Gunnar & the Grizzly Boys on their way to the top

By Will Kriedberg, Staff Writer

April 10, 2013

Grizzly boysThere they were, six men known as Gunnar & the Grizzly Boys, set off to complete the ultimate dream. A dream that Mike Novak said “only about one in a million can make work.”

Novak was an entertainment lawyer located in Detroit, Michigan, where he had represented famous artists, such as Bob Seger, Ted Newton and Kid Rock. Novak saw potential from day one in the band, and as Shane Michael  (lead guitar) put it, “I never seen someone so excited. It was like a kid in a candy store when he saw us play live.” So, Novak began to contact the right people and put wind in their sails.

He began to make a dream a reality. Unfortunately, Novak passed away at age 57 leaving the band at a low point. However, to this day, they still use Novak’s words of wisdom and sense of character to inspire them. “I think you guys have what it takes,” Novak said at their first concert, and they have been using that for their inspiration ever since.

So, who are Gunnar & the Grizzly Boys? Gunnar & the Grizzly Boys is the name of a country rock band, started by six friends at Michigan State University, in 2009. Gunnar Nyblad, the main singer/songwriter, met Shane Michael through friends. The two began playing in Michael’s attic located on Center Street in East Lansing. During that time, Nyblad brought in two buddies: Joe Rood (guitar) and Rob Mason (base). Michael also brought in a fraternity brother from Phi Kappa Psi, Joe Connolly, (Drums).

The group started playing at local bars, and then, soon after, landed their first opener at Justin Moore’s, a popular musician, sold out show in Grand Rapids, Mich. Two months went by, and Michael proceeded to bring in another fraternity member, Chris Newberg, to play the keys.

After establishing the band, they went on to become the winners of WBCT B93’s Honky Tonk Heroes Battle of the Bands Contest, making them the top new country band in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Having momentum and luck on their side, they began to open up for bigger names, such as Colt Ford, Brantley Gilbert, Lady Antebellum, Kip Moore, David Allen Coe, and other well known artists.

The Grizzly Boys have two albums and have recently released their first single called “Could be Me.” “Could be Me” is a song about the band’s experiences, through their five years of playing music across the country. The single has recently been made into a video, and currently has over 389,000 views on YouTube.

These albums are only a small taste of what they can do; their true sound comes out during their live shows, where they deliver the raw, edgy and authentic country rock sound that fans love.

Gunnar & the Grizzly Boys have been together for about three in half years now, and have created a strong backing of industry professionals. Professionals include the band’s management team, Joe Schuld at Average Joes Entertainment; the band’s booking team, Jake Kennedy at Buddy Lee Attractions; and the brand new publishing company they put together named Gunnar & The Grizzly Boys Publishing.

Within this time frame of being together, the boys have had a strong following base with almost 12,000 “likes” on Facebook alone, and look to increase that number for the future.

“Right now we just need to keep on keeping on,” said Michael. He refers to themselves as “weekend warriors” because of the slow weekdays but hectic weekend schedules they face. But, with all that being said, each band member has the same sense of direction. Like a grizzly, they will trek down any trail or capture any moment that will, in turn, bring them closer to success.