Merryweather Stark is the uniting of Canadian bassist/vocalist Neil Merryweather and Swedish guitarist Janne Stark. The pair having nearly one hundred combined years in the music industry playing with an assortment of diverse artists. With Carved in Rock, their debut album from GMR Music, they deliver a no-frills, straightforward slab of 70s influenced hard rock.
Merryweather has a long career as a singer, bass player, composer and producer including playing and recording with Mama Lion, Heavy Cruiser, Eyes, Lita Ford, Steve Miller, Randy California, Hundred Watt Head and under his own name. Whereas Stark has released numerous albums with bands like Overdrive, Grand Design, Constancia, Locomotive Breath, Balls and Mountain of Power. The latter was also the project that started this new collaborative journey, Merryweather guesting on two tracks and and two his songs featured on Mountain of Power’s Volume Three album.
Following completion of that album the pair started talking about the possibility of doing something further together. Stark sent Merryweather a song he had been working on and two days later received lyrics and vocal melodies written for the track that became ‘Babylon – Sin City’. From thereon it was full throttle.
“The writing process has been so effortless and so much fun,” said Stark. “Some songs I’ve had the basic musical idea for, sent it to Neil, he got back with vocal ideas and lyrics, maybe switched things around so that the bridge became a chorus and the solo section became a verse. Some songs Neil came up with and I added some additional ideas. We also did a rerecording of one of Neil’s old tracks: ‘Always Be You’, which he still sings in the same key it was originally recorded in 1974.” The track will appear as a bonus track for the vinyl version of Carved In Rock.
The pair chose Martin J Andersen (Blindstone, Meridian) to mix the album as they were looking for a classic, dynamic, seventies oriented sound without sounding dated, with real acoustic drums, bass, guitars and tube amps! Drums on the album were handled by Peter (TrumPeter) Svensson, whom Stark has worked with consistently since the 80s..
Musically, the Merryweather Stark album features a mix of crunchy riff rock, funky rhythms, seventies hard rock, high speed riffs, mid paced classic rock and a touch of bluesy licks. The lyrics ranges from tongue-in-cheek songs such as ‘Rockers Lament’ to matters reflecting what’s happening in the world today, with the likes of ‘What’s It Gonne Be’ and ‘Give ‘Em Hell, Boy’. The record is available now from GMR Music.