A Conversation with Stump Grinder | Local Vocal | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

A Conversation with Stump Grinder

Stump Grinder is a local death metal/grind core band that was founded in 1992 by Dan and Dave Hopfer, 33, fraternal twins who run a landscaping company during the day to fund their musical careers.

What's grind core?

Dan: It's a groovier style of death metal, the kind you can snap your fingers to, the kind that makes you want to dance. We're not pure death. We've got grind core rhythms that will move your hips, baby.

How did you come up with the name Stump Grinder?

Dave: My dad used to sell food-processing equipment for Giant Eagle. He was a top salesman, and his favorite piece of equipment was the meat grinder. Then in 1992, I was watching the Jeffrey Dahmer trials on TV -- you know how he was prosecuted for eating people? -- and at the bottom of the screen they scrolled the definition of a stump as decapitated torso, no limbs. The prosecutor asked him what he did with the stumps, and he was like, "I ate them." So meat grinders, stumps -- it all evolved into Stump Grinder. The irony is that I grind stumps, as a landscaper, as a day job.

What are your songs about?

Dan: Stuff that we see every day that disgusts us. We wrote a song about fast-food addiction called "Artery Idiots," and another about obesity called "Blubber Sufferers." We have a song about teenage-pregnancy syndrome called "After Birth," one about anorexia called "Skele-Christ," and there's another song about bulimia, too.

You guys are like feminists.

Dave: Most of our songs are about ugly, beautiful disgusting women -- every kind of woman. We wrote one song, "Polymer Soul," which is about the plastic, materialistic lifestyles of women.
Patrick: It's about women who drive their BMW convertibles and talk on their cell phones, and when you're like, "Hi! Isn't it a lovely day?" they're like, "Fuck you, asshole!"

But really you love women.

Dave: Oh yeah. They're my life.

What else do you write about?

Dan: We write songs about other stuff, too. "Septic Skunk" is a comparison between the human body and the planet Earth, and "Rigor Mortis Grandmother," about the corruption of old-age facilities. Why send your parents to the fucking dog pen when they could spend their dying days at home with you?

Are there other rock 'n' roll twins you've been compared to, say, the Nelsons?

Dan: The last person who did that got his face smashed in with a bottle.

You're releasing a CD this year?

Dan: Very soon. It's a split CD with a band called Prosthetic Cunt. It will have a global release -- Europe, Asia, Canada, even Indonesia will get it.

Do you ever fight about your music?

Dan: Only the brothers fight, really. Twin rivalry. But our demeanors keep things together. Let's just say there's a constant flow of damage incorporated. We've hurt each other before -- we've even broken up. But our mature outlook on one another brings us back together. We started playing when I was 21. Now I'm 33. I love these guys.

Do you play any other music besides death metal?

Dave: I play acoustic sets for hippie weddings. A lot of John Denver, Bob Dylan, Neil Young. I do it to make money, keep my anxiety levels down, for the free beer, and to keep my heart as big as the moon -- for my lovers.

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