AJ Grey grew up in the era of 90’s grunge. She vividly recalls listening to bands like Greenday, Alice in Chains and Nirvana while sitting in the back of her older sister’s green, Honda Civic in Wilmington, NC.
“Immediately, I’m transported,” explains Grey.
Now as a 30-something adult living in Savannah, Grey uses her dynamic and powerful vocals to not just transport her audience to the age of grunge—which Grey contends is alive and well—but to transcend the local, music scene as the frontwoman of the newly formed, all female rock band, The Maxines.
The Maxines, made up of Grey on vocals, Veronica Garcia-Melendez (also of Bero Bero) on bass, and twins Maddie and Coco Oke on drums and guitar, is quickly making their mark with their sound that is what you may not expect from a quintette of women.
“We like to play on masculine and feminine sound,” Grey explains. “We don’t want to sound too feminine. We want to have strength in our sound with strong guitar riffs and lyrics that can lead into what’s going on in the world today.”
On the heels of a show at El Rocko Lounge downtown, The Maxines are still figuring out what they want their “sound” precisely to be, but so far, with two original songs and a plethora of 90’s covers in their back pockets, they are falling somewhere between a unique mix of grunge, metal and psych/experimental rock.
While their sound is intentionally eclectic, Grey has also dedicated a lot of time to her on-stage persona.
“Being a frontwoman of a band that doesn’t play an instrument in very tricky because I don’t have a prop to use,” explains Grey.
“I have a microphone, but I don’t have a guitar. I have to show up even more and have a presence about me that makes people lock into me.”
In the outset of The Maxines, Grey did a lot of research of bands that are fronted by vocalists who don’t play an instrument like Garbage, the Cranberries and Gwen Stefani. This developed an intention towards showmanship that focuses strongly on how she stands, her outfit and having an overall presence on stage.
“I’m someone who likes to put on a show,” said Grey. “I won’t just stand in front of a microphone and sing. I’ll walk off stage and into the crowd.”
A move that truly demonstrates Grey’s desire to connect with her audience. She uses this same aggression in her writing. While the Maxines have so far collectively written their own music, Grey has proven to be the stand-out lyricist as heard in songs “Skin Tight” and “Slumber.”
In “Skin Tight”, Grey explains how the lyrics speak to multiple groups of people in the world.
“It has to do with forced conformity and having someone else tell you who to be,” said Grey. “I want for anyone to listen to that song and relate to the lyrics.”
In “Slumber,” Grey touches on the relatability of crushing on someone so hard, that when you finally get them to yourself, you can just sleep well at night. While drawn from personal experience, it’s a sentiment many can connect to.
According to Grey, The Maxines are currently preparing to record “Skin Tight” soon and are also continuing to write their own, original music.
You can catch The Maxines at their next show on Sunday, March 6 at the Sentient Bean. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. They’ll be sharing the stage with Klept and touring band, Aslylum 213. They’ll also be returning to El Rocko on May 7 with the Colorado-based band returning to Savannah, Beneath Trees.
Follow The Maxines on Instagram @TheMaxinesBand.