holding this band together for a decade?
A: From start to now, there have been some changes in members of the band but the project “Grady Spencer and The Work” is still going. The project itself, I think, is my calling and something I feel like I am good and decent at, and it's been something that's been stressful and rewarding, and I'm so grateful and realize how lucky I am to be a part of it.
Q: Being a part of a band for so long - Can you tell us something people wouldn't expect or assume about the life of a musician/bandmate?
A: For musicians and folks, especially bands at our level, I think it's just the amount of driving and sitting in a van, it's not a glamorous party all the time. 99% of the time you're killing time in the van trying to avoid wrecks. Another big part is carrying heavy stuff and sweating. For the most part, it's a blast and for the guys in this band - it's our dream to do this thing. We’re really lucky to do this and the guys that travel with us all have the same sense of humor, and enjoy spending time together.
Q: You’re kicking off your tour in your home state Texas, where the band got started, and The Surf N’ Slopes Tour is a southwest tour. How do you pick the spots you want to play and where are you most excited for?
A: Touring and having success at touring is becoming more challenging especially for lower and mid tier bands, where we are and have been. We wanted to be strategic about where we played, so we looked at spotify data, followers, and all the info available to see where a safe bet is and where we should try to go. San Diego is a surprising one where people out there enjoy our music, Denver is a big one and the others are the cherry on top - where the shows are a little less packed but the people that are there are excited because they don't get to see bands they love in those spaces. We are really trying to be strategic and funnel the energy with likely the only time going out west in 2023.
Q: You’ve announced the plan for the band in 2024 is to tour and record an album. How do you plan out a year like this and who and what all goes into that?
A: Me and the guys in the band are trying to approach this year newly, where in the past it was, “let's get out and tour as many places as we can”. Maybe it's a small crowd this time, maybe if we come back it will be larger. We’re learning it takes longer to build crowds, so we’re thinking less travel and more output this year and hopefully get more listeners and followers and go viral with content and build a following so when we can tour we’re not entirely financially at risk when we travel. We’re going off the MO of staying home, releasing more music, videos and building more awareness and making the touring side more easier. Historically, we would record an album every few years and tour on that and then play for 10 people a night and that financially is challenging. This tour in February, we’re playing 9 shows, traveling 11 days and hotels, food and all of that adds up and it becomes a math equation whether you want it to or not. We’re trying to be more thought out and responsible and do everything we can in our control to make these great shows.
Q: What's the inspiration for a tour, what's the point where a band knows they’re ready to travel?
A: I think for every band it's different, but when we’re younger and have no families or mortgages you can get out there quicker. If you can, get out and play as many shows you can and go as many places you can. We hear people that started listening to our music because they saw us open for a small band years ago, and have been fans ever since. So Google venues, promoters, get out there and play. It's a difficult thing to do to travel financially, but it's easier than ever with social media to reach out to someone with a DM. It used to be much more hidden, and harder to get on anyone's radar. We got our start with local bands as an opening band, and then eventually a venue or a bar would give us a headlining spot and then from there you’re just building a crowd. This time around, we wanted to get out there and play music because we loved it and the world is a gnarly place; the inspiration is to make shows as joyful as we can for everyone.
Q: This time around what can we expect from a Grady Spencer & The Work show, how would you explain it to a new fan?
A: Our shows are based around, and a lot of the songs I write are positive celebrations of life and are love songs about my wife and kids. The show is high energy, we listen to bands like Vulfpeck and kind of funky really tight groove based bands but I grew up in west Texas so there is a country undertone to it so we mix funk groovy music with a little bit of country and have a lot of fun doing it.
Q: You recently played in Arizona in early November at a festival and are back playing at Last Exit Live in Phoenix mid February. Was there something specific about Phoenix besides the reasons mentioned earlier?
A: We had never been to the Phoenix area before last year and sold a big crowd on a Wednesday night and the people there were really into it, and it seems like a really creative crowd and we love the people. Geographically, it helps coming from west Texas, we love it in Phoenix, its beautiful, we’re really excited to go back and see it again and yeah it definitely feels like west Texas (Home) but much more beautiful.
Q: Before we go, Is there anything you would like to leave us with?
A: Yeah I just want to encourage people to keep supporting live music, and find your local artists. You never know who is gonna be the next Taylor Swift or Coldplay, so definitely take the time and I know everyone is so busy and scattered and it's hard to make the effort to listen to someone you don't know, so whether its us - this random band from Texas - or your local coffee shop performer, take the time to engage and listen. Even more than paying bills and being financially dependent on this, hearing people that connect with the music is what it's about.