Grammas Back Door - Frequently Asked Questions

FAQed Again

Gramma answers some Frequently Asked Questions:

Section 1 - Meta-questions: About the FAQ

Q1.1 - What is a FAQ?

FAQ (pronounced `fak') stands for `Frequently Asked Questions' and is also the name of a type of document on the Web or Usenet that tries to answer common queries so that people don't get sick of them. Many FAQs seem to ask (and answer) questions that no one really ever asks, such as this one.

Q1.2 - Where can I get the Grammas Back Door FAQ?

I've always wondered why so many FAQs include this question, but I didn't want to break with tradition. The answer in this case, as it is so often, is `here'.

Q1.3 - Does an unknown group really need a FAQ?

Well, perhaps not, but nor do many of the things that have FAQs. We've at least tried to make this one slightly entertaining, and to comply with any `truth in advertising' regulations, I have asked myself each of these questions many, many times.

Section 2 - The Name

Q2.1 - Why Grammas Back Door?

Like much of the Grammas Back Door lyrical content, it has a double meaning. In this case, it is intended to convey both child-like innocence and a darker side. For a slightly more wordy description, see the Grammas Back Door Web page given in Question 5.1.

If we have to explain the double meaning, you might as well give up now. You're just not going to get most of our stuff.

Q2.2 - Shouldn't it be spelled `Grandma'?

You call your grandmothers what you want to, and we'll call our grandmothers what we want to. Besides, it's supposed to convey child-like innocence, remember?

Q2.3 - What about the missing apostrophe?

Look, just get off it, okay? Man, some grandparent's grandchildren.

Section 3 - The Material

Q3.1 - Does Humour Belong in Music?

This important question was posed by the late, great Frank Zappa. Well, actually, he asked the more American version, `Does Humor Belong in Music?' Anyway, Zappa answered this question with his music, and while Grammas Back Door does too, since you may never hear our music (unless you download some MP3 files), we'll be a bit more explicit:


Some of our songs try to be serious, but they usually fail.

Q3.2 - What style of music does Grammas Back Door do?

That's a difficult question, not because, as so many artistes would claim, our music transcends traditional categories, but because it jumps around in those categories. Most of the songs could be reasonably filed under Rock/Pop, but some are Polkas, Country Waltzes, Hard Rock, Folk, and so on. I don't think we have any World Music. (What the hell is World Music, anyway? Seems like a pretty broad category.)

Q3.3 - So that means you're a Novelty band?

Well, despite being categorized as Novelty both by Yahoo! and by Bob Gibson's former guitar teacher, we don't think so. Yes, some of the songs are, but not all, and probably not even most.

We like to think of ourselves as novel, but there's a difference.

Q3.4 - What are the songs about?

Life, and the things that matter in it, like sex, drinking, relationships, heart-break, not enough sex, having fun, and so on. Since we are heterosexual males, women are a frequent topic in many of the above subject areas, but we're open-minded so that may change if one of us comes out.

Q3.5 - And you think that's funny?

We think pretty much everything is funny, both the good and the bad. I mean, you could get really distraught and kill yourself whenever anything bad happened, or you could laugh and write a song about it. The latter seems much more conducive to a longer, if not happier, life.

Q3.6 - Aren't some of your songs offensive?


Grammas Back Door is, well, irreverent to say the least. As explained in Question 3.5, we will poke fun at just about anything. We have no sacred cows. Our songs also deal with what might be called mature subject matter (or immature subject matter, depending on the song), and may contain language not suitable for all listeners.

Or to put it another way: due to songwriter indiscretion, listener discretion is advised.

Q3.7 - Are the songs `true'?

Well, we'd be lying if we claimed that any resemblance to persons living or dead was purely a coincidence, but most of them are not literally true. Most have some basis in truth, either in the characters, or the story, or the theme, but overall they should be considered fictional. Much like the Bible, only the Bible has more sex than most of our songs. (I think we can get away with that, because we just warned you in Question 3.6 that we were irreverent.)

Q3.8 - How do you go about writing songs?

There's a vague description of the process called `How a Song is Born' in the section `Inside Grammas Back Door' on the Web page listed in Question 5.1.

Section 4 - The People

Q4.1 - Who was Grammas Back Door?

Grammas Back Door was Bruce Armstrong and John R. MacMillan. For the most part, Bruce was the musical component, both composing and performing the songs, and John wrote lyrics. There was some cross-pollination, though; Bruce penned a few songs, and John has been drunk enough to sing on a couple.

Q4.2 - How did Grammas Back Door form?

For a history of Grammas Back Door, see `The Story of Grammas Back Door' in the section `Inside Grammas Back Door' on the Web page listed in Question 5.1.

Q4.3 - Why didn't you get a real band?

We did this for fun, for our own enjoyment, so we never really much interest in playing it for other people. Bruce played in other bands to get that jones. If you like it, great, if not, we don't care. If we had run into a whole band's worth of people with whom we thought we could get along, and who likewise thought they could get along with us, we'd have considered it, but it never happened.

Section 5 - The Web Pages

Q5.1 - Is Grammas Back Door on the Web?

Yes. As far as I know, that's the only way you could be reading this, but just in case it escaped somehow, check out:

Q5.2 - Why is the Web page so lame?

Most Web pages suck, regardless of how flashy they may appear at first glance (see C J Silverio's rant Why the web sucks, II or Web Pages That Suck by Vincent Flanders for details). I'm a firm believer in content on the Web (by which I mean that's what should be on the Web, not what is), so we've tried to focus on that instead of gratuitous bandwidth-wasters like Java applets and image maps, and annoyances like frames. And besides, I am not a visual designer, so even if I tried for flash it would probably look like shit (perhaps, if I was lucky, I might at least get flashy shit).

Look at it this way: would you rather you had to wait for several hundred kilobytes of graphics and applets to download before you decided you really didn't really give a shit about Grammas Back Door?

Yes, it's a lost cause, but we're not giving up yet.

Q5.3 - Why does `Web' always start with a capital?

We're not sure. Perhaps because people think it's so Fucking Important.

Section 6 - The Product

Q6.1 - So, do you really have songs, or just bad Web pages?

Yes, we really have songs, on four independently produced cassettes (since converted to CD) and one independently produced CD. You can hear most of the songs (in MP3 format), and learn more about the CDs in the Grammas Back Door Discography. Both of these are hanging somewhere off the Web page listed in Question 5.1 if you can't get to them from here.

Q6.2 - Can I get the tapes?

Well, first off, they are now CDs not tapes. That said, they're not commercially available; so far we've just given them away to friends and former friends. Thanks to the glories of digital music, though, you can now get the songs at the website (see Question 5.1). In the unlikely event that you're still interested the CDs after hearing them, send e-mail to gramma c/o and we'll try to work something out.