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The Mermen

One of the odder and more wonderful bands to emerge from the surf music revival, the Mermen race between high-octane surf anthems and spaced-out blasts of psychedelia. Neither their albums nor their live shows follow any sort of expected or ordinary path, and the band has made many sincere attempts to get away from the surf music label. Based in San Francisco, the band has developed a broad cult following, encourages tapers, and has developed a strong relationship with radio, resulting in numerous radio broadcasts, some of which were compiled for The Mermen Live at the Haunted House (1994).

The Mermen came together almost by accident in 1989, when guitarist Thomas was 35. He was working in a San Francisco music store and experimenting with demo recording equipment, although he didn't really consider himself a musician and had never played in a band. Before long he was joined by bassist Allan Whitman and drummer Martyn Jones, neither of whom fit any kind of pre-determined image of surf musicians (both men, like Thomas, were in their mid-30s), helping to propel the band away from its surf guitar roots, despite the first album, Krill Slippin' (1989, CD reissue in 1995), being essentially a pastiche of surf music to that date.

Their next album, Food for Other Fish (1994), saw a dramatic shift in the overall Mermen sound, as Thomas allowed himself free reign to improvise and try a variety of different sounds and techniques, aided by a huge rack of effects boxes and a floor full of effects pedals. The wall of sound generated by Thomas, combined with the distinctive work of Whitman and Jones, brought about comparisons with Sonic Youth alongside those to Dick Dale. Both of these descriptions are effectively limiting, however, as the Mermen sound does a good job of defying description -- while the band can do the surf music sound as well as anyone, they are even more adept at pushing into sometimes experimental spaces that take in everyone from John Coltrane to Pink Floyd.

Their following continued to grow in the year between the release of Food for Other Fish and the original 1995 release of A Glorious Lethal Euphoria, a 72-minute tour de force originally released by Toadaphile Records. The album drew widespread attention, selling out its first runs. The activity drew the attention of Mesa/Bluemoon Records, a division of Atlantic, who proceeded to sign the band, releasing a revised version of A Glorious Lethal Euphoria later in 1995. An EP, Songs of the Cows, recorded in three days in the midst of a tour was released in 1996. Besides the "official" CD releases, the Mermen have also released a number of limited-edition cassettes featuring early, live, and radio station performances, as well as The Mermen Sing Merry Christmas to You. Taking some time to craft the official follow-up to A Glorious Lethal Euphoria, the Mermen finally returned in 2000 with the full-length The Amazing California Health and Happiness Road Show. ~ Steven McDonald
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Amazing California Health And Happiness Road Show

1. Unto The Resplendent

2. White Trash Raga

3. Merry Go Round

4. Miki's Lush Beehive

5. Sway

6. Walking The Peach

7. Emmylou Rides Clarence West And Then South

8. To Be Naked And French Is Always Hard

9. Bare White

10. Little Stinky Kitty

11. Sponge Cookie

12. Heart Beatitude

13. Burn Intro

14. Burn

x

Track List: Krill Slippin'

1. Ocean Beach

2. Krill Slippin'

3. Neptune's Revenge

4. Splashin' With The Mermaid

5. Kaena

6. Over The Falls

7. Run Don't Walk

8. Sand

9. The Drift

10. Big Day At The Bay

11. Hammerhead

12. Abalone Daze

13. Soul Surfin'

14. The Whales

15. By The Sea I Will Stay Forever

16. The Goodbye

Comments

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The Mermen are one of the greatest bands ever. Next to Pavement, of course : |
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What weisenhour said. Nothing more to add. You nailed it bro. First time hearing The Mermen. Three thumbs up.
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KRILL SLIPPIN IS A GREAT ALBUM!!!!!!! ! ! ! ! ! ! !
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Geeesuz f**kin A the mermen what a great sound. To think these guys came together by accident. S**t if this could happen all the time the music world would start turning the other direction... . . f * * k i n killer.... Ain't rock n roll great ? All of it ! From anthrax to motorhead, the Beatles to Madonna, the kinks to Black flag rock n roll american born and bred. Its always been for rebellious young kids not for mom n dad and it'll never change. It'll be here forever and u either like it or u don't.
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matratus
Sand.....
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Very very good!!
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These guys are amazing...th e r e are baby pictures of me with the band. They are also playing in Philo CA tomorrow for his big 50th bday. Xo love u guys
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These guys are amazing...th e r e are baby pictures of me with the band. They are also playing in Philo CA tomorrow for his big 50th bday. Xo love u guys
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These guys are amazing...th e r e are baby pictures of me with the band. They are also playing in Philo CA tomorrow for his big 50th bday. Xo love u guys
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so coool. it just makes one feel
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What a clean ride!
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Love their music!
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Half a twinky with a half candle lit up for bobonnits half thumb.
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matratus
Great Music.
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They need a picture w the real band tho
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OMG!! Bobonnit gave a rare half thumb up!!
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All of the below! Jim, Alan, Martin, great guys. Even... effin'.... BRILLIANT
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aquamarine_2 5
inspirationa l
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Heady, inspirationa l , intelligent. . . . C O O L !
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wicked great listenings for work !!
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zindlerj3
This is great band, enjoy all of their songs. I've seen them whenever they visit the OC, I never get tired of listening to them. Check out their performances on Archive web page
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genafortytwo
It's such a lucky escape for us that we still have access to The Ventures reincarnated & updated.
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Sure have enjoyed many many shows from them. The best were at Nightbreak at the end of Haight Street in late 80's San Francisco - what a scene it was..
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snag1973
AAAAHHHHHHHH H H H H H H
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Jim Thomas is the guitarist that other great guitarist love.
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Merry Go Round is one of my favorite Mormen tunes. These guys are a hidden gem.
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This is the one band that actually sounds like you feel out in the water. Waiting for and riding waves.
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danzigirwin
Great stuff. Genre bending. 4/5
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schiger
Makes me feel 15 again....
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love this stuff !!!
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captainpylan t h e s
Love these guys, but they are very different than Man Or Astroman? Much more relaxed sound and more lengthy compositions . Man Or Astroman? is great too, but the only parallel I see is that most of their work could be considered surf.
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Not too bad.
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Awesome
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I think Man Or Astroman? is who they should be lumped in with. Which is a compliment.
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I first heard this fantastic sound coming from my young son's Road Rash video game. The best music I've heard in my life! I could not believe it. Still don't. It's like an epiphany!
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sbuckley11
YES
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chuckmac1
I saw them in San Francisco for a Maverick's big wave surf competion celebration. Been a fan ever since.
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Clears the mind!
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ocean music at it's best!!!!!
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Soothes the soul
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Thank you to Jim, Jen and the entire Mermen Family! Beautiful Music that soothes the soul
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Nor Cal represent... . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
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Dick Dale and these guys are 2 of my faves!
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tommynotoes
I play a mean surf guitar,,, But these guys are just a tad meaner.
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crxtc1988
Where the hell have I been? I guess I've been under a rock, not to hear about these guys! WOW!!!
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crispi03
saw them at the bluebird theater in denver during the 90's. they were asked to 'turn it down' which they didn't, then were banned from there for good ....great stuff
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madicksonm
I worked as a guitar tech for these guys off and on for about 8 years. I never got tired of the music and still love it.
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I first heard these guys on WFMU and have been hooked ever since. They never tour out east though :(
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I am just delighted to have found this band on Pandora (No one paid me to say that), thanks!
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very approachable , been enjoying them all over the Bay Area for many years-- Bolinas, Fairfax, Palo Alto, Petaluma, SF... check out Be My Noir-- awesome
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