Photographer / Danielle DeFoe
Talent / Grace McKagan aka Grave from The Pink Slips
Stylist / Alexandra Mandelkorn
Hair / Johnny Stuntz @ Crobsy Carter Management
MUA / Nichole Servin @JK Artists
Grace McKagan might have all the grandfathered in characteristics of a rock and roll heiress, her father is the legendary rock and roller Duff McKagan and her mom, legendary looker, and swimwear designer Susan Holmes, but The Pink Slips lead woman has cast away an easy life for one on the road stage diving in vintage dresses and fake blood. Her approach to music is similar to her approach to the world raw and vivacious, at 15 she started a band and never looked back.
Grace’s music ambition developed over the years and in her current era raw, spooky electro punk rock ala a younger crazier Joan Jett with a libido that makes you blush. It makes perfect tunes for any Halloween rock out. Catchy guitar riffs and her hot punk rock chic voice prove that Grace is the ultimate Rocket Queen (pun intended) with an Appetite for Destruction.
Your performances are known to be super energetic and full of emotion have you ever had an out of body experience while performing?
I feel likes it’s inevitable not to when you put so much passion into something, whether it be performing, sports, love, writing, or anything else. When I’m on stage I forget what I did most of the time because it’s all a blur but in the best way possible. I feel completely free, I like to let go of everything that holds me back in my daily life and tear it up into pieces. Performing is almost like a therapy session for me.
Can you elaborate a little bit more on GRAVE your alter ego?
GRAVE was inspired by Ziggy Stardust and Alice Cooper to name a few. I started performing in high school and when I was writing my senior research paper my class was assigned to compare two characters to Dr.Jekyll & Mr.Hyde so I chose Ziggy & Elton John/Bernie Taupin. Throughout my writing process, I learned that “Bennie” from ‘Bennie & the Jets” was based on a futuristic rock goddess-that really stuck out to me. I wanted to create a character I could be on stage that would represent the underdogs, as well as all of the darker and more vulnerable aspects of myself-kind of like ‘Bennie’- & that, is how GRAVE was born.
Tell us a little bit about the band dynamic and vibe.
Were all super tight. Love my boys. Trent, Charlie, Desi, and Keenan are all so crazy talented & such nice people.
How has your approach to music changed from when you wrote your first song, to now?
Totally! The first 6 songs I ever wrote turned into an EP – even though I may be a little embarrassed about that content now I have to remind myself that at 15 I was so new to everything that I didn’t even care what people thought – it was so genuine and I didn’t compare myself to anyone – and that’s what makes it special.
Can you tell us what you envisioned when you started The Pink Slips at 15?
I have always wanted to be a singer – since I was maybe 3 & that has never changed. At 15 I kind of had the same vision as I do now for what I wanted the Pink Slips to represent; which is raw, empowering, and real rock n’ roll. I will never stop loving Iggy Pop for teaching me how to rock and understanding what rock it really is-rock n roll/ punk isn’t specifically about a sound but more about not giving a fuck about what others say about you and living authentically, performing wholeheartedly. At 15 I had just gotten into Iggy pop & his rock n roll Moto is one that really influenced me.
When do you listen to your music?
I sometimes listen to my own music when I’m alone in the car – a little self-love/appreciation haha.
When do you feel the most complete?
What is your favorite era of music?
60’s French pop, 50’s Americana music, 70’s New York punk, 80’s feel-good/love pop, and just old fashioned rock n roll. Even now though, there are a lot of really great bands/singers I really admire such as La Femme, Mr. J.D. King, Perfume Genius, Beck, Iggy’s New album, eagles of death metal, the kills, and so on….
What are the most challenging and rewarding parts of breaking into the music industry?
Challenging – people thinking I don’t have talent because of who my father is- thinking I don’t work hard.
Rewarding- people getting to hear the music I make – as ZZ Top once said “create music you want to hear” and I love doing just that. Also, getting to be creative in so many different ways, whether it be designing march, creating video concepts, thinking of stage theatrics, or even getting to do my makeup for a show.
When do you feel loudest and when do you feel the proudest?
Loudest- definitely talking about rock n roll/music. I got a lot of opinions.
Proudest- Being super busy and productive – I love seeing my hard work pay off 🙂
If you could record a duet EP with anyone dead or alive who would be your all-time person?
Such a hard question…probably Trent Reznor OR Ricky Nelson.
What are The Pink Slips working on now?
New EP to come out end of 2017/ beginning of 2018.
What do you feel like your role as an artist is in the world today?
To inspire people who feel less than (underdogs), I want to make people feel confident and loved my music. I want to inspire people to do whatever they want to do in life despite judgement.
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