Interview: Wes Grissom of Ancient Sins

Ancient Sins is a rock/metal project founded in 2008 by vocalist/guitarist Wes Grissom while deployed overseas. Taking various music and lyrics that Wes had written over the years, the band put together its debut album Never Back Down, which was released in 2018. Since then, life has been hectic, especially given the standstill caused by Covid, but Ancient Sins is coming back strong. Not only has Wes played shows with the likes of Quiet Riot, Powerman 5000, and Saving Abel, he has also been working on Ancient Sins’ sophomore record.

I recently had the chance to speak with Wes about his start in music, his various influences, his writing process, and the new music on the horizon.


MM: First and foremost, how would you describe Ancient Sins’ sound? Who are your major influences?

WG: When I was working on [the debut album] Never Back Down, everything was led by Alter Bridge. One Day Remains was the record that kick-started me back into playing guitar. Other bands that influenced me during that record cycle were Nightwish, Shinedown, Hammerfall, and Disturbed. Now, with the new album, I’m still heavily influenced by Alter Bridge, and Tremonti, as well as Five Finger Death Punch and some instrumental metalcore. It’s really a mix of everything I listen to.

MM: You said One Day Remains got you “back” into playing guitar. When did you first start?

WG: I wanted to play as early as 3rd grade. I told my mom I wanted to play guitar in the after-school band and she said no, so I started on classical instruments. I didn’t really start on guitar until I was 16. I had played a couple of times before that, but I didn’t get my first guitar until right after my 16th birthday.

MM: And what made you want to play to begin with?

WG: It was actually an old VHS of Garth Brooks live in concert. I don’t remember the title, but it was in the early 90s – ’93 or ’94 – when Ty England was his guitarist. That dude was phenomenal and was ultimately who got me interested in playing. The one who ignited the fire later on, who got me back into it, was Mark Tremonti [Creed, Alter Bridge, Tremonti].

MM: Did you always want to be a vocalist as well?

WG: I always enjoyed singing. I used to sing on the way to and from work because I had an hour’s drive each way. When I was starting Ancient Sins, I did put out some feelers for a vocalist because there was a certain style and range I was looking for. I wanted that upper tenor range, and I kinda had it; I’m getting better at it. Eventually, I decided “if you want it done right, you’ve gotta do it yourself,” so I took on the role.

MM: Who are your vocal influences?

WG: Myles Kennedy [Alter Bridge, Slash] is my primary influence now. Back in the day, it was the metal singers of the 80s: Bon Jovi, Dio, Steve Perry [Journey], etc.

MM: I can certainly hear their influence on songs such as “Curse the Rain” and the title track from Never Back Down. Now, let’s move along to your third role, songwriting. What is your process?

WG: I piece the songs together like a puzzle. I write sections – the chorus, a verse, a bridge – and then, based on the song title or the licks I have at the time, I decide which direction the song goes in from there. Is it going to be a melodic journey, a down-and-dirty, fast, heavy riff, or is it something that will repeatedly take a new shape until it gets where I want it. I want to be different, but at the same time I want my songs to be something people can latch on to in their own lives. I may be able to bring somebody a form of solace.

MM: I know a lot of artists let what’s happening in the world bleed into their lyrical content, while others pointedly attempt to avoid it. For you, personally, where do you draw your inspiration for songs?

WG: Life, in general. Life experiences. Situations we’ve all been in – relationships, a death in the family, things like that. I’m slowly developing a good way to convey my message to the audience in a way they can connect with. I’m gradually doing it better.

MM: You recently played with Powerman 5000. What was that like, and do you have any more upcoming shows?

WG: Playing with Powerman 5000 was an absolute honor. All of them were humble dudes, and it was a trip hanging out with them and talking. Not even talking shop, just talking like regular individuals. Filling the opening slot for that show was an incredible experience, and it was my biggest crowd to date.

I was also direct support for Saving Abel earlier this month, and had a show with Firing All Cylinders and Deep Within. We’re trying to solidify dates for the Showcase Showdown in Vegas, an experience I won from ITNS radio, but I haven’t been given the exact date I’ll play yet.

MM: You have mentioned your new album a few times during this conversation. Tell me a little bit about that, and how soon can we expect a single?

WG: Initially we were looking at a single this month [Nov. ’22] and the album release in December. However, Paul, who is stepping in to play drums on the new album, as well as producing it, has been on tour with Dead Original and Smells Like Nirvana for the last three months. We had to push everything back. Right now, tentatively, probably February 2023 for the album release. Once we complete the record, we will decide which song will be the lead single. I might pull an Alter Bridge and release the title track as a lyric video before sharing the official first single. I’ll keep you updated.

MM: Great! I definitely look forward to it, and we’ll have to chat again when the album drops. Thank you so much for your time.


To keep up with all things Ancient Sins, be sure to follow the various AS accounts across social media, and check out Never Back Down on your favorite streaming service.


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