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A Dirty Dozen with BRENDAN SCHOLZ from MERCY MUSIC – August 2020

| 27 August 2020 | Reply


According to a recent press release: “Las Vegas, NV punk/pop-punk trio Mercy Music have announced their forthcoming new album titled Nothing In The Dark out this September via Wiretap Records (US) and SBAM Records (EU). Mercy Music has described itself as “sad bastard power pop,” but anyone who has felt the weight of face-tattooed frontman Brendan Scholz’s crushing guitar, might call the Las Vegas trio something else. This is some mean machine rock ‘n’ roll, you could say. Lightning in a bottle, for sure. It surely has too much energy to be considered sad… wait… what is this?” We get frontman Brendan to discuss new music, influences, and much more…

1. Tell us a little about your latest release.  What might a fan or listener not grab the first or second time they listen through?  Are there any hidden nuggets you put in the material or that only diehard fans might find?

Our latest release is ten songs in about 26 minutes. It’s frantic and honest. If you listen to it enough times I think it starts to take on more of a positive uplifting “things are going to get better” vibe than one would think. The tittle may carry the same kind of message if you dissect it.  Not really any hidden nuggets that would stand out to anyone besides us, though we once harmonized the word fuck disguised as an “ooh ahh” on the last record. Try and find it. Hahaha

2. What got you into music, and can you tell us about the moment you realized you wanted to be a musician?

As far back as I can remember I was always drawn to music. I’ve honestly never pictured doing anything else with my life. I had a Fischer price microphone and a coat hanger I pretended was a guitar from like age 4. It was a huge part of my childhood from both my mom and my dad. My mom had an her old acoustic in the closet that I would take out and mess with. My mom finally caved and rented me an electric guitar when I was 9. Then it was off the races.

3. Building on that, is there a specific song, album, performer, or live show that guided your musical taste?

When I was younger it was shaped by my parents record collection.  Thin Lizzy and the Jimi Hendrix were huge standouts. My first guitar was a white Stratocaster because that was what Jimi played.  And anyone in my age group and profession would be lying if they didn’t say Green Day was an astronomically big deal.

4. Who would be your main five musical influences?

That’s a tough one. 5 is too small a number. It can change from day to day.  Some constants would have to include: Phil Lynott, Paul Westerberg, Bill Stevenson, Elvis Costello, Glenn Tilbrook/Chris Difford, and Hank Williams Sr.

5. If you could call in any one collaborator to do a song with, who would it be, and why?

I mean if the sky is the limit I’d probably pick Lennon and McCartney. I pick them because I honestly think our genre wouldn’t exist without them.

6. How would you describe your music to someone who’d never listened to you before? What is the one comparison a reviewer or fan has made that made you cringe or you disagreed with?

I’d describe us a pop band that’s a little more aggressive with occasional slightly over the top guitar solos.  There’s never really been a comparison that made me cringe per say, but there have been some comparisons to bands that would never be my first choice in similarity. I listen to pretty much every band we’ve been compared to.

7. When your band is hanging out together, who cooks, who gets the drinks in, and who is first to crack out the acoustic guitars for a singalong?

All three of us cook actually, but I’d have to nominate Rye (drummer) as the head chef.  Drinks and acoustic camaraderie would most def go to Jarred (bassist). Though I have been known to be the asshole playing Oasis at parties when I was younger.  There’s video on YouTube if you look hard enough.

8. When was the last time you were starstruck and who was it?

A couple years ago we were doing a music conference and Rob Cavallo was one of the speakers. He came up and talked to us and was incredibly kind and personable.  He asked us for our unreleased at the time record. He actually listened to it… Nothing ever came of it, but a cool experience none the less.

9. What is the best part of being a musician? If you could no longer be a musician for whatever reason, what would be your dream job?

To me the best part of being a musician is reaching other people. To maybe let them know they’re not alone in their struggles.  To try and give back everything that I got from the records that I listened/listen to.  Just hoping to have a positive effect on people’s life’s  I suppose. My dream job has always been to be a musician. The dream is actually paying your bills with it hahaha.  If I couldn’t be a musician anymore I honestly don’t know what I’d do.

10. What is one question you have always wanted an interviewer to ask – and what is the answer? Conversely, what question are you tired of answering?

I consider myself generally bad at interviews. I don’t think there’s been a specific question I’ve ever really wanted some one to ask off the top of my head.  I’m not really tired of answering any question in particular either. I’m happy for any interest or press we receive.  Ask away forever. Hahaha.

11. Looking back over your career, is there a single moment or situation you feel was a misstep or you would like to have a “do over,” even if it didn’t change your current situation?

I would say I wish I quit drinking earlier. Earlier on in my career when a previous project was being courted around by major labels etc I was an alcoholic mess. Maybe if I was more conscious of what was going on, things would have panned out a little differently.

12. If you could magically go back in time and be a part of the recording sessions for any one record in history, which would you choose – and what does that record mean to you?

Again, it’s hard to pick one. This week I’d probably pick The Replacements Let it be. That record was/is a huge part of my life.

BONUS QUESTION – Due to the current world situation with COVID-19 / quarantine / shelter in place, what have you discovered you miss the most from your life before the pandemic struck?

I miss being able to tour/play shows/rehearse.  Playing and writing alone gets old pretty fast.  It really has put things into perspective. I’ll never take playing for two people for granted again.




Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

ToddStar - that's me... just a rocking accountant who had dreams of being a rock star. I get to do the next best thing to rocking the globe - I get to take pictures of the lucky ones that do. I love to shoot all genres of music and different types of performers. If it is related to music, I love to photograph it. I get to shoot and hang with not only some of my friends and idols, but some of the coolest people around today.

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