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Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States

Grand Rapids, Michigan, United States
Band Rock Alternative


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"Compelling new album from Grand Rapids artist"

The music: Welcome to the most interesting grrRoPoLis project yet and one of 2011’s best local releases. This insanely creative bunch uncorks a rock tour de force: Think edgy Modest Mouse on steroids taking a psychedelic voyage to visit the Pixies. Or something. It makes for one fine, unpredictable trip. They play a CD-release show with Alexis on April 7 at Founders Brewing.
Get it: After April 7 at Vertigo Music, - - John Sinkevics

"Local Spins of the Week - grrRoPoLis"

Michael Cunningham, Dustin Anderson, Ryan Eardley and Eric Deacon of Grand Rapids rock band grrRoPoLis unabashedly cite and embrace their influences: Classic rock, punk, pop, hip-hop. Neil Young, Pixies, Big Daddy Kane, Ween, Nick Cave, Talking Heads, White Stripes.

Consequently, the inventive band's latest album, “Boof,” (think Batman's “Pow” and “Bam” sound effects) takes a little bit here and a little bit there to create a singularly rich, psychedelic and sometimes experimental form of rock. Boofy, indeed. 'Sound Check' today explores the track, “Henweigh,” for your listening pleasure.

Along with Fay Neilsen, who handles visuals for the band's shows, grrRoPoLis will celebrate the release of its new CD with a performance at 9:30 p.m. April 7 at Founders Brewing Co.
- - John Sinkevics

"A little less grain alcohol a little more fun"

Let me take inventory while I piece back together the bits of brain I have left from my interview: J-Lo is talent-less and needs an auto-tuner constantly; a wife beater that didn't know who won WWII and plays the hell out of Calypso-Reggae; a rigorous Catholic schooling; a $25.00 Madrid-made acoustic guitar purchased in Panama over 30 years ago…

What on Earth could these things relate to? Michigan's best-kept musical secret: Indie-Rock's grrRoPoLis. If you are into 60's British Blues, Talking Heads, Pixies, or Modest Mouse, you'll love these guys. But before you run down to your local record dealer, you won't find grrRoPoLis in the "Big, Fuzzy Conglomerate of Weird-Ass Shit" aisle-although vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Michael states that is how he'd define the duo.

Michael F. H. Cunningham and Ryan Eardley became buddies in high school. Michael, raised on hip-hop, played Church music and then floated around open mics with a family heirloom guitar from Panama, honing his wheezy-screaming vocals and learning by ear. Ryan traveled the world, from seedy L.A. to the smoky pubs of Ireland, discovering he'd be damned to the life of a businessman, only to sit down and pick up the bass to stave off any possibility of bourgeois sloth.

Over the past five years, grrRoPoLis has been touring open mics across the states, culminating in a band affirming and stage stealing set at Kim Dawson's (of the Moldy Peaches) renowned NYC Sidewalk Café. According to the boys, it reenergized the duo after playing for a more-than-very receptive crowd and fueling their euphonious perfection.

Luckily, I have been privy to three of their latest song workings on an Indie-EP aptly titled 3. After one listening, my first thought? Why isn't this being played on the air? Mama Sita kicks off slow, slogging into Cunningham's muddied vocals and into a howling blues-rock standard that national alternative radio stations ought to play. Dirty D is what Robin Trower should have done with his Bridge of Sighs. Jacket Around sounds as if it was stolen from a yet to be discovered Ween album, only to be peppered with Captain Beefheart.

grrRoPoLis' first album is being finished at Soundwerks Studios with Chris Morse and Pat Wieland (of Lazy Genius) sharing drumming duties while engineer Nate Mehren heads the controls. In the meantime, make a trip to Pet the Warrior's Accoustic Love. This is a monthly forum for acoustic music hosted by Pet the Warrior (Cunningham's alter ego) every month at Quinn & Tuites on the Northeast end of Grand Rapids. Sample some of Cunningham's eccentric MC skills and have a beer with Ryan since it may be late spring before we take residency in grrRoPoLis and uncover more mysteries of the universe. As for the Calypso-Reggae wife beating WWII ignoramus and J-Lo's vocal affliction? Ask Ryan if you dare…
- Annex 22

"grrRoPoLis - Finding Their Footing"

grrRoPoLis plays Friday in Break Room
Thursday, December 06, 2007
By Tricia Woolfenden
The Grand Rapids Press
GRAND RAPIDS -- It's hard not to be curious when a band refers to its show as "controlled insanity on stage."

And that's just the way grrRoPoLis lead singer/guitarist Michael Cunningham probably likes it. The Grand Rapids four-piece is a conglomeration of styles and ideas, culminating in what Cunningham calls "great chemistry."

Things weren't always this way for the mixed rock act, which conjures up comparisons to the Pixies and White Stripes. Born from a 10-year friendship between Cunningham and bassist/backing vocalist Ryan Eardley, grrRoPoLis started playing publicly in 2004.

The first incarnation leaned heavily toward "tropical, Calypso," due in no small part to the presence of a reggae musician in the band.

As time wore on, the band changed directions, musicians came and went, lineups changed, etc. Today, the band has found a comfortable mix of four friends -- Eardley, Cunningham, guitarist/keyboardist/backing vocalist Dustin Anderson and drummer Pat Wieland -- to fill out the lineup.

"Everyone in the band is the reason it works so well," Cunningham said. "As a four-piece, we've found our footing."

"We were talking recently about how lucky we were to link up together. ... If something doesn't feel right, we don't do it."

All of the personnel changes helped the band reap huge artistic benefits, Cunningham said.

"We have all these songs that we're itching to record," he said.

Cunningham said with Wieland and Anderson -- both of whom have other musical projects -- in the band, the creative output has increased.

"They are both amazing songwriters in their own right," Cunningham said, adding he's happy to share songwriting duties. "Now it's not just me (and my songs) on stage."

Plenty of talent

Everyone's talents are on display in the band's recently released "Id y Bonobo," a 10-song album that features more than the men of grrRoPoLis.

"We basically put the kitchen sink in," Cunningham said.

The album -- a fitting example of the band's raw, left-of-center rock sound -- comes with lots of guest musicians and vocalists and help from local mixer/producer Nate Mehren. The final product was a labor of love, Cunningham said.

"We spent some time on it," he said, adding the band plans to hit the road to promote the work.

"(Mehren) pushed us in directions we haven't gone before. ... It's the first thing we've felt happy about putting shrink wrap on."
- The Grand Rapids Press

"Id y Bonobo Recoil Review"

December 2007

From the fall of ‘06 to the summer of ’07, grrRoPoLis recorded at Soundwerks Records what has turned out to be a fairly accessible rock ‘n’ roll record. With a self-declared list of influences which includes Ween and the old sitcom Perfect Strangers, a sense of “anything goes” permeates the record, lending itself to experimental yet uncannily good musical choices. Sometimes comedic but never veering into cartoonish, the songs come off with a good natured musical vibe without sounding contrived or forced. The disc travels to some strange places, but is well focused and deserves a listen. See for a listen. — Ryan Cunningham - Recoil Review

"Sound Checks -John Sinkevics"

First up, Sound Check shines the spotlight on grrRoPoLis, an oddly named but endlessly inventive Grand Rapids rock band that'll keep you engaged and thinking. Give a listen to "Fish Out of Water" from the group's latest oddly titled CD, "Id y Bonobo." More stuff about the band online at - Sound Checks -John Sinkevics

"Grand Rapids Press - Id y Bonobo Review"

What this Grand Rapids band lacks in capitalization skills it more than makes up for with raw, inventive rock that at times recalls The Pixies and at others, on '80's avant-garde outfit or maybe John Cale, Elliot Smith or Patti Smith, Billed as a "showtunes/Zouk/tropical" band, it distinguishes itself on "Thinking in Drum Time," "Fish Out of Water" and "Dance with Me" - Grand Rapids Press

"GrrRoPoLis interview by Nick Stephenson"

Grand Rapids rockers GrrRoPoLis could have an "R" in their name for each incarnation the band has gone through since high school friends Michael Cunningham and Ryan Eardley started jamming together. There was the short-lived reggae cover project.


Then the time they spent without a committed drummer.


And now, finally, a stable lineup that includes a "noisemaker."


Cunningham obviously wishes he hadn't gone through these transitions, but he told Recoil it's been worth it to find the right blend of personalities. One could open a new label with a dime for every local band that's split up because this mix proved caustic.

GrrRoPoLis will release their first full-length album later this month. It's a combination of their two EPs, "Werk in Prague" and "3," plus four or five new songs. The band draws comparisons to The White Stripes, Modest Mouse and, occasionally, Alabama. Cunningham said he couldn't quite wrap his mind around that last one.

"We're excited about it," he said of the album in a voice that sounded anything but. That's not skepticism; the man just doesn't have a very dynamic conversational voice. It's a quality that suits him well as lead singer, however, and perhaps it's this relaxed soulfulness that conjures thoughts of Jack White.

Cunningham and Eardley graduated together from Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School. Cunningham had moved from the Tide Water area of Virginia his senior year, and credits Eardley for making this transition a bit easier, and for turning him from hip-hop to rock.

In 2004 they began playing with a calypso guitarist who continually looked to turn their sound more tropical, while they just wanted to rock out. Breaking up proved hard to do, but they tried to approach it professionally.

"It felt kind of scammy, and slimy," Cunningham said. "We didn't really want to do it, but at the same time we didn't really want the person in the band anymore. We had reasons beyond reasons to do what we did." Fist fights and late-night, drunken stalking are amongst the accusations he alleged, so they just went to rehearsal one day and gathered their gear.

Pat Wieland is the band's new drummer – replacing Cunningham's brother-in-law Casey Chervenka – and Dustin Anderson has been added on guitars and "noise." Lyrically, Cunningham said he comes from the Beck Hanson school of writing: instead of trying to find the right metaphors to create brilliant and meaningful pieces of art, he keeps it simple. Like Beck, the band has been received well amongst anti-folksters, and the band frequently plays Lach's Anithoot in New York City – a cafe known for its anti-folk scene.

The band's next step may be abroad. Through active networking on, they've found many friends that promise gigs in England, Belgium and the Netherlands. Two months ago Recoil featured an article about the young rockabilly act Al and The Black Cats, a local band who had great success overseas before playing significantly in Michigan. Cunningham said he hopes to follow that course, and feels there is much more appreciation in Europe for sounds that are a beat left of normal.

"Ryan continually reminds me how many friend requests we get, you know, from English people and people in France and people in Belgium," he said. "It's really pretty cool – we feel like we stuck the knife up the ketchup bottle and it just started to pour out."

This move may be a year away, however. Visit the band's web site,, to learn about gigs they've scheduled for this fall, and for information on how to get their album.

August 2007 - Recoil

"grrRoPoLis plays album-release show at Founders Brewery for Cedar Rock Basement Project Volume 2"

GRAND RAPIDS -- grrRoPoLis has been around since 2004, and people are still perplexed by what sort of label to put on the band's music.

"When we originally started making music ... the first genre to be thrust upon us was 'modern beatnik,' said singer-guitarist Michael Cunningham. "I would never have put us in that but I get it, since we're such a hodge-podge."

grrRoPoLis began as a duo of Cunningham and pal bassist Ryan Eardley, but both the band's roster and sound have grown and transformed.

The inventive indie-rock band now includes Dustin Anderson on guitar and synth, Eric Deacon on percussion, and visual artist and video producer Fay Nielsen.

Deacon is the most recent addition to the band, which has undergone a complete overhaul of its sound and songwriting since he joined more than a year ago. The band is recording an album scheduled for a late-September release.

"I think that this new album is going to surprise people, pleasantly," Deacon said.

grrRoPoLis will be playing tonight's album-release show at Founders Brewing Co. for the Cedar Rock Basement Project Volume 2, a collaborative songwriting and recording project that features 17 Grand Rapids musicians and was produced by Anderson.


When: 9 tonight
Where: Founders Brewing Co., 235 Grandville Ave. SW
Also performing: Claire Fisher, Pistolbrides, Lazy Genius, DJ Mister Squid
Admission: Free

The first volume of the Cedar Rock Basement Program made it onto Grand Rapids Press music critic John Sinkevics' year-end Top 10 list of best albums of 2007.

"That's the only reason I did this one. As soon as people heard it, they wanted to be on this next one," Anderson said.

The release show also will feature Claire Fisher, Pistolbrides and Lazy Genius, all of whom contributed to the Cedar Rock album.

"There will definitely be collaborations, but each band will be playing an original set, with their Cedar Rock songs interspersed," Anderson said.

Throughout the entire show, Nielsen will be providing visuals, which have become an integral part of grrRoPoLis' live shows.

"I try to do something difficult every time we play," Nielsen said. "I use a lot of stock footage, and footage we've filmed. Basically everything we play is played live, and I use a lot of different processes and filters, so it's never the same show twice."
- Grand Rapids Press

"In the Studio with grrRoPoLis"

Surrounded by computers, drums, guitars and assorted art-making accoutrement, the five members of grrRoPoLis seemed entirely in their element - and specifically excited about talking at length regarding their plans for the new CD which is to be released in March.
Still in the pre-production phase creating demo recordings and polishing up the songs for what is to be the first official release in the band's current lineup, the members of grrRoPoLis are highly confident in their new material, having scrapped all 40 of their previously written songs after recently solidifying the band roster (embodying the philosophy that "new band = new songs"), and is very much looking forward to working with engineer Matt Ten Clay at Skull Studio.
"I think that anybody who comes across these new songs is going to love grrRoPoLis- I feel very comfortable about this material," said Percussionist Eric Deacon.
A tour is currently being planned for early 2010 to support the album, and there is every indication that the band members are being mindful of how they are handling their business.
"I feel like I've picked up a few tricks of the trade. Our approach to this coming CD will be in a much more professional manner, and we look forward to expanding it and really getting it out there," said Michael Cunningham, guitarist and co-founder of the group with Bassist Ryan Eardley.
In addition to the attention to marketing and songwriting, the band is also consciously pushing what it can do artistically. Augmenting the music with the video art of Fay Nielsen is increasingly becoming a key element to the band's identity on stage, and may become even more so in the world of digital media.
"We expect at least half the songs will have videos," said Dustin Anderson, guitarist. Anderson (aka Dust A.C. of Severed Records and the Cedar Rock Basement Program) also very much hopes to have vinyl of the new album available.
This band seems to be out to create itself as the best thing it possibly can, and its enthusiasm is infectious. Obviously enjoying the hell out of themselves and savoring every detail and point of pride in being in a band, there is an air of reverence in each of grrRoPoLis' members - a great reminder to all musicians to be thankful for what they are able to do, which so many people are unable to experience.
- Revue

"Cleveland Rock Review - Patrick Leigh"

Opening the show was a band from Grand Rapids, Michigan called The Montana Boys. The MB's sound exactly like you'd think they would based on that name, combining everything from blues rock, alternative, modern-rock, and a dash of country all tossed into a blender. A 45 minute set entertained the house filled with what sounded like a lot of family friends for them as well. (Grand Rapids being about a 4 hours drive from downtown Cleveland)

(Montana Boys note - We didn't have any family at the show) -

"Montana Boys Review - In Plug Magazine"

Did they really just name check Doogie Howser and his buddy? They sure did! Grand Rapids, Michigan's garage rockers the Montana Boys only know one volume and that's loud. The five-piece give the impression they are barely keeping it together as they roll out trippy, buzzing electric guitar and loose indie rock sounds that wanders all over the place.

Sounds Like: Indie/garage rock that can't be tamed

Key Tracks: "Like I Do (Mr. Rastafarian)" - In Plug Magazine - Philadelphia

"Boston Globe review of Montana Boys"

With bandanas and beards, the Montana Boys looked like they might have opened for the Marshall Tucker Band. Looks can be deceiving. The quintet delivered an intriguing set of quirky indie rock that owed much to Television (yelping Tom Verlaine-esuqe vocals? Check. Angular guitar solos? Check.) and plain old television, with songs dedicated to small-screen icons like Tony Danza and "Doogie Howser."
<br />
By Jonathan Perry Boston Globe Correspondent / June 7, 2008 - Boston Globe

"Montana Boys Album Review"

Two seconds into "the Big One", off the debut from Montana Boys, the sky opens up wide, as if the traded-off harmonica and clean-guitar licks can cross clouds and transport listeners to some mountaintop. Looking down from there, the band's original sound spreads out, grabbing little bits from just about everywhere. A classic rock touch here, some indie sensibility there ("Making Me Sick" featuring guest vocalist Claire Fisher), or even a freaked out jam or two ("Like I Do [Mr. Rastafarain]"), the band of longtime underground GR musicians meets music lovers where they are. Besides mountain-sized musical range, the band also brings a live feel to the set without sacrificing sound quality. Hear five of the eight songs now at - Eric Mitts - Recoil Magazine

"Grand Rapids Press - Album Review"

Welcome to West Michigan's version of Modest Mouse, David Byrne, and The Pixies, even if the bands cites another state. I guess it makes sense, Michael Cunningham, Pat Wieland, Dustin Anderson & Ryan Eardley churn out inventive, cutting edge, indie rock thats way out there. Kind of like Montana. - Grand Rapids Press - John Sinkevics


"Werk in Prague" EP/Demo - grrRoPoLis - Spring 2005
"grrRoPoLis SUCKS! Live" - grrRoPoLis - Winter 2006
"The Montana Boys" EP/Demo - The Montana Boys - Winter 2006
"3" EP/Demo - grrRoPoLis - Fall 2006
"Id y Bonobo" - grrRoPoLis - September 2007
Cedar Rock Basement Program - Compilation - Fall 2007
"Montana Boys" - Montana Boys - Spring 2008
"Travoltas" EP - Montana Boys - Fall 2008
"Bonobos" - grrRoPoLis - Spring 2009
Cedar Rock Basement Program: Volume II - Compilation - Summer 2010
"Boof" - Spring 2011



grrRoPoLis has evolved numerous times during the past four years. High school friends, Michael Cunningham and Ryan Eardley, have been playing music with each other since 2000. Dustin Anderson has been recording and playing live for over a decade, releasing 12 solo albums as Dust A.C. He also has been recording and playing live in Mitchell, Jason’s Trash, Moss and The Cedar Rock Basement Program. Eric Deacon has been contributing to the Grand Rapids musical scene for several years including as a member of Polynomial Operations and Gauss and work with End Times Orchestra and Wickerbasket. Fay Nielson combines his technological expertise with his visual imagination to provide a beautiful visual landscape during the set.

Michael and Ryan both moved back to Grand Rapids in late 2003 and decided to again join musical forces. They started the band grrRoPoLis in 2004. In late 2004 on the advice of Kimya Dawson they went to New York to play Lach’s acclaimed Anithoot. The amazing reception motivated the duo to expand their sound by adding Casey Chervenka on drums and to start playing move live shows. In early 2006 the desire to consistently play more led Michael to find Dustin Anderson.

grrRoPoLis continued to attack the Midwest and East Coast playing several successful shows in Chicago, Philadelphia, New York, and Detroit and throughout West Michigan. In early 2008 a demo found its way to Kim and Kelly Deal of The Breeders to see if they were interested in the band opening for them. Kim and Kelly had listened to over 60 bands before hearing the demo. Upon hearing the demo The Breeders extended the invitation to open their entire national tour.

In early 2009 Ryan, Dustin, and Michael started jamming with Eric Deacon on drums. Their previous drummer, Pat Wieland, wanted to concentrate on leading his own band. Eric’s mix of electronic and acoustic drums allowed the band to explore new musical soundscapes. The band wanted to explore the visual aspect of their live performance and asked Fay Nielson to add projected visuals syncopated to the music and to help with other live performance ideas. Each show is unique. You will just have to come to the show to find out what is next.

Each member brings different musical backgrounds and influences. Bent on embracing the past, as well as, exploring new sounds, new places, and new experiences, grrRoPoLis strives to push the envelope and observe the delicate balance of the sacred and the profane, balance in song.

grrRoPoLis has had the privilege to play hundreds of shows over the past few years. Here are a few of the venues we have played:

• 9:30 Club – Washington DC
• Webster Hall – New York
• Toads Place – New Haven, CN
• First Avenue – Minneapolis
• Ogden Theater - Denver
• The Fillmore – Philadelphia
• The Metro – Chicago
• Paradise Rock Room – Boston
• House of Blues - Cleveland
• Magic Stick – Detroit
• Emerald Theater – Detroit
• Pearl Street – Northampton, MA
• Sidewalk Café – New York
• The Fire – Philadelphia
• The Strutt – Kalamazoo, MI
• The Cave – New York
• Midpoint Music Festival – Cincinnati, OH
• Weathly Theater – Grand Rapids, MI
• Lemonjellos – Holland, MI
• Dreamland Theater – Ypsilanti, MI
• Founders Brewery – Grand Rapids, MI
• Mac’s Bar – Lansing, MI
• The Bob – Grand Rapids, MI
• Mejier Gardens Ampitheater – Grand Rapids
• Corner Bar – Kalamazoo, MI
• Way Side West – Kalamazo, MI
• The Intersection – Grand Rapids, MI
• Billy’s – Grand Rapids, MI
• Union Station – Traverse City
• Swing State - Chicago
• The Bro Shop – Big Rapids, MI
• Club Rox – Alma, MI
• Local First Festival – Grand Rapids
• Avenue of Arts Festival – Grand Rapids
• Vertigo Festival – Grand Rapids