Jack Grisham

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Jack Grisham
Grisham in 2011
Background information
Birth nameJack Grisham
Also known asJack Loyd Grisham, Jack Loyd Jones, Jack Greggors, Alex Morgan, Jack Ladoga, James DeLauge, Jim Woo, Arthur Chance
Born (1961-07-22) July 22, 1961 (age 59)
Long Beach, California, United States
InstrumentsVocals, piano
Years active1978–present
Associated acts T.S.O.L.
Vicious Circle
Cathedral of Tears
Tender Fury
The Joykiller
Jack Grisham and the West Coast Dukes

Jack Grisham (born July 22, 1961) is an American rock vocalist, musician, raconteur and political activist from Southern California. He is the vocalist for the punk rock band T.S.O.L. (True Sounds of Liberty), which emerged from the late 1970s Los Angeles hardcore punk rock scene, along with Black Flag, Circle Jerks and Bad Religion. Grisham has also fronted the bands Vicious Circle, the Joykiller, Tender Fury and Cathedral of Tears. He records with T.S.O.L., the Joykiller and the Manic Low.



Early life

Jack Grisham was born in Hayward, California, United States, and then moved to Long Beach. Grisham's father, a career military man with 30 years in the Navy and Coast Guard, died in 1984. Grisham's mother was a military housewife. Grisham was one of five children and has an older sister, two older brothers, and a younger sister.

Grisham's older sister was part of the hippie subculture (or as he calls it, "Late 60's protest crap"). As a result, by the time he was six years old, Grisham was reading publications like Fritz the Cat and Zap Comix , and listening to albums by Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention, the Beach Boys, the Ventures, etc. Grisham cites the albums We're Only in it for the Money and Let it Bleed as two of his musical influences.

In his early life, Grisham's family moved back to Long Beach, California. Growing up, he was a rebellious youth heavily into surfing, skateboarding, and in his words "causing trouble." [1]

While in high school, he met future T.S.O.L. drummer Todd Barnes through a girlfriend. Grisham and Barnes became friends, and took off with the girlfriend's guitar and amplifier and began playing around with sounds. In the beginning, Grisham claims, "All we did was make a bunch of noise and yell, "Fuck the neighbors" all day." [1]

Adult life

While in his teens, Grisham started experimenting with mood altering substances. Soon he became addicted to drugs and alcohol. He recalled, "I was a nut. I used to think I didn't have a problem because I didn't shoot up and I didn't take acid." [2]

After several minor tangles with the law stemming from his drug and alcohol abuse, Grisham married a 16-year-old girl in Mexico, which he claims got him on the road to sobriety. When asked how he got sober in a 2008 interview, Grisham said, "Actually, I married an underage girl. I wanted her to get clean. I said I would support her. I was like, "Hey, I'll support you so you can get help. I'll go to the meetings too. Then she ended up leaving and I ended up staying." [2]

Grisham has been sober since January 1989. He has two daughters, Anastasia and Georgia, and resides in Huntington Beach, California with his wife Robin and her/their three children, Dexy, MacGowan and Avalon. [3] When not working on a music project, Grisham writes and practices hypnotherapy.

Vicious Circle

In 1978, Grisham began rehearsing as lead vocalist with future Joneses/The Klan/A.K.A. guitarist Steve Houston (a.k.a. Steve Dead) to form Vicious Circle with bassist Laddy Tirrell and future T.S.O.L. drummer Todd Barnes. Vicious Circle quickly got a following within the beach cities and Los Angeles punk rock scene. Vicious Circle was notorious for Ultra-violence at shows in the early days of punk rock. Grisham is later quoted as saying "Whatever the logic, the Vicious Circle was a maniac attractor." [4]

True Sounds of Liberty (T.S.O.L.)

Childhood friends Grisham and Barnes were joined by Ron Emory and Mike Roche to form T.S.O.L. The original line-up of the band was Grisham on vocals, Ron Emory on guitars, Mike Roche on bass, and Todd Barnes on drums.

T.S.O.L.'s initial line-up gained fans from the hardcore punk, art punk, death punk, deathrock, horror punk, and goth genres. During his time with T.S.O.L., the band was notorious for their controversial, transgressive, and political lyrics. Jack Grisham brought a darker fashion and sound deathrock to the highly political punk rock scene in Southern California, in particular, Long Beach, California painting his face white, dressing in all-black goth clothes and doing photo-shoots in cemetery locations in the dead of night. [6] The True Sounds Of Liberty were among the first waves of Southern California bands which embarked upon Nationwide tours performing "punk rock" and "death rock" music in 1982 [7] and also 1983 [8] along with contemporaries such as Black Flag and the Circle Jerks which embraced D.I.Y. ethos of the early punk rock scene self-financing their concert tours with little to no outside assistance from the record industry.

The original T.S.O.L. broke up on January 9, 1983, following the infamous S.I.R. Studios "Sunset Strip" Riot at a headlining T.S.O.L. show featuring Redd Kross, Social Distortion, Los Olvidados. [9] The space was filled to capacity with fans and punks alike outside the venue when violence ensued. Grisham walked away from the band and violence, which was reaching unprecedented levels. Ron Emory and Mike Roche enlisted vocalist Joe Wood, Grisham's brother-in-law at the time to fill the void left by his absence and drummer Mitch Dean for departing drummer Todd Barnes. They played music that started as punk rock, but, with each new album changed to blues-inspired (hair metal). They spent several years touring and recording under the name T.S.O.L.

The original T.S.O.L. reformed in 1989, but Todd Barnes died of a brain aneurysm in 1999. [10] T.S.O.L. has been touring and recording steadily since 1999.

The Joykiller

Grisham and Ron Emory formed The Joykiller in 1995 along with Billy Persons (The Weirdos/Gun Club) on bass, Ronnie King on keyboards, and Chris Lagerborg on drums. The Joykiller released three albums on Epitaph records prior to disbanding in 1998 and had a minor radio hit in the Netherlands with the song "Go-Bang." They later released their Greatest Non-Hits in 2003.

The Manic Low

In the fall of 2011, Grisham launched into another musical endeavor with his band "the Manic Low". Their debut album, Songs For An Up Day, was released on Moonlight Graham Records in June 2012. [11]


Grisham appeared as himself in the movies American Hardcore and the Geza X film Rage: 20 Years of Punk Rock West Coast Style (2001)(he also wrote the title track "Spit Up the Rage"). In the 1984 Penelope Spheeris film Suburbia , he appeared with T.S.O.L. performing "Wash Away" and "Darker My Love." In (2020) Grisham wrote and directed the short film "288."


In the early years of T.S.O.L., Grisham was an outspoken anarchist, and his lyrics were often highly critical of the government. Songs such as "Abolish Government/Silent Majority," "Peace Thru Power," and "Property Is Theft" were standard in T.S.O.L.'s song sets. [12] Grisham later changed his anti-government stance, stating, "What I realized about anarchy is that we are not responsible enough to be anarchist. There's no way possible. We're not responsible enough to be that. That's a heavy concept." [2]

Grisham was one of 135 candidates who ran for governor in the 2003 California gubernatorial recall election, receiving 2,200 votes. He ran on a social democratic platform as incumbent Democratic governor Gray Davis was recalled. [13] During his campaign, he stressed health care and education, and supported the teaching in school of religious tolerance. [14] A historic concert event featuring The Adolescents, T.S.O.L., Youth Brigade and more was cast in an effort to raise awareness to the campaign on Sunday, October 5, 2003 at the Henry Fonda theater in Los Angeles, California [15]


In 2011, Grisham released his first novel An American Demon: A Memoir . [16] This book has received favorable reviews by several sources. [17] In August 2015 Grisham released A Principle of Recovery: An Unconventional Journey Through the Twelve Steps, a book that walks you through the twelve steps of recovery from Grisham's perspective as a long time person in recovery. [18] Grisham is currently working on an illustrated book of short stories.




Vicious Circle

Vinyl, 12", EP, White Vinyl With Blue Splatter





  • "Anticop" – (2001)



  • 1980 Demo – (1980) [20]

Movie soundtracks

  • Suburbia (1984) Soundtrack
  • American Hardcore: The History Of American Punk Rock 1980–1986
  • Rage: 20 Years of Punk Rock West Coast Style (2001)


  • Suburbia (1984) / a Penelope Spheeris film
  • American Hardcore: The History Of American Punk Rock 1980–1986
  • Rage: 20 Years of Punk Rock West Coast Style (2001)
  • Punks not Dead
  • Let it Rock
  • Live In Hawaii (DVD) – (2004)
  • Live In OC (DVD) – (2001)
  • The Early Years / T.S.O.L. Live MVD release

The Joykiller

Tender Fury

Cathedral of Tears

Jack Grisham/Mike Roche/Ron Emory/Todd Barnes


Rob Dukes, lead singer for the metal band Exodus, did background vocals on the Joykiller albums Static and Three.

The Manic Low

Grisham released, with his group the Manic Low, a 17-song album entitled Songs for an Up Day. The record was released on Moonlight Graham Records in June 2012. The album features Grisham's Joykiller partner, Sean Greaves, on guitar and bass, Rob MiLucky from the Devil's Brigade on guitar and Paul Roessler on keyboards.

Related Research Articles

A vicious circle is a complex of events that reinforces itself through a feedback loop.

T.S.O.L. American punk rock band

T.S.O.L. is an American punk rock band formed in 1978 in Long Beach, California. Although most commonly associated with hardcore punk, T.S.O.L.'s music has varied on each release, including such styles as deathrock, art punk, horror punk and other varieties of punk music.

Ron Emory is an American rock musician and guitarist for the punk rock band T.S.O.L.. An original member of the band, founded in Southern California in 1979, Emory left in 1987 prior to the release of the album Hit and Run. In 1996, he joined the other original members of T.S.O.L. to reform the band, which remains active. Emory worked on a solo project titled Walk That Walk, which was released on April 15, 2010.

<i>Dance with Me</i> (T.S.O.L. album) 1981 studio album by T.S.O.L.

Dance with Me is the first full-length album by the American hardcore punk band T.S.O.L., released in 1981 though Frontier Records. While the band's eponymously titled debut EP, released earlier that year, had been filled with radical leftist lyrics, Dance with Me moved away from politics in favor of horror film- and gothic-inspired subject matter. The album includes T.S.O.L.'s most well-known song, the necrophilia-themed "Code Blue". Following the punk rock revival of the 1990s, Dance with Me was re-released by Epitaph Records in 1996 and by Nitro Records in 2007.

Steve Soto

Steve Soto was an American musician. Soto was a multi-talented instrumentalist, a founding member of California punk rock band Agent Orange in 1979, and a founding member of Adolescents in 1980 performing on bass guitar in both bands. Soto was also a member of Legal Weapon, Joyride, Manic Hispanic and the punk supergroup 22 Jacks. Soto fronted his own band, Steve Soto and the Twisted Hearts and he also became a member of Punk Rock Karaoke in 2001.

The Joykiller are an American punk rock supergroup from Huntington Beach, California, United States. The Joykiller were formed in 1995 by Jack Grisham of T.S.O.L., Billy Persons and Ronnie King. After the formation of the band Jack recruited his ex-T.S.O.L. bandmate Ron Emory on guitar and added Chris Lagerborg on drums. This original line-up recorded one album on Epitaph Records, The Joykiller, before Emory was replaced in 1996.

<i>Weathered Statues</i> 1982 EP by T.S.O.L.

Weathered Statues is an EP by the American hardcore punk band T.S.O.L., released in 1982 through Alternative Tentacles. In comparison to the band's previous material, its experimental nature and melodic leanings confused some of their fans and presaged the creative direction they would take on their second studio album, 1983's Beneath the Shadows. The material from Weathered Statues was later re-released on the compilation albums Thoughts of Yesterday: 1981–1982 (1987) and T.S.O.L. / Weathered Statues (1997).

<i>Beneath the Shadows</i> 1983 studio album by T.S.O.L.

Beneath the Shadows is the second studio album by the American hardcore punk band T.S.O.L., released in 1983 through Alternative Tentacles. With the addition of keyboardist Greg Kuehn to the lineup, the band moved away from punk rock in favor of a gothic rock sound in the vein of later releases by the Damned and Siouxsie and the Banshees songs, alienating much of their hardcore audience in the process. Though the album was critically well received and led to the band being featured in director Penelope Spheeris' film Suburbia, it was largely rejected by their fanbase within the punk scene.

<i>Change Today?</i> 1984 studio album by T.S.O.L.

Change Today? is the third studio album by the American rock band T.S.O.L., released in 1984 through Enigma Records. It was the band's first album with singer/guitarist Joe Wood and drummer Mitch Dean, replacing founding members Jack Grisham and Todd Barnes who had left the band in late 1983. The album was recorded using money loaned to T.S.O.L. by the Dead Kennedys, and found the new incarnation of the band moving away from the hardcore punk associations of the original lineup in favor of a traditional rock and gothic rock sound. Change Today? was reissued in 1999 through the Enigma subsidiary Restless Records, adding four tracks from the recording sessions that had been left off the original album.

<i>An American Demon</i>

An American Demon: A Memoir is a 2011 novel/memoir by Jack Grisham that mixes a detailed account of the author's life until the end of the 1980s with bits of philosophical fiction. The book deals with themes of religion, substance abuse, recovery programs, depression, child abuse, family relationships, punk rock, surfing, and cross dressing.

T.S.O.L. discography

The discography of T.S.O.L., an American punk rock band, consists of eleven studio albums, three live albums, three compilation albums, two EPs, two video albums, three singles, and five music videos.

<i>T.S.O.L.</i> (EP) 1981 EP by T.S.O.L.

T.S.O.L. is the eponymously titled debut EP by the American hardcore punk band T.S.O.L., released in 1981 through Posh Boy Records. Its fast tempos and politically radical lyrics established the band as a major force in the southern California hardcore scene of the time. T.S.O.L. quickly moved away from leftist political subject matter, however, shifting in a gothic rock direction and changing labels to Frontier Records for their full-length album Dance with Me (1981). This led to a dispute with Posh Boy owner Robbie Fields, who claimed the band owed his label another EP. The two parties eventually reached a settlement in which Posh Boy gained the rights to T.S.O.L.'s 1982 EP Weathered Statues, combining it with the debut EP in the 1987 compilation album Thoughts of Yesterday: 1981–1982. Nitro Records purchased the master recordings from Posh Boy in 1997 and re-released the two EPs as the compilation T.S.O.L. / Weathered Statues.

<i>Strange Love</i> (T.S.O.L. album) 1990 studio album by T.S.O.L.

Strange Love is the sixth studio album by the American rock band T.S.O.L., released in 1990 through Enigma Records. It was the band's final studio album to include singer/guitarist Joe Wood and drummer Mitch Dean, and the only one to include guitarist Marshall Rohner. Bassist and sole remaining original member Mike Roche left the group after the recording of Strange Love, reuniting with the rest of the original lineup in 1991. Wood and Dean carried on for a few more years with other members, but Strange Love was a commercial disappointment and the band was eventually dropped from Enigma. In 1999 founding members Roche, Jack Grisham, Ron Emory, and Todd Barnes would win back legal rights to the name "T.S.O.L." from Wood and relaunch the band, taking it back to its punk rock roots.

<i>Live 91</i> 1991 live album by T.S.O.L.

Live '91 is a live album by the American hardcore punk band T.S.O.L., released in 1991 through Triple X Records. It marked a reunion of the band's original lineup of singer Jack Grisham, guitarist Ron Emory, bassist Mike Roche, and drummer Todd Barnes. At the time, the rights to the name "T.S.O.L." were held by Joe Wood and Mitch Dean, who had replaced Grisham and Barnes in 1984 and taken the band in a glam metal direction. Wood legally prevented the original members from using the name for their reunion, so they were billed by their four full names and Live '91 does not carry the name T.S.O.L. on its packaging.

<i>Hell and Back Together: 1984–1990</i> 1992 compilation album by T.S.O.L.

Hell and Back Together: 1984–1990 is a compilation album by the American rock band T.S.O.L., released in 1992 through Restless Records. It includes material from the band's hard rock/glam metal era with singer/guitarist Joe Wood and drummer Mitch Dean, which saw lineup changes resulting in the departure of original members Ron Emory and Mike Roche. It compiles tracks from the albums Revenge (1986), Hit and Run (1987), and Strange Love (1990), two tracks from other compilations, and three songs recorded live for radio station WBCN in Boston. It was the final album released by this incarnation of T.S.O.L.; in 1999 the original lineup of Emory, Roche, Jack Grisham, and Todd Barnes reacquired legal rights to the band's name and relaunched the group with a return to its hardcore punk roots.

Stig Stench is a radio personality For STENCHRADIO.COM.

<i>Divided We Stand</i> (album) 2003 studio album by T.S.O.L.

Divided We Stand is a studio album by the American hardcore punk band T.S.O.L. It was released in 2003 through Nitro Records.

<i>Disappear</i> (album) 2001 studio album by T.S.O.L.

Disappear is a studio album by the American hardcore punk band T.S.O.L., released in 2001 through Nitro Records.

<i>Live from Long Beach</i> 2008 live album by T.S.O.L.

Live from Long Beach is a live album by the American hardcore punk band T.S.O.L., released in 2008 through Cider City Records.

Tender Fury was an American hard rock and punk rock band from Long Beach, CA formed in 1987 and active until their disbandment in 1993. Jack Grisham and Todd Barnes of T.S.O.L. were founding members of Tender Fury, and while Barnes was only active through 1990, Grisham remained the original founding member throughout the band's lifetime. Other prominent members of the band included Hunt Sales, Randy Bradbury, Josh Freese, and Frank Agnew.


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