Taking the grindcore world by storm is Phoenix’s female-fronted Landmine Marathon. Heavily influenced by genre pioneers Napalm Death, they’ve toured with the likes of Warbringer, Nasum, and Prothestic Record labelmates Skeletonwitch. Personally selected by James Hetfield to play the inaugural Orion Music + More, the band is certainly headed in the right direction. Frontwoman Grace Perry brings a new level of class to women in the metal community, standing her ground and for what she believes in. MI Contributor Alex Rudisill spoke with her at the festival on the origins of the band, being labeled one of Revolver’s “Hottest Chicks in Metal,” and the overall perception of female bandmates.
How did Landmine Marathon come together?
I’ve been in bands since I was 16 and everyone in my band has been in bands the same amount of time. Band culture, you know? You’re born and raised in it. When I was about 19, my bassist, Matt Martinez approached me. I was playing with another band at the time and he heard my vocals. At the time, it was more of an experimental, screamo, performance piece band, it wasn’t really metal. He asked if I had ever considered starting a grindcore/death metal band. I knew that music, but I didn’t know it that well. We started it and I fell in love and I’ve been immersed ever since. I’ve gotten to meet and play with some of the most amazing bands I could ever imagine.
What grindcore/death metal band inspired you to take on that style?
The first time I listened to Slaughter of the Soul by At the Gates. That to me is the best metal album ever written of all time, as far as that kind of genre goes. Obviously metal is a very general term, but for me that’s the album that did it. I got to see them in Pomona a few years back and I literally cried.
Can you sing for real?
I can sing here and there. Its kind of weird because I don’t think I’d be able to do what I do if I wasn’t able to at least have the lung capacity for it and I definitely have the lung capacity for it.
Do you think there’s more pressure on females in metal? Did you feel pressured when you first started?
In the beginning, I would say yes. In the beginning, I actually felt a lot of pressure because honestly the first tour we did, I didn’t see a single chick. I’ve been in this band for seven years and it has evolved so much. I feel like metal has grown up and has their head on straight now. It’s not so biased, not so segregated, now you see chicks all the time and that’s awesome.
What advice would you give to a girl who wants to pursue being a metal front-woman?
I would say don’t be afraid. I’ve broken my nose. I’ve gotten black eyes. I have broken bones. I’ve had a concussion on this tour. Don’t be afraid to go in there and feel what you feel and express yourself. This is the only genre where you can literally do whatever the hell you want and that is so much power. It’s so much power on stage and to take advantage of that and to really embrace it is something that I think every person who wants to be in a band should do.
This is only one stop on your North American tour. How was playing some shows with Nasum?
It was unreal! I have met Keijo (Niinimaa) in the past from Rotten Sound. He’s a great guy and he’s an amazing performer. They are some of the sweetest guys I’ve met in a long time. It was an honor to play with them. I think my band will remember it always. I talked for a while with Keijo about it and he was so nervous, but he was so great.
What was the scene like in Phoenix when Landmine first started compared to how it is now?
Phoenix is a very unique city in the fact that we do not have a central downtown. The public transportation is shit. Its hard to have a venue that every metal band goes to or that every band wants to play at. Phoenix has evolved through the years. It has its ups and downs. Right now, I think there’s a bit of a great resurgence. I see more and more people going to shows that I never thought would. A lot of people would call them posers, but screw that, its awesome! They like metal now!
Who have you met where you’ve been the most starstruck?
I feel like I repeat myself all the time and say it in every interview, but Barney Greenway (Napalm Death). I wish I could be as good as he is on stage. He not only is an amazing performer, but has morals and beliefs that I align with and respect so much. A few years back, I did a documentary called Maryland Deathfest: the Movie. I was an extra for that, as far as I just did some interviews. I got teary-eyed when I was interviewing him. My whole band is vegetarian or vegan. Its not that we say it in our lyrics or pursue that in a way. It was nice because he’s an advocate of that. He doesn’t try to be something he’s not. He doesn’t need to dress in a way or act in a way that’s any different than who he is.
How did you end up lending your vocals to Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance?
The director of that movie is a fan of our band! He happened to be hired to direct Ghost Rider 2. Ghost Rider does this thing called a “penance stare” where he sucks all the souls out. He asked if I wanted to be the voice of that and I said of course! I got to go into Sony Studios and do what I do all the time. It was pretty amazing. They just contacted me. I’m gonna be in the bonus features! Something I never thought I’d do.
Are you a Nicholas Cage fan?
I’m a Raising Arizona fan!
What’s it mean to be labeled as one of Revolver’s “Hottest Chicks in Metal?” Do you think some fans might argue that it’s degrading?
I think that its all about how you present yourself as a female. Some women choose to dress in a way that is using their body, whether it be to sell their music or sell their image. Maybe that’s just who they are and that’s who they wanna be. I’m not gonna judge some girl for getting on stage in a bikini cause, hey, I wish I had that kind of body. That’s just who I am and I’ve never presented myself in a way that was degrading to myself. When I chose to be a part of this, I made it very clear that I wasn’t gonna dress like that or say stupid shit. I’m gonna promote my band and reach out to a larger audience and especially reach out to women that you don’t need to dress any way or act any way. You can still do this and get to where I am and be yourself. That was the one thing I chose to do. I’m gonna be myself no matter what. It has the tagline “hottest chicks in metal,” but I’m not ashamed to be a woman.
What is your dream tour?
Direct support for Bolt Thrower, which’ll never happen! I know for me and the rest of my band that would be out highest achievement because we draw so much of our musical influences from that era of metal. That would be great, and, I mean, I love Slayer! That would be epic. At that point I would be like, “I did it!”
If I looked on your iPod right now, what would be the last song you listened to?
It’s a band called True Widow. It’s very Chelsea Wolfe. Its very droney. I wouldn’t wanna call it folk because it has this eerie, epic sound to it. I was just trying to relax and really get into the zone. Whether it be take a nap or fall asleep, I love sludge. I love drawn out music like that. I was SO excited to see Baroness. I went up to singer I was like, “great set” and immediately walked away.
How does it feel to have been personally invited here by Metallica?
It’s unreal. I’ll be honest, we’re a small band. We don’t do this kind of stuff, we’re not used to this. We’re humbled by it. We of course said yes, we’re not gonna say no. We’re just here for the ride. I’m not gonna use this to gain anything or to take advantage of it. I’m gonna do it just cause what else would I rather be doing? This is great, I’m so happy to be here and I’m lucky.
Who else do you want to see this weekend?
I really wanna see the Black Angels, but of course they’re playing the same time slot as us. I saw Black Tusk a little bit this morning and that was awesome. I actually didn’t know Roky Erickson was gonna play until I got here and my step-dad told me I needed to go see them. He’s a legend, of course I have to see him!
Favorite Metallica album?
Master of Puppets by far. Rust in Peace by Megadeth and Master of Puppets by Metallica were the first metal albums I ever listened to when I was in elementary school. My mom took them away from me. I remember it vividly.