dave yarwood
Exit Mice and an ode to grunge pop


July 4, 2018


Hello, I started a new band called Exit Mice! It’s always exciting to start a new musical project, and this one is no exception. We just released our debut EP (which you can listen to below) and we’ll be playing our first show this Thursday, July 5, at The Pour House in Raleigh. If you’re in the Raleigh area and you’re not doing anything, come see our live debut!

Here’s our first EP. You can listen to it while I ramble on about where this band came from.

In 2008, I started a band called Antibubbles. I wrote the songs, played guitar, and sang. I was in my 20’s and to be honest, I was grappling with adulthood a little bit. I think that showed in the emotional character of the songs that I wrote. As a thirty-something, I have to scoff at the person I was in my 20’s, but I’m still proud of Antibubbles’ opus.

Antibubbles was a love letter to my favorite musical genre, which I like to call grunge pop. Weezer is the canonical grunge pop band. They took the quirky, often synth-laden brand of power pop emitted by bands like the Cars in the late 70’s and modernized it for the 90’s. They de-glamorized it, stripping away the cool rock ‘n roll façade and letting it just be itself in its button-downs and thick spectacles. And they turned up their Marshall stacks and buried it all in layers of distorted guitars and fuzzed-out bass. They delivered the vocals with a slack, carefree abandon that was cooler than any 70’s rock god. Weezer achieved massive success, but they weren’t the only ones doing what they did. Bands like Ozma, the Rentals, and That Dog were there too to carry the grunge pop torch.

In the late 2000’s, I wanted grunge pop to survive, and I didn’t see enough bands in my area making music that filled that niche, so I started one and that was Antibubbles.

Antibubbles called it quits in 2013 and each of us moved onto other things. I played in a few other bands, primarily serving as the drummer for No Love (who are still going strong without me, being punk af over there in Raleigh). But all the while, I had this persistent creative itch that Antibubbles used to scratch…

In 2017, I started collaborating with Ross Gruet. We’d played together before from time to time in the Flash Chorus band, and before that, his band Trepak would sometimes play with Antibubbles. We both happened to be at a place where we were ready to put some time into starting a new project, so we started meeting once a week in his basement to play music together, starting with some leftover Antibubbles songs that I felt deserved to see the light of day.

After a while, I reached out to Jon Sebastian, who was Antibubbles’ drummer for the last several months of the band’s existence, and the trio was complete. I named us Exit Mice, referencing a Super Nintendo game that has always inspired me.

In a way, you could view Exit Mice as the next iteration of Antibubbles. To me, this band has a totally different personality; perhaps that’s because it is a different time and place, Ross and Jon are bringing in a new creative energy, and I am a different person now than I was in my 20’s. But I’m still carrying the grunge pop torch.