May 06, 2015

POP005: Seeing Opportunity when Others See Trouble with Josh Grabelle


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Josh Grabelle got his first punk rock album when he was 13 years old, and he hasn’t looked back since. All of high school and early college was spent going to see hardcore/punk bands, and when he was 18 he was promoting shows in the basement of his parents’ house at the New Jersey shore. This suburban basement became the New Jersey stop for many legendary groups on tour including Earth Crisis, Hatebreed, Ignite, and dozens more.

While at Syracuse University in the early 90s, Grabelle started a hardcore fanzine called “Trustkill”, joined a band, toured the US and Europe with friend’s bands, and interned for Dutch East India Trading Co. He then started the DIY label “Trustkill”, and entered Syracuse University College Of Law in 1998 focusing on intellectual property.

After getting his law degree, Grabelle decided to put a legal career on the back-burner so he could pursue his ever-growing passion in music. That risk turned into a full-time career and entertainment empire that launched the careers of heavyweight artists such as Bullet For My Valentine, Memphis May Fire, Eighteen Visions, Bleeding Through, Poison The Well, Throwdown, and dozens more.

In 2010, after selling over 2 million albums through his Trustkill brand, Grabelle launched and is now focused on his new venture, Bullet Tooth. The heavy music community can expect only the best new albums, from the most original, creative, and compelling young bands including Affiance, Death Ray Vision, Throw The Fight, The Paramedic, and many more. Find out more at

In addition to the record label, Grabelle is also an accomplished graphic designer and has recently designed packaging and websites for Melissa Etheridge, Secondhand Serenade, Jessica Simpson, Def Leppard, Saw VI film, and dozens more.

When he is not running Bullet Tooth and designing albums, Grabelle spends his free time with his girlfriend and new daughter at his New Jersey shore home. You can find him at the beach, in the mountains snowboarding, in the park bicycling, or watching hardcore and metal bands.

In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • How Josh measured “buzz” in a pre-digital world.
  • How he saw Napster as an opportunity—not a threat—in the year 2000.
  • Why you have to take on debt and take risks to succeed.
  • Maintaining creative control while scaling your business.

Original music featured in the show:

  • Earth Crisis: Discipline
  • Ritual: Pisces
  • Affiance: Fire!

Questions from the show:

The best places to find Josh Grabelle:



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