Interviews: Gravelle-Perinbam

On this new occasion, we have had the opportunity to interview the Classic Rock/Progressive Rock/Melodic Metal band Gravelle-Perinbam from Canada. Check out this band and follow them on their FACEBOOK PAGE.

1. Where did you get the idea for the band name, you plan it or come out just like that?

Rob: There's not much to the band name; it's just our last names appended together. The real story is the hyphen. We started off using the forward-slash (/) but that created a lot of problems with URLs and such, so we eventually switched to the hyphen. It's sort of similar to Walmart and their asterisk (*), which used to be in between the "Wal" and the "Mart". That likely caused similar issues for them, I would gather. Ironically, they started with the hyphen character and replaced that with the asterisk at some point. Undoubtedly, they realized what a blunder that was! Now that we have our featured prominently in t-shirts I've come to realize that using last names has its drawbacks. I've noticed people looking quizzically at the logo. Gravelle-Perinbam doesn't spark the same brand recognition as shorter band names like Rush or AC/DC. Having said that, I don't think that it would make much sense to come up with a band name for just the two of us. So looks like Gravelle-Perinbam is here to stay, despite the challenges that come with marketing that name.

JDP: Really, the project started out as Rob’s solo project with me as guest vocalist on various cover songs. Gradually I started contributing more instrumentally as well as input into arrangements and production. Thus, the project became Gravelle-Perinbam - admittedly without a whole lot of thought or discussion. Also, at the beginning of the project, we were both also playing in Ivory Knight, but the band got sidelined during the COVID-19 pandemic and due to scheduling issues has never been able to resume, so Rob and I decided to release our original music as well as covers under the Gravelle-Perinbam moniker. And here we are!

2. Why did you want to play this genre?

Rob: Gravelle-Perinbam is not limited to any particular genre, but John and I tend to gravitate towards old-school melodic Metal and Hard Rock. We both also really enjoy prog bands like Kansas, Gentle Giant, Yes, Saga, and Rush, so there's going to be some degree of progressive influence in there. You can hear that in the middle section of Black Veil of Silence. It's a very traditional Metal song until it suddenly veers into a 6/8 interlude. In Beyond the Cage of Silence, the progressive influence is more present in the song's nine and a half minutes running length. It goes through a number of different sections and follows a fairly complex arrangement that is more typical of 70s prog rock than modern rock and metal.

JDP: I’ve never really made any conscious decision to play any particular genre. To be honest, I’m not a fan of labels - I just like to make music that sounds pleasing to my ears. That’s one of the things I like most about working with Gravelle-Perinbam - there are really no stylistic limitations. As I’ve said in the past “we play music”!

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed?

Rob: John and I go way back. We kept finding ourselves in the same bands over the years because we got along and worked so well together. Ultimately, we dispensed with the whole band thing and whittled down the members to the core writing team.

JDP: Yes, I’ve known Rob since about 1991 or so, when he answered a musicians-wanted ad that my then-band had placed following the departure of our guitarist. Since then we’ve worked on many projects including Sudden Thunder, Ivory Knight, alternative rockers Dr. Squish, and cover band The Broke Brothers, etc. With Ivory Knight we released 3 critically- acclaimed CDs - Up From The Ashes (2001), Unconscience (2004), and most recently, Unity (2018). Ivory Knight appeared in the Brave Words and Bloody Knuckles article "O Canada, Our Home and Metal Land! The List - Great White Metal A-Z;" in issue #92, among greats such as Rush, Saga, Voivod, Annihilator, Exciter, and Anvil! Additionally, we’ve played a ton of shows, some in premier venues. In 2009 or so, I released a solo CD called Knightfall, which was produced, engineered, and mixed by Jeff Waters. Rob plays most of the guitar solos and co-wrote (with Jeff and myself) much of the album.

4. Each band member's favorite band?

Rob: I have a lot of favorite bands. I grew up listening to Canadian rockers such as Rush, Saga, Triumph, and April Wine. I also was big-time into metal, like Maiden, Priest, Ozzy, Metallica, Megadeth, and Anthrax. Nowadays I really like Ghost, Avatar, Rammstein, and Mastodon. Guitar-wise, I was really influenced by EVH, Malmsteen, Marty Friedman, Hetfield, Rik Emmett, Alex Lifeson, Jake E Lee, and Randy Rhoads, to name but a few. There were a lot of fantastic players in the 80s. 

JDP: A few of my favorites would include The Beatles, Gentle Giant, Renaissance (just to avoid confusion, I’m talking about the British progressive rock band with the amazing vocalist Annie Haslam), Rainbow, Black Sabbath, Judas Priest, Blue Oyster Cult and many many others. It really depends on what I feel like listening to at any given moment.

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs?

Rob: I LOVE the process of creating something from nothing. You get a spark of an idea and then it blossoms into a complete song. I've also really been enjoying seeing what we can do with other artists' songs to make them our own. When we decide to cover a song, we have no idea where it's going to go. Sometimes our vision of the song doesn't diverge too much from the original artist's; other times, we can barely recognize the song once we're done with it. I remember that when I first heard The Monkees' Pleasant Valley Sunday, I thought to myself "I wonder what this would sound like if Mutt Lang had produced it?". From there, I came up with a "Wall of Marshalls" guitar sound and recorded my arrangement of the song. We then tried some heavy rock vocals, but that didn't work, so we went with the nicer-sounding vocals that are on there now. It made for a really nice contrast. People seemed to agree because that song became quite popular.

JDP: That’s a tough one. I honestly don’t know where inspiration comes from - probably subconsciously from everything we experience or sense. I wrote the Sudden Thunder song ‘Watch You Walk Away” while stopped at traffic lights - I sung the vocal melody into a portable recorder, then completed a rough musical arrangement when I got home. I’ve written other material in the process of trying out a new instrument or piece of gear. It’s always been something I’ve just done, even at a very early age. Music is something I can’t imagine NOT doing.

6. Where was your last gig?

Rob: The last gig John and I played was with Ivory Knight, shortly before Covid put the kabosh on all that. In fact, it was COVID-19 that started the Gravelle-Perinbam collaborations. We still had the desire to create even though band practices were on hold. Luckily, we didn't have to meet to write and record music. We both had decent home recording setups, so we could do everything right at home! In fact, the process has been so enjoyable, that we've hardly changed a thing even though the lockdowns are long over now. We have gotten together to film video footage, but all of the parts are still done separately and then assembled and mixed at my place.

JDP: Gravelle-Perinbam is, for now, strictly a studio recording project. I do perform with other projects, but that’s another story...

7. Where would you like to play?

Rob: I used to dream of playing certain venues, but not so much anymore. Barrymore's was a storied venue in Ottawa. I was fortunate enough to play there a few times before it closed. Now that I've played many, many shows over the years, I'm mainly concerned with making music these days. John and I might consider touring if the opportunity was presented to us, but at this point in our lives and careers, we would have fairly exacting stipulations regarding food and lodging. No sleeping in vans or eating fast food for us!

JDP: I’m willing to perform / record etc. anywhere.

8. Whom would you like to feature with?

Rob: I have had the chance to share the stage with some fairly well-known bands, but there's not much chance of that happening any time soon again since Gravelle-Perinbam is 100% focused on releasing music. I think that it would be cool to play with any band that has a famous guitar player because that would push me to be my absolute best...not that there should be any comparisons to be made. Every player brings their particular talents and style to the table. What makes Malmsteen a great player is very different from what makes Alex Lifeson so great. I never want to compete with players of that caliber; I'm much more interested in being the best version of myself that I can.

JDP: I’m not quite clear on your meaning. If you mean sharing the stage, I’m happy to do so with anyone. If you mean creating music, I’m willing to work with any solid, well-rehearsed musicians, as long as music, not ego, is the focus. Also, if there’s recording involved, there’s got to be a solid plan to release and promote the material. Not into doing a bunch of work just to end up with something that sits in the basement.

9. Whom not?

Rob: That's a really interesting question because I've played with all kinds of bands from the most casual amateurs to the most polished pros. On the one hand, you want to be associated with the best possible acts, but maybe you don't want them going on before you! On the other hand, bad bands do make you look better by comparison, but they also stink up the whole show - including you! In the end, I would rather play with the very best bands because that pushes me to up my game as well. So, Dream Theater, we're here! Give us a call!

JDP: Egomaniacs, arrogant, difficult types, people who don’t want to put in the work. Life’s too short. Thankfully, most people I’ve worked with or shared the stage with have been fantastic!

10. Have any of you ever suffered from stage fright? Any tips for beginners on how to beat that?

Rob: I did suffer from stage fright in the early days. The issue was that I held myself to such high standards that I had tremendous difficulty in living up to them. I also had a nasty habit of being really hard on myself and engaging in a lot of negative self-talk. For instance, when I was 21, my band opened for Santa Claus at a local Boys and Girls Club. I recall being so nervous that I threw up before the show. It was ridiculous because we were playing for free for a bunch of kids. They were certainly not discerning music critics! Ironically, they hated us because we were bleeding loudly. It wouldn't have mattered if I were Eddy Van Halen. Now that I think about it, one of the best cures for stage fright is to play in front of a hostile audience. That's where you really have to reach deep down and find your inner strength and motivation. Eventually, I came to realize that a live show doesn't have to be perfect to be a tremendously satisfying and memorable experience for both the audience and the musicians. It was at that point that I started to really enjoy playing live. It also helped a lot when we started to do three and four-night runs at clubs. You might have some jitters on the first night, but by the third and fourth nights, it would be like playing in your own living room!

JDP: I’m lucky enough that I’ve always been quite comfortable performing! I do practice mindfulness and meditation - that might be a help to some. But having never suffered from it myself (knock on wood), I can’t really say without throwing out useless generic platitudes that help no one.

11. What bands have inspired you the most?

Rob: I think I've been influenced by all of the bands that I listed previously. Beyond those, I would add Zeppelin as a tremendous influence. The way that Jimmy Page would layer the guitars to create all of the different textures really made a tremendous impact on me in my formative years. Of course, prog bands like Rush, Saga, and Yes also fed my progressive and avant-garde sensibilities. The New Wave of British Heavy Metal (NWOBHM) really made an impact on me as a teenager, as did the early thrashers of the day - Exciter, Metallica, Megadeth, Anthrax, etc. A little-known fact is that John Ricci of Exciter taught me my first scales on guitar!

JDP: The Beatles, Gentle Giant, Renaissance (British symphonic progressive rock), Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Blue Oyster Cult, and many many others.

12. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for?

Rob: I don't think that I've ever been asked for anything weird. I have had plenty of requests for autographed pictures, and typical stuff like that, but nothing weird. I would say that the strangest things I've encountered weren't from fans, but from industry. We've been offered a lot of record deals that were so fishy that you really have to wonder if anyone would be gullible enough to sign them. For example, distribution in Africa, and things like that. I suppose that you can't easily check if your CDs are in stores on the other side of the world.

JDP: Who am I to say what’s weird LOL?

13. What do you think of your fans?

Rob: Our fans are the best because they support us for the music. Unlike with the more commercial artists, where you're bombarded with their songs like five times a day on the radio, you have to look a little harder to find us. And we're so glad when people do!

JDP: I grew up writing and performing music. I’m humbled that others are willing to take time to listen to music and watch videos that I/we’ve created. Love you all!!

14. What do you think of our site?

Rob: It's a truly great music site! And, I'd like to add how grateful I am for sites like Breathing the Core Zine. As I mentioned in my previous answer, without regular radio airplay and coverage on entertainment shows like Etalk and Entertainment Tonight, we rely on sites like yours to get the word out and share our music with the fans. So thank you for all that you do.

JDP: I really like it. Looks like a great place to discover new artists! Also, I appreciate the section relating to artwork - I think that’s really cool and unique. 

15. Something to add?

Rob: Thanks again for having us on Breathing the Core Zine. For people wanting to follow Gravelle-Perinbam, there's our website is and our Facebook page is

JDP: Thanks again!! Keep up the great work and rock on \m/!!

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