Peeling Grey is one of L.A.’s premiere post-punk bands, established July 13, 2008. We had a vast array of influences such as the Cure, Echo and the Bunnymen, the Clash, the Jesus & Mary Chain, as the list goes on. But, we weren’t in it to imitate anyone nor revive any era. We simply believed in the future of music, just as the spirit of post-punk’s past did. Here, you’ll find a bit of history, merchandise, videos, links and whatever else that further explains what we were about. Have a look around, and we hope to hear from you. You can join our mailing list by sending us a line at PeelingGrey@Gmail.com. We are now the past. Enjoy what we have left behind.
Peeling Grey was formed in June of 2008 by Andy Smith and Mike O’Hare. In previous years Smith had taken a stab at writing lyrics and experimenting with four track home recordings. With Mike’s offer to use his Hollywood apartment to jam, old words and music would finally see the light of day. By July the collaboration had become official. With Smith on vocals and bass, and Mike on guitar, the duo wrote “Faith In Forever”, “Peeling Grey”, and “Away From Home”; songs based off old ideas were now coming into fruition.
As songs took shape, the duo searched for a drummer. By coincidence, Smith reestablished contact with an old friend, Richard Nielsen. Both had jammed in the past but lost touch over the years. In October of 2008, Nielsen was recruited to join the fold on drums. The band moved out of O’Hare’s apartment and into Nielsen’s job, being a warehouse where he also worked. “James Quarterly” shortly joined the growing setlist. The final piece of the puzzle was keyboardist Naren Renz, who joined in December of that year. Renz and Smith already shared a musical past being former members of local bands such as Monochrome and Nightmare of the Elf. By early 2009 work began on “The Strip”, a song addressing tensions in the Middle East, “The Girl I’ll Never Know”, and “Soulless”.
The band made its debut live performance at Fonzfest with The Clash City Rockers (Clash tribute) on April 18th, 2009. A string of live shows all over the Los Angeles area slowly kickstarted local interest in the band, particularly from the underground Indie, Post Punk, and Goth scenes.
A demo EP released in August of 2009 titled “The Peeling Sessions” was recorded and produced by friend James Hazley, formerly of Cockeyed Ghost. Hazley and Smith had already played together in the Chaste and both with Renz in Nightmare of the Elf. Over 500 free demos had been distributed worldwide, which includes the United States, Germany, and England. This resulted in growing exposure and airplay on NME Internet Radio in the UK.
Mike O’Hare left the group in September after their performance at Silver Factory Studios. Their producer James Hazley would assume the vacancy. Christian Mendez of Pins and Needles would eventually be the replacement on guitar in February, 2010. A successful gig at the famous Release the Bats club in March would increase further interest in the band thus landing them on the map of local upcoming acts. Peeling Grey was also included on the compilation “Darkness Before Dawn Vol 2″. Their demo version of “Peeling Grey” packed the dancefloors that year at the WGT festival in Leipzig, Germany.
Despite this growing momentum, co-founder Richard “Grey” Nielsen also parted ways in May of 2010. Producer James Hazley was called in for a second tour of duty, this time on drums. Hazley would continue on board as producer. Despite the changing line-up, plans were set in motion for their debut full-length album “The World’s Not Sorry”. Recording commenced at Surplus Studios in July with Rocker Meadows.
A second demo EP of pre-production tracks was released shortly after the album sessions began titled “Pre-Worlds”. Tracks from their demos along with new material such as “Young Heart”, “Summer Days Unsaid”, and “The End of the Road” would be featured on their debut full-length release.
“The World’s Not Sorry” was released in February of 2011. The record release event at Bordello was another milestone in Peeling Grey’s growing local popularity, commanding a respectable turnout. Greg Reely known for his work with Sarah McLachlan, Front Line Assembly, and Skinny Puppy is noted for the mastering of “TWNS”.
Christian Mendez was replaced by Kevin Wetlands of Programmed for Pleasure in the summer of 2011. However, Kevin’s time filling in the guitarist role would be temporary, and just enough to get the group through some local gigs for the next few months, and participate in the “James Quarterly” music video, directed and photographed by filmmaker & documenter Robert E. Ball Jr. The video would be Smith’s first attempt at writing and producing a music video. “James Quarterly” would focus on the intended storyline depicted in the lyrics, and premiere at Release the Bats, April of 2012.
A follow-up recording to “TWNS” titled “Broken Glass” was released shortly after the “JQ” video. The track was written by James Hazley with Smith adding words and vocals. The single would be a departure from the group’s previous sound, unveiled in July, 2012.
With Kevin’s commitment fulfilled, the old guitar vacancy would haunt the group again. Finally in 2012 Andy would assume the role of guitarist, but stay on vocals. James Hendrix, formerly of Sleepmask, would play bass. The then reconfigured line-up would debut at Part Time Punks at the Echo, and would go on to tour Texas, and play a few other out of town events.
By November PG’s luck had seem to run out. Hazley would make his way off the drummer’s throne, resulting in the band’s indefinite hiatus from the show circuit. On the creative end inspiration had also run dry. For the first time matters, seem uncertain as an ailing trio tried to figure out where to go and what to do. The scene locally and abroad were changing with a some other groups facing a similar crisis. It was time for Smith and crew to reevaluate what was important, and if they could still stay relevant to an atmosphere of both evolving and fickle tastes. December would see little activity on the PG front.
In January of 2013 it was finally decided that Peeling Grey would write new material, recruit a drummer, and essentially save the ship from its own near demise. Home writing sessions at Smith’s would be the birthplace of the next phase of PG. “Our Sky’s Falling”, “Flowers for the Dead”, “Stars Break Away”, and “Life of Sin” would revitalize the creative process, and further inspire the trio to make a return to the live arena. Brad Hartman would become the new drummer in March, and Dave Skott of Element would relieve Hendrix on bass in late May.
After seven months of no shows the band made its official return to the stage, with a new line-up, and songs at Release the Bats, June of 2013. Their second music video, “Rumors” was released in late December of that year; a bold departure in both style and sound, it was warmly received and recognized for the change of pace for the group.
In 2014 the group would go on to play Convergence 20 in Chicago in April and WGT’s Cure Party in Leipzig, Germany in June. Both shows were landmarks in the band’s career, playing in front of packed halls and increasing their following. 2015 brought their sophomore (full length) release, “Our Sky’s Falling”.
Peeling Grey released their third music video, “Our Sky’s Falling” in the fall of 2017. The video was in principal photography for nearly a year and in development since 2014, following the release of the “Rumors” video. “OSF” was filmed on location throughout the American Southwest with high temperatures, rain, mechanical issues and all else challenging the shooting of the video.
2018 marked the tenth anniversary of the formation of Peeling Grey and plans for a third album were underway. However, the group dissolved on February 18th.
Peeling Grey had their sights set on further developing their sound that was routed in Post Punk. Despite their routes and influences that span many facets of that era, the group looked towards the future of music…..Akin to the original spirit of the past.