Trustkill Owner Gives a Little History Lesson on Basement Shows
Trustkill Records owner Josh Grabelle isn’t new to the hardcore and metalcore party. He’s got roots and cred that he earned putting on shows in his parents’ basement after attending his first hardcore show at the Jersey shore in the summer of ’88. “From that moment on, I knew I was going to do something with music, but since I never played an instrument, I did everything else I could do,” Grabelle revealed to Noisecreep. “I sang in a s—ty band. I did a fanzine and in the early ’90s, I used to put on shows in my parents’ basement.”
Grabelle has the distinction of putting on Hatebreed‘s very New Jersey show in Tinton Falls. Ma and Pa Grabelle’s basement was also the scene of Snapcase‘s first show with Daryl Taberski on vocals. A parade of notables also played in the basement, including Earth Crisis, Sense Field, Ignite, Deadguy, Bloodlet, Lifetime and Unbroken. Anyone who was anyone in the 1990s hardcore scene traipsed through.
After an internship with Dutch East India Trading, a distributor that was once neck and neck with Caroline as an indie, he went on in 1994 to put out a split label release and formed Trustkill as a hobby. “When I was in college in 1996, I never thought it’d be my job. From ’96 to ’98, I was doing graphic design, and then I went to Europe with Despair!”
He eventually came back to the States, went to law school and graduated in 2001. At that time, Trustkill was booming, with Poison the Well and Eighteen Visions making very visible names for themselves. “My bands were selling records, and I had a federal clerkship lined up for fall of 2001, and a month before I was to start, I called the judge and decided to stop pursuing a legal career in exchange for running my label, and I am glad I did that.”
Despite Trustkill’s rich and impressive history, Grabelle was able to select a record as one of his favorites — and it’s a little-known, little-heard album called ‘You and Me’ by Open Hand. “It’s a little obscure, but everyone agrees it is one of the best records,” Grabelle said. “I have listened to it a lot, and it was way ahead of its time. I would say that record is awesome.
“It didn’t sell that great, but sometimes the best art is not widely accepted.” He also admits that he hated Bleeding Through’s 2003 landmark ‘This is Love, This is Murderous’ when the band turned it into him! “But it has grown on me and now I love it,” he said. Apparently, so do the kids, since the album went on to become one of the label’s biggest sellers.