Grano’s work can be heard in Reelin’ in the Years production of Soul to Soul on Atlantic Records, as well as albums by Dove Linkhorn’s What’s in a Name? and Four Eyes’ release Sweet on the Vine. This year will see Grano appear on numerous releases, including new discs from DeCerbo, Eve Selis, Mark Jackson, Carol Ames, Anthony Molinaro and Paulo de la Rosa. The bulk of his time away from the studio is spent with the Eve Selis Band, with whom he’s now toured to England twice and is gearing up for a third visit to record in Abby Road studios this spring. He’s also worked on the side project Cactus, Twang and Whyte. “They’re great to work with, easygoing,” he opined. “The music is the focus.”
Unusually for a drummer, he can also be found fronting a band in the funk and soul group, the Soul Persuaders. Grano actually came to the group late in their career. The combo was formed by well-known local musician Mark and Steve Siers. “They had a great group in town, along with their brother Ken,” he explained. “[But] the clientele for parties or dance clubs demands a certain play list
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. When the Siers put together the Soul Persuaders, it was a chance to play stuff they wanted to play.”
Grano joined up with the band at local watering hole, Jose Murphy’s. “Like other musicians, I would go and sit in. I was always looking to drum, but Steve Siers, aka Sonny Drysdale, would five me pep talk and have me sing.” Initially, he wasn’t very confident in his performances. “Once I was so nervous, I put my jacket over my head and the mic just so I could get through the son,” Grano laughed at the memory. “I was later told that it helped their food sales when I covered up.”
Occasional gigs with Four Eyes, alongside former roommate Mark DeCerbo continue. Aside from those groups, he considers himself a free agent. “I have mostly clients. But aside from these [groups] that I’ve mentioned, I’m in a band called Larry Grano,” he quipped.
It’s hard for him to pick a favorite show in his career as a performer, but concerts with Rockola, backing music notables such as Denny Laine (Moody Blues/Wings), Joey Mollan (Badfinger) and Peter and Gordon Waller are high among them. Meanwhile, near the top of the list during his tenure with the Soul Persuaders is a show with sax legend Tom Scott sitting in. “That was a great six-minute music lesson,” Grano laughed. Close to his heart, however was the time Was Not Was’s Grammy Award Winning lead singer Sir Harry Bowens spent as a member of the Soul Persuaders. “That came about through Dr. Feelgood and the Interns of Love,” he recalled. “He was friends with one of their singers and came in and saw our band. Being a fan, I told him, ‘Anytime you want to sit in.” To Grano’s surprise, Bowens took him up on the offer and for the next year would drive down each week to perform with the band at Dick’s Last Resort. “I learned so much just from watching him on stage,” he enthused.
In addition to his drumming duties, Grano is a music teacher, giving private lessons and teaching at the Paul Green School of Rock. “Passing on what was given to me is a great way to say thank you to everyone who took the time to help me,” he said.
After more than 30 years as a major part of San Diego’s music scene, Grano still considers himself lucky. “Is it still fun? I’m blessed,” he mused with a smile. “After all, music is all I’ve done for a living since Patrick Henry High said ‘Get Out!’”