Marah (band) - History


Marah was formed by singer/songwriter/guitarist Dave Bielanko from Conshohocken, Pennsylvania, bass guitarist Danny Metz and drummer Ronnie Vance in 1993. Singer/songwriter/guitarist and harmonica player Serge Bielanko, Dave's older brother, joined the band in 1995.

Several years before Marah formed, Serge and Dave Bielanko (still in high school) were in a band called the Lusty Toms, which had a far different sound that resembled the Red Hot Chili Peppers. The Lusty Toms never got signed and distributed several cassette tapes locally.

Marah saw Serge and Dave alter their sound and musical direction. Marah featured Mummers Parade influenced banjos combined with standard rock music instruments to create a highly eclectic Roots Rock sound that drew comparisons to early Bruce Springsteen.

Marah recorded two albums together: Let's Cut The Crap & Hook Up Later on Tonight, released on Black Dog Records in 1998, and Kids in Philly, released on Steve Earle's now-defunct E-Squared Records in 2000. Both critically acclaimed records were recorded and produced by the band and recording engineer/producer Paul Smith above an auto repair garage in south Philadelphia.

Metz and Vance left the band in 2000, and were replaced by Mick Bader on drums and Joe Hooven on bass. Augmented by Mike "Slo-Mo" Brenner on lap steel, this version of the group toured extensively to support Kids in Philly. Marah performed a song from that CD, "Point Breeze" on Late Night with Conan O'Brien in 2000. Bader and Hooven left Marah in 2001 and were replaced by Jon Kois (drums) and Jamie Mahon (bass) of Philadelphia psychedelic rock band The Three 4 Tens.

The Bielankos, with Kois and Mahon, left for Wales in late 2001 to record their third CD, Float Away With the Friday Night Gods with former Oasis producer Owen Morris and featuring Bruce Springsteen on vocals and guitar on the title track. It was released on Artemis Records in 2002. This release spurred controversy amongst the band's early supporters due to its decidedly Britpop sound.

In 2003, Marah returned to the auto garage and recorded their fourth record, 20,000 Streets Under the Sky. The CD was released on Yep Roc Records in 2004. The band toured to support this album with Jon Wurster (of Indie rock-stalwarts Superchunk) on drums, Mike "Slo-Mo" Brenner on Lap steel guitar, and Kirk Henderson on bass and keyboards.

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