York band goes viral with hard rock 'Grinch' cover

Rebecca Klar
York Dispatch

This article originally was published Nov. 30, 2018.

Small Town Titans, a local rock band, has been performing together for 7½ years. 

However, the York-based power trio has recently received more attention than ever thanks to a viral Facebook video — the band's hard rock version of "You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch."

"We released this cover on YouTube about a year ago, and so with that said when we did this push this year — we weren't really expecting more than maybe a million views by Christmas," said lead singer and bass guitarist Phil Freeman. "We would've been super happy if that would have been the case." 

The video had more than 21 million views on Facebook as of Monday, Dec. 3. It's been shared by more than half a million people. 

Small Town Titans, a lock rock band, released a cover of "You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch" that has more than 18 million views on Facebook. (Photo courtesy of Small Town Titans)

"The cooler thing is after watching the Grinch, a lot of people are sticking around and listening to our music which is more than any band could ever ask for, which is phenomenal," Freeman said. 

Freeman and his band-mates, guitarist and backing vocalist Ben Guiles and backing vocalist and drummer Jonny Ross, are all Pennsylvania natives. Guiles is from Columbia, Ross is from Pottsville, Schuylkill County, and Freeman is from Mount Wolf. 

The trio met and formed Small Town Titans as students at Lebanon Valley College. 

They currently play live shows at local clubs, as well as tour the country. 

It's their hard-rock holiday cover, though, that's throwing them on the national stage — charting on iTunes and Google Play.

"We're an unsigned band; this is unprecedented," Freeman said. "... We're really surprised." 

As an unsigned band, Small Town Titans is funded by fans through a Patreon page. Those who choose to become patrons get access to video content a week before it becomes publicly available. 

The band aims to release a new video every Wednesday, and there's no plans to slow down after the recent social media success, Freeman said. 

"We're full speed ahead. We're not sitting on our laurels here," he said. "We're just going to keep doing as much content as possible between doing everything else that we're doing at the moment." 

The holiday classic isn't necessarily in line with Small Town Titans' typical music. A few years ago, the band decided to throw the cover in while playing shows around Christmas, Freeman said. 

While recording a series of videos and tracks in the summer of 2017, an investor recommended recording a Christmas song, Freeman said. 

The group decided to rehash "You're a Mean One Mr. Grinch" since they'd already performed it.

When it was released last December it got "quite a bit of attention," but not nearly as much as it's getting this year, Freeman said. 

"It's just so funny to look back on how excited we were back then as to what's happening now," he said.

Freeman said he wakes up every morning to about 40 or 50 messages on Facebook from people finding the band from the video. Their number of Patreon patrons has also jumped from about 80 to more than 150, he said. 

"It's always important to be thankful for even the smallest little victories," Freeman said. "We were just not expecting this type of victory."