But if they were four guys who were getting a lot of press, they'd definitely suffer the injustice of being labeled something as demeaning as “classic rock,” or whatever they're calling bands that carry on the sounds of their forebears these days. And while you may find some parallels in their music, that would seem to lend credence to that label, there's so much more than can be summed up with a mere two words.
“It's not something we consciously try to do, we just write and what comes out sounds the way it does,” says guitarist, Frank Misceo of the band's loose, blues-rock feel that's a living snapshot of the music scene three decades ago.
But admittedly, it's easy to conjecture why Misceo and company would be lumped into a category by overambitious music critics, as he and the rest of the band are a Polaroid from a different time. Sporting long brown hair, a thick beard and a denim jacket with band patches sewn on, Misceo (or Captain Humbucker as his MySpace profile reads) himself seems to embody the spirit of a time when it was just the music that mattered.
Singer Brendan Wolfe is even more of a time warp, from a distance his shoulder-length blond hair and sharp features are a striking image of a young Robert Plant. Coupled with the fact that he actually sings as opposed to shouting out lyrics as is the order of the day, it's Wolfe's authenticity that augments the band's core characteristic: a grassroots honesty with an artistic garnish.
“It's all about doing what feels right, staying true to yourself, but still staying accessible. There's a need among us to make some sort of impact as well,” Wolfe says.
The band's name sounds like it could be a reference to a particularly liberated ex-girlfriend, but it's actually more reflective of a cosmic tough love.
“It's like when a fat kid gets an ice cream cone and is overjoyed at the pleasure he's about to experience when he drops the ice cream. It sucks, but it's the best thing for him because he doesn't need any more sugar. That's Dirty Mercy,” Wolfe explains. “It came from a lyric I wrote, but we liked it so much that we kept it as the band name.”
The ranks are filled in on the rhythm side by drummer Gustavo Leon and bassist Sean Beale whose rock-solid foundation provide a strong overall presence, one that helped them release their full-length debut , Live at the White House Lawn , on their good friend Chris Sowers' nascent record label, Corporate Records.
“Now that we've finished the record, besides the financial obligations, the biggest thing that's changed is that we feel we're ready for the next step,” Beale says.
That next step will most likely come in the form of a tour outside of their hometown – something they've yet to do. But ultimately, the band's vision of success is one that involves a rather provocative image. “We want to actually play on the White House lawn, maybe crash the gates and see how many songs we can play before they catch us and throw us in prison.”
Live at the White House Lawn is currently available. For more information, visit www.myspace.com/dirtymercy.