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by Linda Spielman

Readers who follow this series know that our usual format is to interview members of promising unsigned bands. This months we’re doing it a little differently.  

One of our contributing writers, Linda Spielman recently came across a local band in Pittsburgh that made quite an impression on her. So this month we are forgoing our typical format and letting Linda fill you in on this band. 

As Funk and Wagnalls indicates, in ancient Roman mythology Mercury was the messenger of the gods. The message that was brought to me with this band is don't judge a local book by its cover. I guess it's safe to say I've been out of the loop of just how much the local music scene has changed from my college days (which believe it or not wasn't all that long ago). You know those little labels on some CD's that warn of explicit material? Well, there should be a label on this CD...LISTENER WILL REALLY LIKE THIS CD, BUY IT!

Like many bands formed in college, Mercury's inception happened in 1998 on the campus of Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA. Originally an acoustic duo of Justin Morris on vocals and Armando Camillo on guitar, members Eric Gadrix joined on bass/vocals and Adam Sivitz rounded out the rhythm section on drums. Dubbed as one of the hardest working rock bands in Pittsburgh, Mercury since their inception have created a fan base, cemented a regular slot at Nick's Fat City and were about to release their first full length CD in late 2002 without much press or radio airplay. The music industry has the Grammy's, we here in Pittsburgh pay high homage to the winner of the Graffiti Rock Challenge. And the guys in Mercury can very proudly say they've walked away with that honor as the winners of the 2001 competition, among other accolades. With constant gigs around the local and regional area over the last few years, a strong & rapidly increasing local fan base and acknowledgment from fellow local musicians, Mercury was well on their way to releasing their first CD. 

OK, fast forwarding to the fun stuff. With the help of Sean McDonald of The Clarks and Grapevine fame, the band and their producer embarked on one of the most professionally sounding local recordings I have ever heard. The self titled CD, released in fall 2002 isn't the typical in your face rock record. Don't get me wrong, it has all the elements and energy of a rock record, but the band's use in layering of sounds is what makes it such a fun and interesting listen. I am pleased to admit that this album is unique and refreshing from start to finish. The one recurring element of each song is how the band chooses to make the bridge of each track stand alone in its own way. For the listener that is a real treat to have something jump out at you within a song that is so far removed from what has been going on musically during the song itself. "Superhero" is your has classic melody driven content with all the guts of a rock track. Personally, I think one of the strongest tracks is "Can We Breathe". The dynamics of the rhythms, guitar riffs and strong backing vocals show just how powerful and strong the band is on all musical fronts. I hate to draw comparisons to other bands, but let's say they are a more melodic, guitar powered version of Fuel.  

As much as I am recommending this CD to everyone, and I have told many of my friends in NYC and LA about it, Mercury's live performance equals if not surpasses the energy of their album. Having recently caught them at one of their local haunts Nick's Fat City, I can see why they are considered one of the hardest working bands in Pittsburgh. The crowd loves them, their sound and live sets are of equal caliber as the CD, and most importantly the crowd obviously has fun at the shows. If I were a betting woman or had a crystal ball, I would say it is just a matter of time before some major label snatches this band from our local scene and lets the rest of the world hear for themselves what the guys in Mercury have worked so hard for these past few years; to create great music. As Morris explains, "Regardless of how big or small you are, its what you do with the time you're given."

Ok now that you know a little about Mercury it is time to go to their website and learn more

Know of a great unsigned artist or band? Let us know. 

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