Noothgrush’s Gary Niederhoff on the Band’s Weird Connection With YouTube
Southern Lord recently released ‘Live for Nothing,’ a crushing live record documenting one of the more intriguing bands of the ’90s powerviolence scene, Northern California’s Noothgrush. Clocking in an hour and 20 minutes, ‘Live for Nothing’ boasts some of the finest doom-ridden sludge compositions you’ll hear anywhere. The record hosts two live radio broadcasts from Noothgrush; the first from KZSU from 1996 and the other from KFJC in 1999.
Formed in the early ’90s, Noothgrush would go on to release music on a host of labels, but it was their 1996 ‘Embraced by the Anti Self’ 7″ on influential label Slap-a-Ham Records that got the ball rolling on an international level.
Noisecreep asked bassist/vocalist Gary Niederhoff about that period in Noothgrush’s history. “I was in a band in San Jose, Calif. before Noothgrush and we didn’t know a lot of the right people, so it never got off the ground. When Noothgrush got going, our drummer was friends with Chris Dodge (owner of Slap-a-Ham Records) and he helped get our name out there.
“Noothgrush is definitely slower than a lot of the bands in that powerviolence scene and I guess Chris was looking for something different for his label. Anyway, I got totally into the DIY thing and I dug the comrade between the bands that played in our scene. I have no complaints about the way bands were treated then,” says Niederhoff.
Somewhere in the early 00s, Noothgrush went their separate ways, but have reunited since and will be playing next year’s Maryland Deathfest. “When Noothgrush split up, it wasn’t really an intentional thing. I was just sick of playing all of these shows doing our old material. I wanted to take a break and write some new stuff. At the time our drummer, Chiyo Nukaga, was also playing in Amber Asylum and she moved her kit to their practice spot. Then a bunch of other things came up. I got a new job and Chiyo had a baby. We didn’t have time for Noothgrush anymore. From there I worked at a radio station for the next decade or so.
“During that time I also got my old band, Human Anomaly, back together. That’s been on and off throughout the years. But my job at the radio station took most of my time. It’s one of those 50-60 hour work week kinds of things.”
Listen to ‘Oil Removed’ From Noothgrush
Noisecreep then asks Niederhoff about ‘Oil Removed,’ Noothgrush’s most-beloved song. If someone every made a Greatest Hits album for the powerviolence scene of the ’90s, that track would have to be on it. “Yeah, that’s definitely our most popular song and it took me a while to understand why. My bandmates were said that everyone was going to go crazy when we played it and I couldn’t understand why.
“The only reason I think ‘Oil Removed’ became our best-known song is that there was a YouTube video of us playing it in New Mexico on one of our tours. That was the only video footage of Noothgrush anywhere online for years. So I think whenever someone would look up the band, that video would pop up. I guess that’s why it happened. Not to knock the song or anything,” laughs Niederhoff.
Watch Noothgrush’s ‘Oil Removed (live on 08/15/11 @ Elbo Room)’ Video
Noothgrush’s ‘Live for Nothing’ is available now on CD and gatefold 2xLP vinyl from Southern Lord.