A Conversation with Grip and Dreamer of Kissing Candice

 Mike Grippo is the original bassist of Kissing Candice, he is commonly referred to just as GRIP as Mike is a boring name. Tom Sciro is the original guitarist/second vocalist of Kissing Candice, he goes by DREAMER since he is jacked like Tommy Dreamer the wrestler. They’re not really stage names, just nicknames we all gave each other that stuck with the fans and we have adopted them as our real names more or less!

Saul Treno: You have had quite a year with Kissing Candice haven't you?

Grip: We certainly have! It started out SUPER promising! We kicked off the new year recording our 2nd ever full-length album with producer Zach Jones in Las Vegas. We were all out there locked away for a month writing and recording like crazy. We mostly self-funded this album and partially crowd-funded it. We were super excited to release a record that we completely created with just our and our fans' money. This album is for both of us. However, a week or so after we got out of the studio, the world shut down. Since then, we have been trying our best to release this album. However, with it being mostly self-funded and not having a label we just didn’t have the resources to get it out at the time. We are starting to build the team to get it out there though! With the release of Tapeworm, we are now flooring it straight forward and learning to adapt in this new post COVID world.

Dreamer: it’s definitely been an interesting one, that’s for sure.

ST: How has the band managed to keep their sanity and passion going for music through everything going on?

Grip: Finding new ways to communicate and connect with our fans. Rather than putting out new music, we have been utilizing technology and social media a lot to build on our image. For us, the image is almost as important as the music. You can’t stop an image! Aside from that, I have been working full-time in healthcare trying to put away money for getting the album out (and I know the others have all been working full time to get this beast of an album out). I think being an essential worker where I still have to go into work every day has helped me keep my sanity during all of this. Also, there have been some fantastic other albums that did come out that have given us the inspiration to get ours out there!

Dreamer:  we’ve all been staying busy and staying in touch.   You have to laugh at the situation, and humor usually gets us by.

ST: You released an older track finally, was it by Spotify? Then released this current single/video "Tapeworm" recently.  Has the release of "Tapeworm" come with any surprises? 

Grip: The track you are referring to is GHOSTED! Ghosted was the track we recorded on our own which Victory Records loved and signed us off of. However, we felt it didn’t fit well on our album that was coming down the line from them (Blind Until We Burn - now FIVE YEARS OLD)! So we talked to Victory and they allowed us to put the song on Bandcamp as a free gift to our fans for being loyal and supporting us to that point. Since then, people have always been asking why it’s not available on streaming services. We would always drive them to the free direct download, but people are downloading music less and less as time goes on. So, we figured it was time we get it on streaming platforms!

The release of Tapeworm has come with some surprises. Not as many people are as disgusted as we were with our photographer/roadie/security/best friend Andrew “Nature Boy” Wolfe shoving actual live earthworms into his mouth. I know I almost vomited watching it happen… and he did in fact vomit. Another surprise has been how well it is being received. It’s been a while since we put out music and had our fans waiting so long on this album, I thought they’d be disappointed by having to wait so long and it not live up to the hype. However, it’s our strongest single debut to date and reception has been amazing!

Dreamer:  We released an older track, “Ghosted” earlier this year on all platforms and it was a nice surprise,  but was really for the fans.  Tapeworm, we are very pleased with this response,  and love all the kind words it’s been getting.

ST: How easy or complex is songwriting in general and when performing live have you ever forgotten the lyrics or melody, etc?

Grip: I’m gonna let Dreamer handle that first part, he does almost all the songwriting. One time I forgot how to play bass completely while on stage. Sorry, Cleveland. Sometimes I punch myself in the face too hard or fall off something and forget what part of the song I’m playing. Get too lost in the performance I forget I’m supposed to be playing an instrument, but, that’s really rare haha!

Dreamer:  When I write, it’s all about vibe and wanting to say something.  We have great chemistry in this band that constantly inspires that to come out.  I think everyone has forgotten words, and I’m no exception lol. 

ST: Thinking of playing live... Do you have a personal favorite track you like to play live? Is it different sounding from the studio, or do you all keep true to both sides?

Grip: My favorite to play live will be the new album. However, since we can’t do that yet… I would have to go with Mirrors or Taken. As a side note, the band HATES playing Put ‘em Up. Which sucks, because the fans always wanna hear it and we can never escape it hah. We are hoping with the new album our fans find a replacement new favorite song they want to hear! We would like to leave the pre Taken music in the past eventually as we feel it does not represent who we are as a band anymore, it all has a totally different sound. Dreamer does make some really cool changes to some songs while we are practicing them for a tour, it makes things different and keeps the fans coming back to shows to hear these slight differences in the songs.

Dreamer: We try to make our stuff as accurate to the record as possible,  but I do love play hit the roof.  Live, it hits the way it was intended.

ST: Talk to us about the recent release "Tapeworm".Take us on the road it traveled.

Grip: Well, we recorded it back in February. COVID hit. We got stuck. It sucked. With no way to tour there was no way for us to promote this album/being unsigned, we didn’t really even have a way to properly release it. Eventually, enough time had passed where we just HAD to put something out. So about 2 months ago we shot the music video with Tom Flynn and sent it in. We then promoted for a bit and readied the song for it’s streaming release. We couldn’t NOT put something out on Halloween (the music video) and the following Friday the 13th (Tapeworm hit streaming). There was a lot of debate about what song to release as a first single. We ended up going Tapeworm because it is super heavy and pissed off, which is something we are and know others want to hear right now. The album is very outside of the box thinking for us, so maybe expect some surprises coming up!

Dreamer:  It’s a visceral, no bullshit, punch in the face.   We wanted to tell a story of the familiar tale of someone in your life, leeching on a sucking the life from you.

ST: Is there normally any band discussion prior to a song being recorded that you all go through on how you all wanted to approach and produce?

Grip: We spend a lot of time with our producer/engineeer/mixer Zach Jones and work out songs. The main thing is how to afford it and where and when to do it.

Dreamer: Always a discussion.  Its presented to the band no matter what.

ST: What does Kissing Candice have on track for this New Year? And plans coming with more music, a re-release perhaps?

Grip: THE ALBUM WILL COME OUT. I WILL MAKE SURE OF IT! Expect the follow-up to Tapeworm very early on in the year along with some more details on the album. We are independently re-releasing our first full-length album “Blind Until We Burn” on super limited cassette and vinyl. The album had last-minute changes made. We have decided to put out the original version with original artwork for the very select amount of fans who purchase it! It is available for pre-order at www.kissingcandice.com/store/

Dreamer:  Hopefully touring lol.  We have an amazing record, ready to go.  Just want to get it to everyone the best way we can!

ST: Sign us off this year with some of your reflective thoughts over 2020.

Grip: ALWAYS HAVE A BACKUP PLAN. We are all very lucky we were able to get full-time jobs to keep the band running (along with our lives). Also, learn the stock market and take your free time to develop new skills and pursue your insane ideas! You will probably never have this type of time again in your life where you can just sit at home and work on your passions and art.

Dreamer:  Thank you to anyone that supports us, we are nothing without you guys.  Stay safe!