Gross Interview With Dave the Scruffo

Gross is a pretty cool death metal band that I recently saw live so I fired off some questions to guitar player Dave the Scroffo

Where were you born and where did you grow up?

DAVE: I was born & raised in Philly, PA, and grew up hanging in the Port Richmond, Kensington & Fishtown neighborhoods of the city.

What sort of kid were you growing up?

DAVE: I was a pretty decent kid growing up, did good in school, had some friends & watched Saturday morning cartoons. I didn’t get into too much nonsense til I was around 12-13.

Now what sort of music did you listen to growing up?

DAVE: I listened to a lot of radio, early 90s was a lot of alternative & grunge. In my teens, it went to some punk, thrash, and nu-metal, then gradually got into heavier shit like death metal and grindcore.

How did you end up discovering metal music? What were some of the 1st bands you heard and liked?

DAVE: I remember one of my mom’s boyfriends giving me a few tapes when I was like 11 or 12. Iron Maiden’s “Number of the Beast” and Metallica’s “…And Justice For All”. Fell in love with it. Then I had a few friends turn me onto heavier stuff like Slayer, S.O.D., Pantera, and Fear Factory, and I knew that I’d be listening to this kind of music all my life.

Now how did you discover underground metal? Did you like it when you 1st heard it? What were some of the 1st bands you heard?

DAVE: I think it was Cannibal Corpse, just like a lot of other people I guess. I remember seeing them in Ace Ventura and thinking “holy shit, this is nuts”! I had a friend try to play early Dying Fetus thinking it was too much at the time, but eventually, I grew to love them years after the fact. I didn’t start getting heavily into death metal & more underground stuff til the late 90s when an old bandmate got me into Deicide, George Fisher era Corpse, some Dying Fetus, Aborted & other bands in that vein.

Now when did you decide you wanted to play an instrument and what made you pick the guitar? Who are some of your favorite guitar players?

DAVE: I started playing guitar in my teens. Messed around in my room, and had a few friends give me crappy lessons, but no actual proper teachings. I guess I just liked the idea of writing riffs and making songs. I don’t have a ton of standout guitarists, but I’ll say Dimebag, Dino Cazares, Jack Owen, and John Gallagher, are just some of my favorite riffers.

Dave the Scruffo
Dave the Scruffo

Now you were in a prior band before Gross called Corpse Hoarder, which released 3 things. Tell me a bit about them and is that band still around?

DAVE: Corpse Hoarder was around from early 2013 to December 2017. We released our last album & not long after the guitarist wanted to take a hiatus, but we never got back to playing. I started as a 2nd guitarist but switched to just vocals early on, just so I could focus on lyrics and my screams/frontman stuff. Gross’s current drummer Armen was the OG drums for Corpse Hoarder until I think 2016. He left to play in Cognitive for a while, and our buddy Matt joined us to fill the spot. We won a Battle of the Bands spring of 2017 to play Wacken Festival that summer, which was fucking amazing! Playing on a huge stage to a couple of thousand people was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. But once CH broke up, me and Matt talked about starting a new band, and that’s how Gross was formed in early 2018.

Now how much of a difference would you say the 2 bands are? Did you take any Corpse Hoarder songs and make them Gross tunes?

DAVE: The main difference I’d say is the songwriting & lyrical content. Corpse Hoarder was more of a “serious” death metal band, with songs about murder, serial killers, and other violent imagery you typically hear about with most bands of that brutal style. We started Gross with a more goofy, laid-back approach to music and song topics. I didn’t take any old CH songs to repurpose for Gross, but one of our previous songs called “Urine For Trouble” kinda laid the groundwork for how Gross would approach our songs: fast, short songs with more nasty lyrical themes and fun play on words.

Tell me more about this battle of the bands that led to you playing Wacken. How did it all come about?

DAVE: So our bassist at the time, Myke, had signed us up for this regional Battle of the Bands, where we played a few rounds of shows, with the winners advancing to the finals for an opportunity to play Wacken Festival in Germany. I had no idea how it would go or even thought we’d have a chance in hell of winning the thing. But after moving on through the rounds, we played the finals, and when they called our name, I was in total shock and couldn’t believe it! So the finals were in May I believe, this was 2017, and the show was later that summer in August. I had to pay like $200 to get my passport in time, and all our flights were anywhere between $800-1000, but the experience was worth it. The 4 of us stayed in a tent for like 3 days in a big camping field with other bands who won battles from around the world, and we had a blast partying with everyone! So on our day to play, we got set up and played around 12:30 pm their time, which was like 5-6 am EST and we went live on Facebook for anyone local to watch us. The crowd was nuts, there had to be at least 5,000 people, and we got a pretty good reaction for a band from the USA nobody had ever heard of. All in all, a very surreal memory and my biggest accomplishment as a musician.

Now how did you come up with the name Gross? Were any other names thrown around?

DAVE: I think when we started as I said earlier we went into this with a more laid-back and goofy approach to writing songs, so it was all about toilet humor, shit/piss/cum, a song or 2 about hentai, weird sexual acts, and experiences, basically things that would make most normal people cringe and be grossed out. I can’t remember if it was me or the drummer Matt, but one of us just said “Let’s call this band GROSS” and it stuck. An all-encompassing term to describe our mentality, our sound, and our lyrical themes. I wanted to live up to the name hahaha, and I feel like we’ve done pretty damn well so far

How long were you guys together before you released your 5 song demo? What was the feedback like from it?

DAVE: Well the band was “officially” formed in January of 2018 after CH was put on indefinite hold, and we dropped that 5 song demo spring of the same year, so yeah it was only a few months. We recorded like the first 5 songs we had written just to get something out for people to hear. The reception was decent, even though it was raw quality and done pretty fast.

What was your 1st live show like? Where was it at?

DAVE: Our first show was in May of 2018 at Century Bar near the South Philly part of the city. I had been to shows there previously, and CH had played there a few times before. A friend of mine booking the show asked if we were ready to play out, and I was like hell yeah let’s book it, so there it was. We opened the show, the crowd was into it, and I think it was a damn good first show for us.

Gross Band Picture
Gross Band Picture

What are your thoughts on the Phila, PA underground scene? To me, it just seems a bit too many different places putting on shows.

DAVE: I love & appreciate the diversity of bands in the area & the abundance of venues/bars/house shows going on. I’d rather have a ton of bands and plenty of places/options for shows, than the alternative which would be the same handful of bands playing limited locations in the area. There are a few online resources to find a show on almost any given weekend in most parts of the city. Granted some bands might not be good, or a certain style you like, or there might be a venue someone doesn’t care for. But that is why having multiple spaces for different artists to book & perform is so crucial, it gives everyone a different flavor to choose from. Oh, you want a grindcore show in West Philly? There’s one going on XYZ weekend with a so-and-so band. Death metal show on a Thursday? Yeah, that’s happening over here with these guys and whoever else. Nobody wants to eat the same food from the same place all the time, and going to shows & discovering new bands & venues shouldn’t be any different.

How long was it until you started work on your next release, which was a full-length, called “Welcome to the Slime House”?

DAVE: So we had a lineup change later that year, with our original bassist Josh stepping down due to family issues. No problem on our end, he’s a great guy and just needed time away to deal with life, and that shit happens to everyone. We recruited a friend John as our new bassist that fall and kept writing and playing shows. We took 4 of the 5 songs off the demo jawn & redid those plus a bunch more to record everything for Slime House in the spring/summer of 2019. Funny story: I purchased the artwork for that album a few months after the band formed! Nev from Gruesome Graphx had a few pre-done pieces on his Instagram that I spotted, and the artwork I snagged for Slime House was everything I felt we needed: disgusting, graphic, and covered in green goo. I bought it & just held onto it, knowing it would be used for a future album release. We put that out in October of 2019, and it got some good reception. I still play a few of those songs at practice and in our set lists from time to time

Your songs are short blasts of death/grind is that the way you like and it will continue to be that way?

DAVE: Oh definitely, we’re always gonna have blasts and grooves in our songs. CH was somewhat similar because 1. it’s the same drummer, and 2. even though I didn’t play guitar in CH, I always appreciated a groove riff over a blast or a fast skanky beat. I’m not a very technical player at all, so I go with what I know. Speed picking, heavy chunks, a few slides or hammer-ons, but you’ll never catch me playing an actual “solo”. And in that aspect, I like keeping the songs shorter so we can just have a few nutty parts, some ridiculous lyrics over a fat chunk riff. Short, sweet, and to the point.

What are some subjects you like to write about?

DAVE: Any weird, disgusting, and off-the-wall bullshit we can think of! We got one called “Let Me Be Your Toilet” that I tell everyone is about meeting the love of your life in a line for the bathroom. Overall, there’s a lot of potty humor, eating garbage or rotten food, and plenty of songs about shit, piss & cum, we even got one about a powerful wizard that turns anything he wants into dicks. It’s wild man hahaha, when you just don’t give a fuck and wanna have fun, you can write songs about almost anything.

So how soon was the band around when you began writing tunes that ended up being on your “Demo Jawn” release? What kind of response did you get with it and did you play many shows beyond it?

DAVE: Those were the first batch of songs we had written, and wanted to get them recorded & out as soon as possible. Our first show as a band was in May 2018 at Century Bar in South Philly. We got a pretty good response and had some good feedback on the music.

In 2019, a full-length came out called “Welcome to the Slime House”, with a cool, funny cover I might add. How quickly did these songs come together? Did you play many shows around the area and did you even attempt to send this to any labels to possibly put out?

DAVE: Yeah, Slime House was 4 of the songs from the demo, and a bunch of other songs we had written between the summer of 2018 and the spring of 2019. Anytime we write, we just come up with goofy song ideas or titles & try working around a basic concept. We played a good bit of shows in Philly and kept getting the word out about us. We didn’t try for a label, all our releases so far have been DIY recorded and released.

Now it took 3 years, 2022, until your current release came out called “World War Cum”, which is also a self-release. Do you like putting them out this way?

DAVE: So far it’s been good for us releasing our stuff on our own, but I think in the future we might send some tracks to distros or indie labels to get our name out there more, in places we haven’t been or to people who haven’t heard of us yet.

You also had a new drummer for this release, Armen Koroghlian, where did you end up getting him from? Also, Mike Tyler, your singer left, what happened with that, and did you even try to find a singer or did you figure we would stick it out as a 3 piece from now on?

DAVE: So our previous drummer Matt had been hit by a car in late 2019, he got banged up pretty bad and had to take time off. We got a fill-in drummer, our friend Grant who played in Disgorgement, and a few other bands in the area, he played a show with us, and then COVID hit and we had a few shows canceled because of that. Summer of 2020 I had talked to Armen about jamming with us, and since we had a history with Corpse Hoarder, it was a natural fit since we both knew what we all bring to the table. As for Mikey, between his decreased involvement with writing & some personal things in his life at the time, we decided to move on without him. It was right around the spring of 2020 that we kicked him out. We didn’t try looking for another frontman, since me and the bassist at the time John was fully capable of handling all the vocals ourselves, so we stayed a 3 piece ever since then.

Have you played out of town and if you did where was it and how did it go?

DAVE: Yeah totally, we’ve played down in Baltimore a few times, one or two NJ shows, and a couple of shows up in Harrisburg. Always a good time when we go to The Depot in B-more and JB Lovedrafts in Harrisburg, and the crews who book us always take care of us and bring us back. We’re always looking for new places to play. We have our first New York show booked for May 26th, 2023, and are actively getting booked at new venues with new bands.

When can we expect some new music from you guys?

DAVE: Great question! The last few shows we’ve done this year have been a lot of newer material, which is just about done being recorded & should be out late spring/early summer of this year 2023. We also have a batch of songs that have been on the shelf for a while that we’ll be recording at the end of summer & looking to do a split with another band for a possible fall/winter release. So yeah, we got a lot of new shit coming this year!

How does a new song idea come together?

DAVE: We’re either sitting around at practice brainstorming stuff like topics, song titles or finding other weird shit that inspires us to write something nasty. I watched a video on Youtube about a maggot-infested cheese from an Italian island called Sardinia, it’s called cazu marzu and it’s in the Guinness Book of World Records as being the world’s most dangerous cheese to eat, since the larvae can cause vomiting and diarrhea. That song will be on the next release coming soon.

Were you a fan at all of ECW wrestling back in the day?

DAVE: Definitely! Growing up in Philly & watching wrestling as a kid, I was hooked on it right away when I first saw it in the mid/late 90s. Taz, Sabu, Rob Van Dam, Tommy Dreamer, Sandman, all those guys went through physical Hell to put on some insane matches. Not only were the violent ones great but there were some amazing non-extreme guys in there too. Chris Jericho, Dean Malenko, and some other WCW/WWF guys made appearances there and had some awesome matches. The mid-late 90s was a great time to be a wrestling fan!

Please plug any websites or social media pages you have.

DAVE: So all our music is available on Bandcamp to listen to & download.


You can also follow us on Facebook & Instagram,


and our Instagram is


If anyone is interested in booking us, feel free to message one of our social media sites, I
try to be as quick in replying as possible.

Dave horns up for doing this interview, any last words to wrap it up?

DAVE: Yo thanks for reaching out for this interview, it was fun & hopefully we get some new eyes & ears on the band because of it. Thanks to everyone who’s ever booked us, bought some merch or just came up and told us they had fun at our shows. If you dig death metal & grindcore, check out some of our friends in Charcuterie, Blasphemous, Cranial Damage, Existentia, Concrete Caveman, Driltusk, Bayht Lahm. All good bands and good friends. Thanks to Jay at Century for always having us and providing us a space to act like a buncha of fools. And a shoutout to my girlfriend Megan for being my rock and always supporting me. LETS GET GROSS!

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