My Side of the Mountain: Grammer School

In the warmer months, Bill Cooley spends weekday afternoons manning his hot dog cart at the corner of College Street and Patton Avenue. It was there, over a chili dog with spicy mustard and cole slaw, that we first discussed shooting a video with his band Grammer School. That was almost a year ago.

Week after week, I returned for an afternoon snack, and we compared schedules and discussed the band’s upcoming gigs. Week after week, we postponed the shoot. It always seemed like the perfect time was just around the corner. Inevitably, winter came and Cooley retired his cart for the season.

I hadn’t heard from him in months. Then late last week I received an email with a link to the band’s just-completed album. Shortly after, an invite to its CD-release party. The time was now.

By the time I reached the band, it was four days until the show. This would have to be fast. We agreed on a day and a time. We agreed to brainstorm for locations. Nothing materialized. I was starting to panic. I called friends with studios. No luck. I consulted with shop owners and friends. Still no luck. Frustrated and anxious, I stopped by West End Bakery for a snack. There, behind the counter, was Justin Bowles, Grammer School’s singer and keyboard player, and the answer to our dilemma.

I called Bill, who called Justin, who checked with his boss, who gave us the OK. We were welcome shoot in the bakery, after close, as long as we didn’t make a mess and left things as they were.

We didn’t make a mess. But I’d like to think we made an impression.

Grammer School celebrates the release of its self-titled, debut LP tonight at Warehouse 10, 399 Old Lyman St. Kovacs and the Polar Bear opens. 10 p.m. Donations appreciated. BYOB.


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