The Grinch has been good to Harrisburg’s Small Town Titans.
The band’s heavy-metal rendition of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” has reached No. 5 on the iTunes U.S. Rock Songs chart - currently, as of Nov. 29, sandwiched between Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust” and “Radio Ga Ga,” respectively — and has racked up more than 17 million views on Facebook. Earlier this week, the single caught the attention of Billboard.com.
Drummer Jonny Ross, during a Thursday phone interview, said Thursday, he and his bandmates are still wrapping their heads around the exposure and success of the single. (The group is rounded out by guitarist Ben Guiles and vocalist-bassist Phil Freeman.)
“It’s been surreal. It happened so fast,” Ross said. “You can’t even (stop to) smell the roses yet. What we accomplished in a week, there are not really words for it.”
Small Town Titans’ spin on the Christmas classic is featured on their EP, The Hybrid Sessions. The album, which also includes a cover of Soundgarden’s “Spoonman,” was released in July.
The Hybrid Sessions was recorded a year earlier, in July 2017, at Hybrid Studios in Lower Nazareth Township and was produced and mixed by Hybrid Studios owner Kevin Soffera. Soffera also produced Small Town Titans’ 2016 full-length studio album, Reflection.
“The record really showcases the band in their element and I think we captured that sonically and visually,” Soffera said Wednesday. “It’s been a pleasure to work with these guys in my studio and I look forward to what the future holds for them.”
Ross said the band’s advisor suggested adding a Christmas song to the EP, so the band chose a tune they had covered years earlier during a holiday party performance for radio station 105.7 The X. For the EP, the band brought in a videographer to film the recording and in turn create a music video for each track that could be then published on their various social media accounts.
The group’s cover of “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” was originally posted to YouTube in December 2017. However, Ross said the band decided to revisit the song this year with heavier social media promotion. The clip was published on the Small Town Titans Facebook page on Nov. 17.
“It just started to snowball,” Ross said. “These new people are truly becoming fans; they’re going and listening to the other songs and watching other videos.”
The members of Small Town Titans met while attending Lebanon Valley College. Ross said the trio’s chemistry was evident the first time they jammed together. “It just clicked right there. We thought, ‘Well, that was cool, let’s do that again,’ and we just kept going,” Ross said.
Seven-and-a-half years later, the band continues to focus on their music and growing fanbase. That includes dropping a new video on their social media channels every Wednesday. “For us, it’s about engaging with the fans we’re making… The fans come first,” Ross said. “We’re just going to keep doing what we do.”
In addition to being a producer, Soffera handles drums for dance-rock outfit Thunk. Soffera, a native of Easton, has also recorded and toured with national recording artists Breaking Benjamin and Seether.
“Kevin’s energy is infectious. He’s a real good dude,” Ross said. “The vibe just fit. He knew what we wanted to do and make it sound the way we wanted it to sound. It was a natural fit to go back in for the EP.”
“You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” was composed for and featured in the 1966 animated special How the Grinch Stole Christmas. The special has been remade as a 2000 live-action film starring Jim Carrey; an animated feature-length film, The Grinch — featuring the voices of Benedict Cumberbatch, Rashida Jones, and Pharrell Williams — was released earlier this month.