Sunday marks the premiere of Veep, the HBO comedy series that stars Julia Louis-Dreyfus as the vice president of the United States, and in the coming days there will no doubt be a slew of stories recalling the show’s filming in the area. The Baltimore Sun had one great tale involving a scene filmed at Ottobar: Veep will include a guest appearance by D.C. grindcore trio Magrudergrind.
Magrudergrind singer Avi Kulawy says last year a producer e-mailed him to see if the group had any interest in performing on Veep. Kulawy, intrigued and curious, asked to find out a little more about the gig and why HBO wanted his band in particular. The reason, he found out, was severalfold: The folks behind the show liked Magrudergrind’s sound and that the trio had a local presence. They also liked the way Kulawy and guitarist R.J. Ober looked—or rather, didn’t look. “We don’t really look like metalheads,” Kulawy says.
Kulawy and Ober’s clean-cut appearance was crucial to HBO’s initial decision to reach out to Magrudergrind, because the original idea was to write them into the show as bit parts. “The whole idea is that RJ and myself are colleagues that work on Capitol Hill,” Kulawy says. “We’re in this super high-level position within the government, and it’s real stressful.” So to blow off steam after work, the pair rip things up as part of a grindcore band. Kulawy and Ober might have even had some lines had the original concept worked out, but “they flew that idea out the window.”