Grade 8
Gig Seeker Pro

Grade 8

Band Rock Metal


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Grade 8"

Grade 8 Grade 8
by C.E. Pelc

I have to say that the more and more I review new bands from Lava Records, the more and more they become one of my favorite labels. And no, no one has paid me to say that. Puh-leeze. It’s just the truth. They been cranking out some pretty kick-ass bands lately, and Grade 8 is no exception.

You know what the strangest thing is though? That they’re rather hard rock and I really like them. Seriously. I’ve don’t think I’ve EVER said that about any hard rock band…it’s just normally not my thang. But these guys rock in a way that you can tell there’s been some thought behind the pounding drums and crunchy guitars, that there’s musicianship behind it all and not just a bunch of guys that decided to play chords as fast and loud as they could and have some other guy scream inaudibly on top of them.

Take for instance the intro for the album’s first track, “Brick By Brick.” At first there’s silence as the album begins, making your anticipation mount. Then the coolest guitar intro starts very low and very fast and as the sound increases in pitch, the drummer begins a roll that also slowly increases, exploding full-throttle into mosh pit heaven as singer Ryan Tooker takes over and bandmates guitarist Dustin Tooker (we’re assuming they’re related), bassiest Guy Couturier and drummer Scotty “Känikki” Carneghi explode behind him, but not to the point that they’re all competing to be heard but just that they complement each other. It’s seriously cool.

Other stand out tracks include “Let ‘Em Know,” which begins with a very interesting and dynamic beat, the pure hard rock essence of “Chances Are” and the funked up “One Wish.” But pretty much all 12 tracks on Grade 8 demand and deserve your attention and a good listen. While heavy rock bands may be a dime a dozen on mainstream radio, it doesn’t mean that they’re necessarily that they’re any good. But here’s a rock band that truly has something to offer and definitely deserves to stay for the long haul.

- fm sound


"Brick By Brick" 1st single from self titled LP Grade 8
Grade 8 - Debut LP
"Resurrection" Title Track from new LP
"Fighting Me" Lead Radio Single from new LP
Resurrection - Sophmore LP
"T.O.N.E." new recordings



Survival. Something that's often taken for granted, yet it can be a struggle just to maintain existence. The members of Grade 8 know this. Not only have they all managed to keep their heads above water in the treacherous environment of the music business, they have channeled their trials and frustrations into music that is both intense and meaningful. An epic combination of east coast hardcore, melodic metal, and bleeding edge electronics. A blistering testament to the ultimate impotence of the forces that have worked against them.

Dustin and Ryan Tooker planted the seeds of what would become Grade 8 in the mid 90’s, in their home state of New Jersey. Ryan was a last minute choice to fill in on vocals for guitarist Dustin’s then band. Their natural chemistry worked well and they continued playing over the next few years with various rhythm sections. The brothers then moved to Southern California where their charisma and work ethic impressed those they met, eventually leading to a record deal with Lava / Atlantic. They worked various interesting jobs in the entertainment industry in their spare time, knowing that once their professional music career began, there would be no turning back.

As they created their self titled debut, a new rhythm section was formed and the band prepared to tour. Grade 8 proved themselves an intense live force touring with Mudvayne, The Murderdolls, Anthrax and the Ozzfest. It was on that final tour that the tenacity of Dustin and Ryan caught the attention of their peers. When business issues nearly forced the band off the tour, they fought back by riding with other bands and borrowing equipment, refusing to quit.

After that victory of will, they found themselves in another rough spot. The single “Brick by Brick” had reached #1 on the college rock charts and tracks were appearing in high profile video games and television series, such as “True Crime: Streets of LA” and “The Sopranos”, but they once again found themselves searching for a bassist and drummer to provide the key rhythmic assault. Then an amazing opportunity presented itself: a new manager willing to relocate the brothers to Las Vegas, where they would be able to regroup and prepare to begin the battle for survival anew. The necessary elements came together with preternatural speed.

Brian ‘Stitch’ Foster had been playing bass in Los Angeles for several years. Since moving from Ohio he had put in hard time with several promising bands. Unfortunately acts of fate kept these projects from reaching fruition. Those experiences gave him the opportunity to hone his skills: in song craft and in mediating the personality clashes that occur in any band situation. The Tookers knew him through Paige Haley, and after viewing his vicious stage presence, he was also pulled to sin city.

After several auditions and a false start with another drummer, Grade 8 found themselves on a radio show in Modesto, CA. One of the opening acts had a drummer that they were quite impressed with. Phone numbers were exchanged and a year latter the phone call was made. Enter Josh Garcia whose home town is the sleepy valley of Sonora, CA. Josh started playing drums at the tender age of thirteen and was the final ingredient that would allow Grade 8 to move forward.

The four musicians moved into a secluded house in a desert area, building “Fight Club” style bunks to sleep in. They worked on new material for hours every day in the shed they shared with black widows and scorpions. At night they explored America’s largest adult playground. Several months later they had created the songs that comprise their second record, “Resurrection”. Tightly wound tales of desire, adversity, and victory that ooze with the hunger and drive of those that refuse to succumb. From the unstoppable raw thrust of the title track to the eerie ghost town vibe of “Ignore”, Grade 8 presents a dynamic blend of textured rock. “Fallen Angel” is highlighted by Dustin’s creative use of guitar effects and Josh’s unstoppable double kick technique. Ryan’s growth as a vocalist is readily apparent on “Fighting Me”, exploring more melodic territory while retaining the power and flow of previous material. Stitch and Josh form an ultra tight unit, whether laying back into a groove or launching a thrash attack. This wall of sound is complimented by solid songwriting and the lust of those who have fought to survive and demand to thrive.

The trials of the members of Grade 8 have only left them more determined to succeed. More importantly they have led them all to this point. The invisible hand of fate has placed them in a position where their individual talents combine to create an entity much greater than the sum of its parts. With a dynamic sound, a commitment to high energy live spectacle and a solid plan to create a lasting, hard core fan base, Grade 8 are not content to simply survive. They will dominate.

Influences:Sick of it All, Wu Tang C