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Retired grandmother fronts metal, punk band making stop in Colorado Springs

February 13, 2018 Updated: February 13, 2018 at 9:11 am
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A 69-year-old great-grandmother fronts the grindcore band Grindmother. She performs in the trio with her son. They'll stop at The Black Sheep on Wednesday. Courtesy.

That first scream felt pretty good. The Grindmother knew there was more where that came from.

When the 67-year-old retired social worker guest-screamed on a track for her son's grindcore band, she had no idea what she was doing. That sweet ineptitude at the mic was captured on video and briskly catapulted her to YouTube fame.

"When he asked me about screaming into the mic, I said that sounded interesting," said the now 69-year-old Canadian from her Windsor, Ontario, home. She prefers to go by her stage name. "I thought, 'I could do that.' I went up and had so much fun, and here we are. I couldn't get enough screaming."

The eponymous grindcore band consists of the Grindmother, her guitar-playing son and a drummer. Their first single, "Any Cost," released in 2015, earned a tweet from the "Godfather of Heavy Metal" himself - Ozzy Osbourne: "What the (expletive)?" Their EP "Age of Destruction" followed in 2016.

The band will perform Wednesday at The Black Sheep.

Happily retired, the Grindmother filled her days with organic gardening, walking, meditation and yoga. She was blissfully ignorant of her son's musical interest. She had all his CDs but didn't listen to them or attend his shows.

"He used to play in my garage. I let him explore whatever he needed to," she said. "I found them kind of loud. It wasn't until I started screaming into the mic that I learned to appreciate the music - it's so fast and furious."

The grindcore genre features elements of extreme metal, hardcore punk and industrial sounds.

"It's a wonderful style of music in terms of fast and exciting, furious," said the Grindmother. "You can do a lot with it. I find it fantastic."

Finding the motivation for that first scream wasn't difficult.

"I thought of the condition of the world today and things needing improvement and it came out," she said. "There's a lot in the world to scream about. Some of our music is about those things and what we can do within ourselves."

Finding her voice on stage has led to finding her voice on the page as well. She now writes poetry and helps write songs for the band that tend to tackle the bigger issues: the environment, human suffering and overpopulation. "Any Cost" was about former Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

"Another title is 'Beliefs Become Reality,' about what we think is true becomes what we're living," the Grindmother said, "and not looking deeper within ourselves and asking is this what we want to be."

It's quite a different life from the one she imagined for herself in her senior years, but she's taking it all in stride.

"I'm a person who, when something comes along and it seems like an opportunity and direction to go in, I go with it," she said.

"That's what happened with this. If the first video hadn't gone viral, that would be good and enough. But they seem to like it and want more, so OK, we'll give them more."

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