Mercury Rising is a very interesting new band from the great US-Metal scene. With their new effort "Building Rome" they changed their style from Power-Metal-based songstructures (on their debut "Upon Deaf Ears" you can hear them) to a more progressive style. Read what singer Clarence Osbourne had to say:
First of all please tell me about the very beginning of Mercury Rising. How did it all become reality?
Chris Brush and the old guitarist Hal Dolliver started Mercury Rising in Pennsylvania in the late 80's. After going through numerous musicians they moved to Baltimore and picked up Gary, Jeff, and myself. Once Gary and Hal left the band we went through 9 (yes 9!) guitar players before being blessed with Mike Evans and Judd Rizzo. We started out doing power metal and then progressed into progressive metal.
Is MR your first "professional" band or what is your past as a musician/singer?
I had played guitar for about 5 years prior to trying to sing. I did play one show in a band with high school friends in a teen club. It was just noise, ya know, ride the E string for an hour. It was called DDT (Death, Destruction, and Terror). It was hardcore and don't get me wrong I like hardcore but this band was a joke. So yes, this is my 1st professional band!
How did you come across Noise-Records, do you feel comfortable with their work? And what about Dominion Records?
Yes, very comfortable! They have done wonders for us as well as Dominion! Without them I am not sure where the band would be. We started out w/ Fanzines and they got us hooked up with Noise and Dominion.
Tell me more about your first album "Upon Deaf Ears"? Are there any songs from any demotapes on it, do you still feel comfortable with it?
Minute Man was on a 5 song EP that we put out YEARS AGO! It is such a great song and gets a good response that we enhanced it and put it on UDE. We still love the first CD.
It is obvious that you've made with "Building Rome" a big step forward. You've left the Power-Metal based music and reached a very high standard level of progressive-music with many complex songstructures (and by the way: GREAT guitar-work!!). Why did you choose this direction and do you feel comfortable with the subject "Progressive-Music"?
It is something that we all love and it was more of a progression within the band's chemistry over the years that brought us into prog.
Tell me more about your very complex lyrics which are far away from the typical fantasy-based metal-lyrics. What's the "red line" in "Building Rome"?
The theme isn't so much religion as it is faith and hope. We trying to present positive messages in negative times. After all, if you don't stand for something, you will fall for anything.
What are your "shining examples" in the music-biz? Do you have any idols or something like that?
Geoff Tate, Ray Alder, James LaBrie, everyone from Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Helloween. I grew up listening to all of these guys.
Tell me your alltime-favorite albums and your favorite musicians! Do you regularly buy records? Do you prefer CD's or LP's?
Fates Warning (Inside Out, Parallels), Queensryche (Operation Mindcrime), Dream Theatre (Images and Words), Ozzy Osbourne (Bark at the Moon), anything from Journey, and Anthrax (Spreading the Disease). I just bought Dream Theatre's new one and Seal (believe it or not!). As well as Elegy and Stratovarius. I like both CD's and LP's.
Do you feel yourself a underground band? If yes, why do you think so?
Yes, but we feel that things will change with the 2nd release. Let's face it, prog metal isn't mainstream.
Many people say that Metal is dead in the US. Is this true? And why are there so many great bands on your side of the atlantic?
It is weak on the east and west coast but seems a lot stronger in the midwest. Overall, it is still weak but not dead.
Do you know some german metal-bands? What do you think about them and the whole european scene?
I have met some really great people such as Jorge Michael (great guy) from Stratovarius and yourself. Everyone the band has come in contact with have been genuinely nice and appreciative of the band's efforts. We love the European scene.
You've played last years POWERMAD-Festival (it's a pity I couldn't be there...). Tell me about your experiences...
I met a lot of talented musicians in the same genre of music. It was great but the next one will be much better. Hope you can make it.
I don't think that you could live from your music (once again, it's a pity...). What are your daily jobs, how do you earn your money?
We all have day jobs. we wish that we could make a living off of our music and that is our goal...to do what we love. I work out and run every day. It helps when you have those stressful days. I still mess with the guitar.
Maybe you could give me some comments about the following words:
Germany: I wish I was there!
Metallica: Love it!
Keith Menser: Love him! He has done a lot for us.
Tori Amos: Love her! Different but very talented.
Bassplayer: It's hard to find a good, credible one.
Family: Charish your family and let nothing come between that. They are blood.
Money: I wish I had more!
Rome: A beautiful place with a lot of history.