April 2002   

Son of Grumpmeier

by PAUL D. LEHRMAN

Once in a great while, I get the chance to talk to and write about a rising young musical star like the one in this month's interview. He has stunned and thrilled the music industry with his revolutionary approach to making hit records. His five triple-Platinum CDs have dominated the HippityHop and Alternative Geek Dance charts on Bullbored magazine for the past year, and his award-winning videos have been in heavy rotation on all of the major cable music channels including Groove24/7, Moshvision and GaKk-TV. He has been profiled on public television's extremely serious Great Pretensions. And he's been nominated for 14 Grammy®©" Awards, most recently Best Classical Producer, for his brilliant, "original" composition Beethoven Bytes.

I have known this young man since he was merely a glint in his father's eye (which was immediately followed by a look of disgust in his mother's). His father is none other than my old friend, and sometime nemesis, P.T. Grumpmeier, audio engineer, producer, raconteur and world-class cheapskate, a gentleman whose rantings are well-known to loyal readers of this column. Both of you.

P.T. Grumpmeier Jr., whom his father affectionately refers to as "Hey you," is only 19, yet erudite beyond his years. He started out in the business very young, when his crib was used by his father as a bass-drum weight in his father's studio, when his (the son's) mother wasn't watching. This early exposure to extreme SPLs of low-frequency sound no doubt helped mold his (the son's) later passion for extremely loud, beat-oriented music, with not much going on above 3k.

The young man's big break as a solo artiste came at his best friend's Bar Mitzvah, when the hired DJ fell (or perhaps was pushed) into the champagne fountain. Young Grumpmeier immediately took over the turntables, and brought the entire crowd to its feet with a breathtaking journey through time, space and the animal kingdom, starting with the "Bunny Hop" and "The Alley Cat," then "Muskrat Love" and "Rocky Raccoon," followed by "A Horse With No Name," "Piggies" and finally roaring into "Who Let the Dogs Out," all the while rapping spontaneously about the 12- and 13-year-old "ho's" and "bitches" on the dance floor. The father of one of those girls, a VP of A&R for mega-label Dreque Records (a subsidiary of Getouttamaway Communications, owner of more than 5,000 radio stations and several small former Soviet Republics), signed him on the spot to an eight-figure multi-album contract.

With the label's backing, the young man saw his albums, released on vinyl and 8-track tape only ("I consider the sound of the tape mechanism going "clunk" every few minutes to be an integral part of my art," he told Rolling Boulder at the time), rocket to the top of the charts within minutes of their release, and sometimes before. But the artist was unhappy about the label's treatment of him ("They tried to pay me in XFL stock," he later told Money or Your Life magazine), and so he hired famed litigator, and family friend, Johnnie Cochrane to get him out of his contract.

Free of his obligations to the corporate empire, the teenaged superstar formed his own totally independent record label, ReGurge Records, which is distributed by AOL Time Warner Reprise Atlantic Nonesuch CNN Headline News. He dropped the DJ moniker ("That's so, like, last year," he told Behind the Music last year) and " following the example of celebrated artists like Bush, Bjork, Beck, Jewel, Joe, Moby, moe., Charo, Cher, Sleepy, Dopey, Doc, Pink and Floyd " adopted the single-word nom d'artiste "Grump."

The rest of this column, along with 56 more, is now available in The Insider Audio Bathroom Reader, published by Thomson Course Technology PTR.

Copyright ©2006 by Paul D. Lehrman