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The old adage, big things come in small packages definitely rings true for the diminutive musical dynamo, Kathryn Grimm. Small in stature but not talent or drive, Kathryn’s perseverance has earned her admiration worldwide.
Kathryn was born and bred in Seattle, the most boring place on earth before Grunge. Inspired by her two older sisters record collections, she began singing and playing guitar at age 13. She remembers I would sing harmonies to Joni Mitchell for hours. Not being much of a guitarist, I played the same three chords for years, she thought about a career as a studio engineer after high school. She was accepted into the University of Washington’s Musical Engineering program and began working part-time in a recording studio.
Before Kathryn could finish her degree, the University program was dissolved due to a lack of funding. Growing restless with her job, I was treated like a chick; besides, I wanted to be the musician, not the one behind the knobs, she decided to pack her bags and head south. After saying goodbye to family and friends, she loaded her giant, gold 65 Bonneville with all her worldly possessions along with three friends hitching a ride and soon arrived in Los Angeles ready to make her mark.
Kathryn settled in Hollywood, an extreme place compared to Seattle, where life is improvised. She enrolled in a one year guitar trade-school, an experience she calls a big waste of money. I still played the same three chords when I left. Her real musical education came afterwards, when she began playing in a slew of bands. She recalls, Singing came easier than the guitar. I eventually learned how to play from the numerous bands I floated in and out of. Kathryns roller-coaster career as a singer/guitarist was supported by numerous day jobs including everything from waitressing and temp work (the worst), to dancing in videos. Ive had more jobs than my 70 year old mother.
Her musical experiences were as diverse as her jobs. She replaced Rosie Flores as guitarist and songwriter for the notorious all-female Screamin Sirens (Restless Records), a country-punk band known for their heavy partying and crazy antics.
They thought it was odd that I chose working-out over drinking, but I was just happy to be playing my guitar she recalls. She soon formed her own band, Liquid Gnome who played the local clubs extensively eventually winning the L.A. Rock Award for Best Video.
The band featured legendary Columbia Records artist, Jeff Buckley, backing her on guitar and vocals. (After his tragic demise in 97, Kathryn was invited to sing for his Memorial at St. Annes Church in Brooklyn along with Marianne Faithful and Elvis Costello. She refers to that poignant performance as the hardest gig of my life.) Kathryn went on to write, perform, and record with such artists as Bo Diddley, Michael Bolton and others.