If you fell from grace, would you land on your feet? Most would envision this being a pretty high place to fall from and hope they survive to tell the tale. The connotation takes on different meaning for different people, but for the band Fall From Grace, it’s a way of life for lead vocalist, Tryg Littlefield, lead guitarist and backing vocalist, Brian Olson, guitarist, Ty McDonald, drummer, Jesse Smith and bassist, Justin McDonald.
Fall From Grace formed in 2004 sporting a sort of punk sort of alternative sort of metal sound. Lead guitarist, Brian Olson elaborates on the band’s beginnings and the humble view of what he believes falling from grace means to him as well as other members of the band. “Tryg and I are the original members,” Olson says, “we met on tour when we were with separate bands and became friends at that time. The band I was in at the time asked him to play guitar and sing backup for us. That band broke up so that left me and Tryg. We started writing music together. We wrote well together and decided to start a band.”
“At some point everyone gets knocked off their pedestal—you know each person is gonna fall from grace at one point or another…you know it’s just about how you can pick yourself up realistically…a lot of crappy things happen in life, so you got to stay positive and keep your head in the game. The name comes from different parts of us. Tryg loves the movie, Interview With A Vampire and he actually heard that phrase first from the movie, but the name has been one of our things because we always talk about struggles in life in our music, you know, trying to rise above all that—my struggle was that I had a bad car accident…a drunk driver hit me. I was flatlined for 15 minutes with a ruptured aorta; I woke up like three weeks later. I couldn’t walk I couldn’t talk I didn’t know if I’d be able to see again but look at me know, I can walk, talk and see so go figure… and that was my fall from grace. We write a lot about our personal experiences in our music.”
Haling from Washington State, Olson and the rest of the Fall From Grace crew, grew up with some of the most influential rock bands boiling out of the hotbed of what was coined, the “Seattle Grunge” scene. Starting out as a mix of punk rock, alternative rock and heavy metal, the grunge sound included such iconic bands as Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Alice In Chains, Mudhoney, Mother Love Bone, Temple of the Dog, Queensryche and the list just goes on and on. Olson will be the first to tell you that these bands had a direct influence on him. “Oh absolutely…I saw Nirvana play when I was like twelve years old and I saw them play in front of twenty people at a hotel…and on that same bill was Mudhoney and another band called Seaweed and that was in Tacoma, which is about a half hour out of Seattle; practically the same thing…but yeah, I grew up in that whole Seattle scene; the whole grunge scene was going on and a lot of that grunge scene like the Pearl Jams and Nirvana-type bands…it was more of a punk scene rather than a grunge scene…you know the quote unquote grunge scene. Yeah it was a rock scene so I grew up more in the punk scene than grunge…I guess grunge is the commercial name ‘they’ gave it…yeah total punk scene but it rains a lot up here so everyone wears and wore flannels!” laughs Olsen “If that makes any sense!”
“It was actually snowing here a half hour South of Seattle today! It’s weird like in Nebraska it’s 90 degrees and it was just snowin’ thirty minutes south of here; ya know it’s crazy,” laughs Olson, “it’s just been a long winter and spring in Seattle this year. It hasn’t stopped, I mean spring is still winter here!”
Fall From Grace has released four albums, including the latest release, The Romance Years, which came out in January 2012. The Romance Years reflects the last five years the band has experienced as a whole and as individuals. “Tryg and I were talking about this,” says Olson, “we don’t write the album name before we right the songs…we write the songs first so we were thinking about all the songs that we wrote and some were about personal struggles or about touring or what ever was happening at the time….kind of like the past four or five years. A lot of it had to due with self reflection as far as you know the glory days kind of thing, so that’s where we came up with the title, The Romance Years.”
“Tryg and I…we’re the original members of the band. Tryg and I actually wrote this record; The Romance Years, before we brought the other guys in…and we did this with our long time producer, Mike Caviezel. We actually wrote, played and performed all songs…between the three of us. Yeah we are getting airplay right now across the nation and we just shot the video for the song, 18 and Out. That will go to Youtube, M-TV Europe, I believe M-TV-Japan, Fuse-TV, www.muchmusic.com in Canada and Europe as well…and all the music networks that still play videos so…there’s not many of them that do anymore. It’s kind of ridiculous! I don’t get it but whatever! Everybody’s got a make a buck and reality TV is pretty cheap to do so….I mean that’s why everyone does it. The whole music video/music you know your M-TVs…it’s kind of a good thing and bad thing…it’s a whole new world.”
Olson and the rest of guys from Fall From Grace, love getting out to tour and meet the fans. Olson already has some road stories that rate pretty high on his weird shit-o-meter but he chalks it up to “Rock N’ Roll.” “We were on tour and sharing a double-decker bus in Europe,” laughs Olson, “the other band we shared the bus with were already on the bus and all of a sudden we see three guys sittin’ down and one girl buck naked, right…. And I’m like, ‘Ok?’ and I look down and she has a champagne bottle doin’ a little ya know, ‘how ya doing’ if ya know what I mean…so that was weird …I mean I just walked on by, went upstairs and went to bed…but I didn’t forget it! Tryg kinda wanted to stay but I was like, ‘Dude you don’t wanna be a part of that.’
“Another time we were playing a show in Cleveland and gave a shout-out to a bunch of vets that just got back from Iraq, so after the show a couple of the guys were buying me shots and then all of a sudden one of the guys picks me up and breaks three of my ribs!” Laughs Olson. “He was huge like 6’9” and weighed about 350…and that’s 350 of muscle! He was just horsing around with me but that wasn’t good cause I had to deal with my ribs for like three weeks on tour…man that hurt…he didn’t mean to, he’s probably just one of those big ox guys who has no clue how strong he is…drunk and I mean this guy was like Lou Ferrigno size only a foot taller!”
I really had a good time at the Download Festival…We played with Slipknot, ZZ Top was there and friggin’ Buckcherry, PapaRoach…I mean you get those kind of bands together and it’s just epic because everyone’s just great and even if you’re not a fan of them you respect them, know what I mean? So yeah, the Download Festival was amazing. It was one of the pinnacles of my music career that’s for sure. It’s the second biggest UK rock festival in the world. I think there was like 70,000 people at that show…you’d think that playing in front of all those people would be hard but it’s easier playing in front of 70,000 people because I just saw a sea of people…you know it’s different than when you make eye contact with someone at a club…playin’ in front of that many people was just epic….it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.”
Fall From Grace begins touring in May. They’ll be on the road with EVE 6 for a couple of months into the summer. “Yes, I actually just found out we’re going on tour with EVE 6, starting in May I believe and we’ll be meeting up with them at the Gramercy Theatre in New York,” states Olson, “This is more of an East coast tour. I think we’re doing like thirty five dates with them…I think we might be doing some West coast tours but we’re still waiting on the routing with those. A lot of the dates are already on our website, www.fallfromgrace.us so anyone can just look up where we’ll be in the next couple of months.”
Fall From Grace have had their fair of triumphs and tragedies but through it all, they remain the band of the people–their fans, and truly love getting to know everyone who comes out to support them. “Well one thing we just love to do while we’re on tour is just hang out…hang out with people and get to meet the fans and just hang out as friends. I mean we’ve always done that on every tour, we’re always happy to say hi so don’t be strangers come up and introduce yourselves…we’re a band of the people so I want to hang with people…so seriously come out to the shows and I’ll buy you a beer and you buy me a shot.” Indeed…bartender, line ‘em up.