Sex 18 times a day

How to keep the dirty, hard edge of rock

A tight-knit, hard-raunch unit, Merkury Burn has been around the punk rock block.

Arguably the prettiest band around, they may have been together only for a year and a half but they’ve certainly harnessed a prolific energy. On their second recording Rumours Of Our Death, the members’ musical diversities collide easily with one another.

My favourite new song is a scandalous rendition of “Dress You Up” by Madonna – worth buying the CD just for that one smoochable track. The CD gets launched on Thu, Feb 14 with hottie warm-up bands 66 Kicks and Brother Love Canal.

Kelly Clipperton, ex-lead singer of My Dear Heretic, is the band’s mouth box and he’s got the rock star pose and sexy moves required for a swoon-worthy front man. The tattooed brazen Cathy Marcheese, ex-drummer for Jane Doe, is the chick with the sticks. Vikas Sharma is the cutie-pie bassist, and the single-named Jones, rounds it out on the guitar.

“Jones, just Jones,” though no relation to any flaming prime time star, he, along with Sharma, make up the hetero-half of Merkury Burn. Despite different sexual identities, the boys agree they all have the same aggressive take on sexuality.

The typical show is XXX in spirit. When discussing costumes, the dilemma of aging punk rock beauty comes up. “Jones shaved off his costume a great Mohawk,” says Clipperton, running his hand over Jones’s head.

“I am going bald,” says Jones. “No you’re not!” the band says together. I say a little maturity is a good thing in the rock world.

There is only laughter and no air of ego or competition among the four. Merkury Burn is like one of those couples that are still having sex 18 times a day.

They are all the proud parents of their latest recording endeavour. “The new one is way better than the first,” say Clipperton. “It’s meant to be cranked loud. I’m proud of our songwriting. We produced it ourselves.”

The title, Rumours Of Our Death, was his idea. “It’s British slang. The phrase itself is in reference to your popularity dwindling. Everyone says that when your first record is really good, your second one will never live up to it.

“Why don’t we dig our hole for ourselves?”

Recently paired with local self-made star Robin Black in a glam-off, Clipperton speaks about the state of glam. “We both came to the conclusion that the word glam is totally overused. Just because you wear flashy clothes and make-up doesn’t mean that you’re a glam band. It’s kind of like the love – nobody knows what it means anymore.

“At the end of the day, we’re a rock band. We’re not sure about the ‘n’ roll part, but were definitely a rock band,” laughs Clipperton.


The four agree that it’s hard to rock Toronto’s soft edges and they long to play in Europe where they feel rock is more appreciated. “There are no dingy spots left anymore,” says Clipperton. “El Mo’s gone. Ted’s gone. It just doesn’t seem like the dirt of the rock ‘n’ roll edge of the city is kind of dwindling. It’s sad.”

Great costumes, lots of attitude and a burly, deep, hard sound what else can you expect from a Merkury Burn show? “Kelly falling over drunk,” says Sharma.

“That’s happened on several occasions, actually – it’s the footwear,” Clipperton explains. “Sensible footwear doesn’t look good, so we just don’t do that.”

“We dress up,” says Jones. “Sexy,” clarifies Marcheese.

“Cath’s getting around to showing her tits a bit more,” says Jones.

“I try and wear as little as possible,” offers Clipperton.

“When people see us and hear us they often say we don’t sound anything like what we look like,” Sharma adds, enigmatically.

When I ask Marcheese how she feels about going from an all-girl band to being the only chick in Merkury Burn, she responds, laughing, “A bunch of guys – where are they?”

“What are you talking about?” Jones interrupts. “She is the guy.”

Rumours Of Our Death CD Launch.

$7pm. Thu, Feb 14.

Tequila Lounge.

794 Bathurst St.

(416) 968-2001.

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Culture, Music, Arts, Toronto

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