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190 Proof

190 Proof: Her Head’s On Fire Lead Singer Joseph Grillo Talks Wine

Her Head’s On Fire lead singer Joseph Grillo joins us for a 190 Proof interview in which he discusses wine and some of his favourite bottles.



Her Head’s On Fire in 2024, photo by Nathaniel Shannon
Her Head’s On Fire in 2024, photo by Nathaniel Shannon

You might be inclined to use the term “supergroup” to describe Her Head’s On Fire. But we will resist that basic categorization for this ensemble of highly astute musicians. The band is back with their sophomore album, Strange Desires, out via Deathwish Inc. It features members of already-established acts such as Saves the Day, Garrison, Small Brown Bike, and The Bomb. But this is a whole new act, detached from the histories and legacies of those bands. Their primary focus is pumping out fiery post-hardcore and hard rock, defined by heavy riffs and memorable melodies. Strange Desires is the follow-up to their summer 2022 debut, College Rock & Clove Cigarettes.

Strange Desires is a deepening and expansion of that debut record. The first album was a musical adventure for the band, with members with established backgrounds getting to know each other musically. Now, on this new album, there is more of a focus on a shared vision and musical goals. The melodies are more realized, and the songwriting came along more naturally. The structure and frame of many of the songs were remarkably written in about ten minutes. For the members, Her Head’s On Fire has never felt like work. Everything seems to come together quite effortlessly.

Today, Her Head’s On Fire lead singer Joseph Grillo joins us for a 190 Proof interview, giving us the basics of his wine-enjoying tendencies.

What’s your favourite type of wine (i.e… Merlot, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay, blends, etc.?)

Joseph Grillo: “Honestly, it depends on the day and the weather and what sort of food I will be having with it, but I am a sucker for Tuscan Sangiovese, in particular, Brunello Di Montalcino.”

What’s the most expensive bottle or glass of wine that you’ve ever had?

“Irrelevant and forgettable. I’ve worked in the wine industry for two decades, and price is never an indication of quality, in my opinion. Bottles may go up to about 100 to 140 dollars, and you can understand/taste the reasons (it was grown on the slopes of an active volcano, hand-picked, aged for three to four years in French oak, etc.). But after that price point it simply becomes more/less collectable, like stamps, and comic books and coins. It holds no interest for me.”

Joseph Grillo of Her Head’s On Fire

Joseph Grillo of Her Head’s On Fire

Growing up, what were your experiences of wine and drinking? Was drinking a part of the family tradition? Are there specific memories of drinking growing up that stand out to you (that you feel comfortable sharing)?

“Growing up, even as a teenager, I knew I wanted to know about wine someday. It seemed like something a learned man should know a bit about, literature, art, science, music, and wine. There was very little drinking in my home, the occasional beer but my parents never locked up liquor bottles or anything. They trusted me, and alcohol held very little sway in my life until my beginning of understanding wine in my late 20s via an adjacent job from a French centric wine bar.”

What would you like your last drink to be?

“The blood of fascists.”

What’s your go-to bottle that never fails to impress?

Tassi Brunello di Montalcino, any vintage honestly, but the ’05 has a spot in my heart.”

What’s your least favourite wine that everyone else seems to love?

“I’ve had literally thousands of Rieslings and although I can appreciate and respect the craft of well made ones, I never desire that flavour profile in my mouth.”

Have you ever made your own wine? Stomped grapes?

“Never, but I would love to someday.”

What is the “strangest” wine/alcohol you’ve ever tried and how are you with “less standard” drinks?

“It’d have to be Malört, I suppose, but I don’t like odd things for the sake of them being odd. I’ll always be intrigued by new textures and flavours and I’m always down to try something new, but I don’t hunt them down.”

Wine Bottles, photo by Joseph Grillo of Her Head’s On Fire

Wine Bottles, photo by Joseph Grillo of Her Head’s On Fire

What is your favourite “cheap” bottle to buy in a pinch?

“Beer. Life’s too short to drink ‘cheap’ wine. That said, there are oodles of inexpensive gems out there such as: Loire Bourgueil, Neurello Mascalesce, and most Province Rosé.”

Any wineries you’d recommend attending or dream wineries you’ve yet to go to?

“Small family-owned places in Italy and France that are essentially everyday farmers who make the ‘taste of the town.’ Those are the wines that inspire me.

“Thank you very much for this. It is always a pleasure to discuss wine with all of my fellow oenophiles.”

Her Head’s On Fire ‘Strange Desires’ album artwork

Her Head’s On Fire ‘Strange Desires’ album artwork

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