Thursday, December 27, 2007

Best of the Blog

Here are some of the best Marah videos out there on the internet:

"Formula, Cola, Dollar Draft" From the first album Let's Cut the Crap and Hook up Later on Tonight. Video made by Serge's wife, Monica Bielanko.

"It's Only Money, Tyrone" from the 2nd album Kids in Philly. Video from a televised gig at the Rockpalast Festival in Bonn, Germany, October 18, 2006

"The Dishwasher's Dream" from the last album If You Didn't Laugh You'd Cry. From the same gig at Rockpalast on 10/18/06.

"Firecracker" from July 28, 2006 at Schuba's in Chicago.

Marah: "Firecracker"

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"Catfisherman" and "Walt Whitman Bridge" from the same show on 7/28/06.

A stripped down version of "Roundeye Blues" and then "Barstool Boys," which is dedicated to Bruce Langfeld, a musician who played on Marah's first few records and who had recently passed away. From Glen Ridge, NJ on April 28, 2007.

Dave, Serge, & Kirk playing "Faraway You" to close the show at the Barfly in London on September 28, 2005.

"Pigeon Heart" from 2004's 20,000 Streets Under the Sky at a Christmas show from Irving Plaza in NYC on December 9, 2005.

"The Hustle" from "A Night of Phidelity" in Brooklyn, NY in September of 2006.

"Body" from 20,000 Streets. In Philadelphia on February 21, 2007.

"Pizzeria" from Barcelona, Spain on March 11, 2007.

"Reservation Girl," an unreleased gem from the official dvd Sooner or Later in Spain.

"This Time" the bonus track from the last album If You Didn't Laugh, You'd Cry at the Abbey Pub in Chicago on February 17, 2006.

Covering the Replacements' classic "Can't Hardly Wait" at the same Chicago show.

"Float Away" A much slower version from the official dvd Sooner or Later in Spain

"Sooner or Later" from the official dvd.

A nicely filmed clip of "Angels on a Passing Train" during the November 2007 tour of the UK.

Performing the title song of their new album "Angels of Destruction" at the end of Late Night with Conan O'Brien on January 9, 2008.

MARAH @ Conan O Brien - Angels of Destruction

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"City of Dreams" also from IYDLYC. Another excellent video by Serge's better half, Monica Bielanko.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Merry Christmas from Christine and the Boys

Marah played three fantastic Christmas this shows this weekend. First, on Friday, December 7th, they played a packed TLA on South St. in Philly, opening with "Limb," debuting "Wilderness," and putting on an amazing show from start to finish, with excellent support from the Shalitas on backing vocals, the Matt Cappy Quartet on horns, and Jeff "Coolerman" Clark on bagpipes. This was followed by another triumphant show in New York City at the Bowery Ballroom on Saturday. But perhaps most special at all was the show at Drew's in Ringwood, NJ on Sunday. After some technical problems and a terrible weather forecast, the band played on with a special show for fans, friends, and family. The result was a loose atmosphere and a really fun setlist and from that we got one of the very best videos on this blog, Ms. Christine Smith singing "Santa Baby." Enjoy and merry Christmas everyone.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

"Walt Whitman Bridge" in London - 11/28/07

The band wraps up the show at London's Islington Academy and their nine city tour of England with the closing moments of the last song of the night, "Walt Whitman Bridge."

Thanks to WeirdCritter for this great video. You can check out his very cool blog right here:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

"Angels of Destruction" in Oxford, England - 11/26/07

Here's the band performing the title track of their new album out in January, Angels of Destruction!, in Oxford, England on November 26, 2008.

Thanks to Paul Murphy for the footage.

"Firecracker" in Chicago on 7/28/06

Here is a proshot video of Dave, Serge, and Kirk playing an acoustic version of "Firecracker," one of the best songs on the classic first album Let's Cut the Crap and Hook Up Later on Tonight. This is from Schubas in Chicago on July 28, 2006.

Marah: "Firecracker"

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Monday, November 19, 2007

Light of Day Benefit in Bedford, UK - 11/18/07

The Bielanko brothers and Ms. Christine Smith took part in a series of stripped down benefit concerts for the Light of Day foundation, a charity dedicated to fighting Parkinson's disease. The Marah trio was joined by Willie Nile, Joe D'Urso and local musicians along the way in Stockholm, Rotterdam, Rome, Barcelona, and here in Bedford, England. For the last show, the local musician was Badly Drawn Boy, as you'll see in the background of these clips. Thanks to Wierdcritter for the video.

"Dishwasher's Dream"

"Roundeye Blues"

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Christine Smith... the newest member of Marah

Christine Smith plays keyboards and backing vocals in Marah. She has added so much to the band in concert. I was also pleasantly surprised to hear her all over the new album Angels of Destruction, which will be out in January, taking their recorded work to whole other level of greatness, in my opinion. She's been an important addition to the band, completing a new lineup of dedicated, versatile, amazing musicians.

Before Marah, she spent a lot of time backing up another one of my favorite artists, Jesse Malin. She is also a solo artist with an excellent debut album Tomorrow Blues. For more on Christine, go to

Here's are some videos from Christine's solo performance, with a little help from her friends, at The Living Room in NYC on November 14, 2006:

Check out this video: The Car Alarm Choir Lullaby

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Down The Street

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Thursday, September 6, 2007

Marah w/ Bruce Springsteen at Light of Day 7

Before Bruce Springsteen took the stage w/ Joe Grushecky and the Houserockers at Light of Day 7 Benefit, he joined his friends in Marah for two songs to close out their set, "Raise Your Hand" and Marah's unreleased gem "Reservation Girl." From the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, NJ on December 2, 2006.

"Raise Your Hand"

Part of "Reservation Girl"

Light of Day is a charity devoted to helping others living with Parkinson's Disease. For more information or to make a donation visit

At the 100 Club in London, December 2004

Here's a couple songs from the band before Adam and Dave joined as they finish up a tour supporting one of their best records "20,000 Streets Under the Sky." Video is once again shot by Marah superfan PaulMurff.

Great, slowed down version of the classic "Formula, Cola, Dollar Draft"


"Cuidado" w/ Mike "Slo-Mo" Brenner on slide guitar and lead vocals

"Sure Thing" and "History of Where Someone Has Been Killed"

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

"Raise Your Hand" w/ Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band

On August 30, 2003, Dave & Serge joined Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band on stage during the encore for "Raise Your Hand." Thanks to a new audio bootleg of this great show, this video now has excellent sound. Check it out.

Recently, Bruce Springsteen's longtime friend and assistant Terry McGovern passed away. He was a good friend of the Bielanko brothers as well. On Marah's message board, Serge wrote a moving tribute to Terry with this great story about how Terry was there for them while they prepared to sing w/ Bruce and the band that night.

Standing backstage, really behind and under the stage, in a small dim-lit box of electronics and guitars, my brother Dave and I had cotton mouth. "Nerves" doesn't even begin to describe it. You cannot prepare yourself...or your body, or your mouth for such things; there is no training.

Occassionally, I would try to focus and then I would see bits and pieces of the band out on the stage: Springsteen's hair, Emmylou Harris's wind-swept dress, someone's guitar neck. Inside of my heart I felt all of the blood in my body bashing against the chamber walls like waves smashing a winter jetty, the effects of their collision rippling through my muscles to my skin, goosebumps the size of pencil erasers running a range up and down my arms and legs.

I looked at my brother. He had to go with me up there. To sing. With our hero. We both looked at the only other person around. It was Terry. Terry was Bruce's guy...his buddy and his minder and his assistant and for all I know he mighta wrote BORN TO RUN to be honest. He was a huge guy, intimidating to many folks, but secretly very very sweet, as Dave and I had discovered in the past few years. And for some reason, he really seemed to like my brother and me.

I stared Terry in the eye.

"Dude, this is nerve-wracking. All of New Jersey is out there!!!"

He stared back. Music out on the stage, 60,000 people, Giants F'in Stadium just beyond this thin black curtain, what seemed like all the world gathered to scream and hoot for their beloved native son.

"You guys got this, you know you do," he growled. He looked past me. Did he really believe we were about to pooch the show??

My brother, his lips as dry as mine, his heart as bursting with unfiltered joy and fear, mumbled that he needed a beer. Of course, the very notion of even sipping a beer before appearing out on that stage with The E Street band was a twisted one, almost sacreligous to the very notion of the rare and wonderful opportunity being presented to us. I hoped Terry hadn't heard Dave say that. I didn't want him to think we weren't taking this as seriously as we were. Christ, I was as serious as passing out....which was a distinct possibility at this point.

Dave and I watched, or rather listened, to the song before us unfurl. Bruce Springsteen and Emmylou Harris sang a duet, I think. I don't even remember. I only recall wishing simultaneously that the wind would kick up so hard, a great typhoon wind, as to blow Emmylou right off the stage leading to a speedier appearence for us. Yet at the same time, I wanted their song to last forever, days turning to weeks, then years, Bruce forgetting all about us as the scattered sands of time blew over him and the band and the stadium and the fans...maybe to fossilize there, the song only ending centuries from now. Then me and my bro would just shrink away back to the hole we climbed out of, never to perform in the dream we had somehow dreamed into reality.

Then, I noticed Terry had disappeared.

The song onstage was minutes old, soon to end, I thought. I peeked over the cold steel steps that rose to the stage and saw for the first time the magnificent endless horizon of lighters, flashbulbs; the swells and sways of a massive crowd thrusting with life out there in the dark. Dave's leg was bouncing up and down beneath him, his boiling excitement jackhammering his bones.

My lips were sun-baked wedges of licorice. My tongue was a hunk of sticky kindergarten paste rolled in seashore sand. Dear God, I thought...not now....PLEASE!!!...just let me get the words out for three more minutes! Let me sing this song with my brother and Bruce and Patti and all without having to pull my mouth open with my fists in order to hear a dry squeak eek out of my gob and into the piping hot microphone that would deliver my message to "RAISE YOUR HAND" to the crowd! Palpatations, beads of sweat, visions of glory or absolute failure, everything was slashing into everything else, my courage beginning to fail, my dream in danger, when I felt the cold touch of a late summer ghost on my rigid arm.

It was Terry. He had a bottle of Rolling Rock in each of his giant paws and he was touching them ever so slightly to my brother's arm, and to mine. He had gone and gotten them for us. I was his forever.

He didn't say a word as we took them from him. The song was ending. The crowd was roaring. I thanked him with my eyes above their sound. Ahhh but Terry,he was already smiling. Smiling that rare grin and watching the two brothers slug down their bottles of beer as if their was nothing left in this world but to finish them, crack a burp, and walk out into the spotlights of an enchanted land where dreams come true for little guys, while gentle giants hang off in the distance,unseen, but forever watching your back.

Goodbye Terry... Thank you for the way you treated us, the beers, and the passes to a dream.

Serge Bielanko

Sunday, June 17, 2007

10/01/05 - Acoustic in Oxford, England

Here's Dave, Serge, and Kirk playing an acoustic gig at a Harley Davidson Rally in Oxford, England on October 1, 2005. More great footage from PaulMurff...

"Barstool Boys"

"Pigeon Heart"


"Float Away"

"Roundeye Blues"


"Faraway You"

"On the Road Again"

Saturday, June 16, 2007

5/03/06 - A Love Train in Pavia, Italy

Here's a cool video from Marah's encore at The Blue Stage in Pavia, Italy on May 3, 2006. The band covers "Love Train" by the Ojay's, a great Philadelphia soul band from the 1970's. This is fantastic:

3/18/07 - At The Fire in Philly

Marah closed a benefit show for Berthony Baptiste, a Philadelphia immigrant recovering from gunshot wounds, on March 18, 2007 at the Northern Liberties venue The Fire. They played a short set at the end of a long night of great music. Here are 4 of the songs:


"Demon of White Sadness"

"Sooner or Later"

"The Closer"

Sunday, June 10, 2007

9/28/05 - Full Acoustic Show at the Barfly in London

Marah played an acoustic show w/ just Dave, Serge, and Kirk at The Barfly in London on September 28, 2005. They played 20 songs. Here's the full show:

"It's Only Money Tyrone"

"Pigeon Heart" ... and the kebob story

"City of Dreams"

"Baby Love"


"My Heart is the Bums on the Street"

"Demon of White Sadness"



"Float Away"

"Time Has Told Me"

"For the Price of a Song"

"Round Eye Blues"

"Long Hot Summer"

"Point Breeze"

"Walt Whitman Bridge"

"The Apartment"

"Barstool Boys"

"On the Road Again"

"Faraway You"

Monday, June 4, 2007

3/11/07 - Barcelona, Spain - Full Show

The complete final night of Marah's 2007 tour of Spain. From Barcelona on March 11, 2007. This is some of the best footage that PaulMurff has shot. I can't thank him enough for all the great footage of Marah he has helped provide us all with.

Rocky Theme Intro/"East"

"It's Only Money, Tyrone"


"Demon of White Sadness"

"Dishwasher's Dream"

"Roundeye Blues"

"Sooner or Later"

"Feather Boa/Baba O'Riley"

"City of Dreams"

"Poor People"


"Pigeon Heart"

"This Time"

"Freedom Park"


"My Heart is the Bums on the Street"

"Walt Whitman Bridge"

Encore: "The Apartment" & "Do You Wanna Dance"

"Point Breeze"

"The Closer"

"The History of Where Someone Has Been Killed"

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

5/19/07 - The Marah DB Trio at the Stone Pony

Marah is playing some summer dates w/ just Dave Bielanko, Kirk Henderson, and Christine Smith playing as a trio. Serge Bielanko is with his family setting up shop in his new home out in Utah. Adam and Dave are touring this summer with their own band Adam and Dave' Bloodline (look for a post on them soon).

Here is the DB Trio playing at the Wave Gathering at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ on May 19. 2007. The video isn't the best, but it gives you a good idea of the great stuff you'll be able to see this summer if you are lucky enough to see them play.


"My Heart is the Bums on the Street"

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Johnny Brenda's in Philly on 2/21/07 - Full First Set

Marah played Johnny Brenda's in Philadelphia, PA on February 21, 2007. This was a warm up up show for the band's tour of Spain, but they were in top form. I was lucky enough to be at this show and PaulMurff did a nice job of filming this for all of us to enjoy again. Great sound, too.

"It's Only Money, Tyrone"



"Demon of White Sadness"

"City of Dreams" and "Bay"

"Poor People"


"Rowhouse Row"

"Barstool Boys"

"Dishwasher's Dream"

"Sooner or Later"

Wednesday, May 2, 2007's Profile on Dave & Serge: Kids in Philly in 2000 posted a good one from the vault recently, an interesting piece on Dave & Serge Bielanko, the two frontmen of Marah. The two brothers hang out in South Philly and discuss one of their best records, 2000's Kids in Philly. Here's a link:

Monday, April 30, 2007

Stripped Down in Glen Ridge, NJ on 4/28/07

Four members of Marah (Dave, Serge, Kirk, and Christine) played a stripped down show on Saturday night in Glen Ridge, NJ on April 28, 2007. Here are some of the highlights:

"Rain Delay," a classic from the first record.

A great slower version of "Roundeye Blues" and then "Barstool Boys," which is dedicated to Bruce Langfeld, a musician who played on Marah's first few records and recently passed away.

"My Heart is the Bums on the Street"

"Sooner or Later"

Keep checking back. Hopefully, there'll be more to come.

Marah w/ Nick Hornby in London - 4/06/06

Author Nick Hornby, whose books include High Fidelity and About a Boy among others, toured w/ Marah in 2006. Nick would read some of his prose pieces on music and Marah then kicked out the jams. This is an amazing show from Dingwall's in London, England on April 06, 2006.

Phil Jupitus intro, reading from Nick, then Marah w/ "It's Only Money, Tyrone"

Nick's essay on The Faces (one of my favorite bands ever) & Marah plays "Debris"

Nick on Bob Marley & Marah plays "Thank You Lord"

Nick on The Clash & Marah plays "Lost in the Supermarket"

Nick on Marah, who then play "Limb" & "Demon of White Sadness"

"Point Breeze" & "The Apartment"

"Sooner or Later"

"Float Away" and "Roundeye Blues"

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Valencia, Spain - 3/09/07 - Entire Show

PaulMurff filmed an entire show from the band in Valencia, Spain on March 9. 2007.

"It's Only Money, Tyrone" and "East"

"Demon of White Sadness" and "Barstool Boys"

"This Time" and "Catfisherman"

"Dishwasher's Dream"

"Roundeye Blues" and "Sooner or Later"

"Feather Boa" and "City of Dreams"

"Poor People" and "Why Independent Record Stores Fail"

"Pizzeria," "My Heart is the Bums on the Street," and "Walt Whitman Bridge"


"The Apartment"

"Do You Wanna Dance?" & "Point Breeze"

"The Closer"

Monday, April 23, 2007

Zaragosa, Spain - 03/10/07 - 11 Videos

Paul Murff set up a camera at the side of the stage for another great show from the recent tour of Spain in March, giving us more evidence that the band has never been better than right now.

"Dishwasher's Dream"

"Demon of White Sadness"

"Round Eye Blues"

"Sooner or Later"

"City of Dreams/Poor People"


"Rowhouse Row"

"So What If We're Outta Tune (With the Rest of the World)"

"Pigeon Heart"

"For the Price of a Song"

"My Heart is the Bums on the Street"

"Walt Whitman Bridge"

Serge on the recording of the new record...

Serge Bielanko had a number of great posts on the bands official message board about the recording of the new album in Brooklyn. So I thought it would be a good idea to collect them all here.

April 14, 2007. "RECORD"

After cigarette number 23 yesterday, my lungs and stuff just stopped clockin the smoke. My veins stopped trying to dilate and keep up with the action. My nose stopped trying to smell stuff. Except smoke. And the room was filled with it. Smoke, smoke, smoke,....the killer, the devil's mist, the whisping sky-snake of death. Smoke that many cigarettes before 3pm and they oughta send ya' a skull ring in the mail. You're tough. Nervous. Jittery and raw. If the smokes ran out, at times like this, people like us would knaw through the softer underside of our arms, gash at a main vein with our teeth, and slurp the nicotine right out of our own blood, as if it were the candy'd syrup in a wax straw....old school penny candy never dies. So, yesterday's fog slipped out of Christine's lips, rumbled through Petey's cymabl chain, wove itself through Kirk's soft curls and down into my ashtray, through my strings, and then over to tease Adam with a very seducing shimmy in his face, only to finally wither out in the face of the much grander and over powering smoke stirred up fiercely by the Army of Dave.

And that is the scene. Simply add a TGIF's worth of Christmas lights and wall flair, some persistent amp hum, occasional creepy silences after final notes ring off....and you've pretty much dropped right in on Marah getting ready to make a new record. There are songs galore. So many fucking songs/ too many! The wonders of sobriety have led my bro to new writing heights. And to heights nearly as towering as Kirk's simmering quads: as far as an actual stack of paper goes. I have a few numbers too. The band is savage now; greased and raw like a sad whore's lottery. I wish some of you could experience a bit of when new music is getting born. It's so bizzare. Nothing really makes sense as little new track slips outta Mama. And by this stage in our lives we understand enough about the process to accept that, and to never expect to translate what was written at a coffee table or in a lonesome corner of a sideroom, some time ago, to absolute music right away. Band people need to feel it out first. They don't really hear what it is you heard when you wrote it and produced it perfectly and mastered it and opened the door for the UPS guy (Doug Heffernan!) so he could deliver you the Platinum Record that you immediately hung on the wall of the Mind Studio down on Pipedream Avenue where you do your best work...

Still.It is all so brillant at the end of the long day, when I can't get it out of my head, ya know? That chorus that I wrote or the bridge Dave wrote or this part or piece that Adam is riffin out....whatever it is, whoever is laying it's spankin new and foreign and scary and so loud and slightly familiar yet not at all and sexy in dirty ways because its a stranger diggin on me with a wild little hot breath beam blown right into my ear. And that, people, is why I love the rock and roll and new record making and the headaches from volume and the fussing over a stupid verse and the promise of yet another shot at never-ending life, which is what they give you if you write the best song ever wrote....


(We will be recording our next record at a studio in Brooklyn NYC this coming week.I will try and post to you from there with an update or whatever the hell this is called. The record will be out the first week of September, give or take a Tuesday. We have a title in mind but not certain yet. If I have told you the title idea in person, keep it to yourself: ok Bozo the chatty clown???!!!! There is no soundtrack; we fucked it off; we took the $53,000 they gave us and bought a cigarette boat....only to find that it wasn't shaped or decorated like a cigarette, or even close. That sucked.)

April 17, 2007. "RECORD, DAY 2"

Day one went like this: coffee, coffee, cigarette, Adam arrives, it snowed in Philly, Chinatown bus trouble on the turnpike, Petey arrives, coffee, chatter, studio is tremendously cool...big open tracking room, band can play live, old record covers tacked to the wall in a front garage that is cluttered with old amps: dead and living, I notice a record called the Ballad of Johnny Bench on the wall and that makes me smile even though it has to be bizzare, coffee, cigs, coffee, cigs, its raining out, a few hours to get drums up and amps too. Songs are cut in one take, maybe two. News reaches us of a tragedy in Virginia and Christine mentions the story of The Boomtown Rats and "I Don't Like Mondays", coffee, cigarette, Greek Salad at diner, coffee pot seems nuclear reactor hot, music sounds sensational, this band can leaarn a song and have it recorded in an hour: which is all band dude's wet dream. No one is happier than me even though I could never really explain it. Day ends at 11pm after 12 hours of tracking. Good day, indeed.


April 19, 2007. "MAKIN' RECORD, DAY 3 AND 4"

Funny that the sun would come out today in the Big Apple. Just as we begin to be able to listen to all we've done the past few days. I am exhausted, can't sleep well for the 6 hours I get to try. I have eaten nothing but pizza for 3 days. And coffee. And some beer after we close shop. I am even having trouble stringing coherent thoughts together. But it's all badass, because last night I got to stand in the middle of about nine people in a fantastic room and sing live to a most insanely wild sound. Pipes, guitars, drums, tambourines, organ, clav, orgy of hill-country hell-conjuring music. It was one of the greatest moments in my life. Ever.

And we taped it.

Today, we are a bit more settled. This studio is fabulous, the guys who work here are too, and we are all now just loping in and out of the control room as we start to do rough mixes of the 12 or 13 songs we cut here since Monday. It's relaxed and energized here. Exciting. And promising. We have our own little world, where coffee streams run through meadows of Marlboro Lights. And I like that alot. No one tells us what to do. There are no ugly distractions. There is a fellow called Willie from Kentucky here, who sits in a chair and smiles and taps his brown Reebok sometimes, to the beat of the song pumping back through the speakers...and that is calming to have around, you know? Every little magic world needs a guy called Willie from Kentucky in it. At least I think so.

I miss my wife alot. And my dog. I miss eating our tacos and watching the King of Queens. But, Its all worth it for sure. This could end up being a double-record of gargantuan status and I need to prepare myself for this kind of being away, for music. I am probably gonna end up being a very popular rock star now, against my better judgement...and that is just the fucking way the world goes round, yo.

Adam Garbinski has just brought me another cup of gourmet coffee from the shop up the street. I am a golden god.


PS: Here are some titles of the new songs:
-Gaylord Perry
-Phil Neikro
-Bruce Sutter
-What The Hell Are You Wearing?

April 20, 2007. RECORD, DAY 5

Sunny Brooklyn afternoon for our last day in the studio. After today, it'll be up to a week of seclusion somewhere, maybe upstate Pennnsylvania; to lay down vocals, bells and whistles, and stuff. Listening to a few tracks in the van this morning was glorious. Bro Dave seems almost astonished by what we've accomplished in just a short time. But, looking at it hard, it's easy to see why we've been able to make some magic occur.

Simply put, you couldnn't ask for a better band in this world. Dave P, Adam, Kirk, Christine....we look at them as our friends, people we love. They are quirky and sometimes huffy. Just like me and Dave. They eat nachos without grace and let sour cream dots hang to the corners of their lips too long. They get tired and distant at can see in their eyes the longing to just walk away for awhile, catch a movie maybe. It ain't easy, in fact, it's a mindfuck. Yet, I am in utter awe of them, both as the massive talent each one is, but maybe even moreso in regards to what very cool souls they posses.

Musicians come and go on this Earth, and for what it's worth I say: good. I make music, Marah music, and by far it is the only music that I really love. I also love things like Motown and Springsteen and old bluegrass and some vintage jazz and stuff, but overall I could give two flying squirrel turds about the comings and goings of the rest of it. When Dylan dies, so will a indescribable thing, something even he had no idea was happening. I guess what I am saying is that so much of being a musician and songwriter and being in a band is the inside shit. The experiences that occur amidst a whirl of chaos and money problems and lonliness, with a few select people who either have you in their heart or don't. That's what Marah is these days: a collective of bizzarely connected hearts; doing shit we don't even realize in the present perspective. It'll take years for that, and even then, the record will be long ago, with other peoples deciding its particular fate.

What I'm talking about is the here and the now. 6 people with burrito breath and caffeinated hearts, pumping out the most awesome music ever recorded or even imagined. You don't plan that shit and you don't get to really dictate it to the posterity canon either. The truth is you simply stand there, beside your amp, surrounded by a swamp of cables and guitars and lummy sticks, and you look left or right at the other person playing next to ya, and you close your eyes and listen to the song begin and you just choose to believe it. And with all becomes very very true. The greatest music ever gave. Because that, my friend, is the way it really seriously goes.


April 25, 2007. RECORD, DAY 6.

Today finds us in Kirk's home studio on phase two of the record making process. Or Phase IXV...however you wish to see it, I guess. Kirk lives in a vast loft with a gargantuan kitchen by NYC standards and a smaller open area by a 70's couch that we use as our project base. That doesn't mean that vocals won't be cut in the fine sounding elevated bathroom or the defunct dryer. They will. And guitars will probably be tracked standing by the kitchen table too. It's loose and cool, this place, but also has everything we need sonically. Sometimes we take spoons and pots from the cabinets and record them on the songs. This time'll be no different, I guess.
As for what we have here songwise, well its a pickle. Do we concentrate on just 12 or so or do we tackle the batch...maybe 25, that we have amassed between last week and two other sessions we did in Nashville and NYC, respectively? We're leaning toward the whole thing; do 'em all and let God sort 'em out, you know? Then we'll record, two, three...

The double-album is an exciting prospect even though people's attention spans are about the size of a Chicklet these days. For us, the songs have taken on a sort of thematic and musical attachment to one another in that: it's pretty tough to list 11 or 12 of them without all of the sudden realizing that you've stripped away 6 others that really worked fantastic in the mix as well. And maybe that's how double records are born, huh? More these soldiers don't seem to march far without ALL of their commrades beside them.

Of course, we've had a thousand conversations about the pros and cons of a double record, too. Does it scare certain music fans away? Is it pompous and bloated? What if it all works so well you still chop it in half, put out two seperate records? There are a lot of questions, indeed. But they're rivoting arty questions to deal with, huh? It's all just fun and games in the end. Not like asking the important questions in, say,

"I wonder if I have a kid and name him Bronco Bielanko, if other kids will make fun of him?"


April 26, 2007. RECORD, DAY 7.

Arrived at Kirk's after a fitful night's sleep in which a helicopter held a holding pattern directly above the room I was in for 15 minutes steady at 5:30am before swooping in with an amazing sonic blast, just outside the sole window that hangs at the foot of my air mattress, before choppering away over toward Manhattan.
First thing I did upon my arrival here was to eat a cold slice of pizza from the fridge. Nice. A distinct lack of vegetables over the past two plus weeks has led me to feel a bit scurvy-ish, which is probably not much of turn-on to you the reader, yet must be presented in the narrative in the spirit of Naturalism.

Yesterday found us working long and hard on one song for 10 hours, which pretty much collapsed my brain like a pin-popped water balloon by 11pm. The work was worth it though, and so we have moved on to a new song. Dave is singing vocals in the loo because the sound in there is deadened and plus there is a nice shower curtain featuring schooners which is a nice touch when standing alone at a microphone with the weight of the proverbial world on your damn slagging shoulders; trying to sing what you hear in your head can be tough at times, and frustrating. Schooners on the horizon? The edge is suddenly taken away...ahhh ships, the ocean, the gentle lapping waves. A little imagination and there you are: cutting vocals in a seaside recording studio, staring out at the big drink, gulls calming your nerves. But alas, then Kirk is hollering from outside the door..."Are you ready to try that again...C'mon, let's get this...people need to piss in there!"...and reality settles back in. You are in a Brooklyn bathroom, two feet from a john, and you are singing for a record. Life is a gas!

As for me personally, I miss my new home in Utah more than I though I would after really only being there a week. Me and my wife walking in the mountains with my dog, Max, as he scares up a sage grouse and chews on a dried deer foot....I never had that before in my life. And really really love it and miss it now. But, I know I will go back home soon. As soon as we get this music all done. Then I will eat some vegetables and climb up foothills and play with my wife's hair and tell Max that he is allowed to eat mud if he wants. Ahh, the little things. Something to look forward to...


April 27, 2007. RECORD, DAY 8.

It is rainy and blue again here in Brooklyn. There was thunder roaring as I went to sleep last night though so I guess that means that despite the dreary weather, spring and then summer are indeed just a few storms away. I never believed in winter thunder; it doesn't make any sense so I just choose to ignore it and chalk it up to imagination. Thunder belongs to the middle seasons, the warm ones. I take solace in that on this crappy day.

Not that it makes much difference . I am inside again. We've worked our way forth to maybe song 5 or 6 now. Not bad, I suppose. All the music we are making is just so crazy to me in how it reveals itself. Each song my brother Dave and I write is steeped in the folk mentality I think, mostly because we write exclusively on acoutic guitar, alone, with whole orchestras playing alongside us in our heads. But, in the end it's just really the guitar and the words we come up with and then eventually: a trillion melody ideas stampeding all over the dust of the idea like a herd of whistling wild horses. It's quite difficult for a long long time to often realize that what you might pull out of all that mess could turn into something like what we are working on now; a song, with body and sequence and beat and other people playing wonderful things in it.

It seems a million miles and a billion years ago that I first hesitated and klutzed around the first few notes of some of these things. But the truth tells a different tale.

And it is hard for me to adjust to the fact sometimes that just three weeks ago, in a basement in Utah, I stared at my coffee cup and poked my pen at my paper, and started some songs. With a word here and a chord there and a massive self-consious battery on my shoulder that talks and tells me that everything I'm doing is wrong, terrible, laughable and trite. But what can I do? I plunge forward anyway, uncertain and irritable, playing the damn thing over and over and over again to myself in the most self-involved solo show any bastard ever dreamed up. Most of the ideas fall flat. I leave them behind in the basement, the musical equivalent of old VHS tapes I'll never watch again but can't throw away. But a few survive, though I get all terribly unsure of them, then like them again, then hate them. Then I play them for Dave, the band. And now, here we are and I'll be damned if a couple didn't make it all the way to the Big Apple. Now,they're songs, by God. That part of all this making music, that's my favorite.

Steve Earle once told me and Dave something, and in the same spirit I recently read a line from Jeff Tweedy of Wilco. It's a wise old-school kind of saying and pretty true too. It goes like this:

"If you have a song but you can't really play it on just the guitar, then it isn't REALLY a song."

Of course, we could all argue that with a few favorite examples. But then again, I can't really come up with any myself. And that makes me feel good. At least it would seem then that I'm on the right/write path in one department.


Thursday, March 22, 2007

"Walt Whitman Bridge" in Mallorca

The second night of March's tour of Spain. At Teatro Lloseta in Mallorca, Spain on March 2, 2007

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

"Feather Boa"

From Alicante, Spain on March 8, 2007. Filmed by PaulMurff.

"Sure Thing"

From Alicante, Spain on March 8, 2007. Filmed by PaulMurff.

For more clips from the Alicante show, go to

Monday, March 19, 2007

"City" and "Dishwasher's" in El Sol, Spain

Here's a couple more videos from Spain. These are from El Sol on March 7, 2007. Filmed by marklar1138.

"City of Dreams"

Part of "Dishwasher's Dream" (The fan's camera ran out of memory.)

"Poor People" from Zaragoza, Spain

The band plays "Poor People," another of the great songs off of the last album, "If You Didn't Laugh, You'd Cry." This is from Zaragoza, Spain on March 10, 2007.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

In Bilbao, Spain on 3/03/07

Here's some clips from Marah in Bilbao, Spain on March 3, 2007.

Part of "City of Dreams"

"It's Only Money, Tyrone"

"Do You Wanna Dance?" and "Pigeon Heart"

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Soundcheck w/ "City," "Demon," and "Limb" in Barcelona

10 minutes of the soundcheck from Barcelona on March 11, 2007 including "City of Dreams," "Demon of White Sadness" and "Limb." Filmed by PaulMurff.

"The Apartment" in Barcelona

From Barcelona on March 11, 2007. One of my favorite songs sung by Serge. From the last record "If You Didn't Laugh, You'd Cry"

"Do You Wanna Dance" in Barcelona

From Barcelona on March 11, 2007. Adam Garbinski on lead vocals here.

Wednesday, March 7, 2007

"Catfisherman" at the Stone Pony on 2/24/07

Opening song from the Stone Pony in Asbury, NJ on February 24, 2007. Filmed by PaulMurff.

"It's Only Money, Tyrone" at the Stone Pony

From the Stone Pony in Asbury, NJ on February 24, 2007. Filmed by PaulMurff.

"Rowhouse Row," "Point Breeze," and "Sooner or Later" at the Pony

Long video here. "Rowhouse Row" is a new Philly song. From the Stone Pony in Asbury, NJ on February 24, 2007. Filmed by PaulMurff.

"Point Breeze" at the Stone Pony

"Point Breeze" by itself. From the Stone Pony in Asbury, NJ on February 24, 2007. Filmed by PaulMurff.

"Soul" at the Stone Pony

From the Stone Pony in Asbury, NJ on February 24, 2007. Filmed by PaulMurff.

"East" & "The Closer" at the Stone Pony

From the Stone Pony in Asbury, NJ on February 24, 2007. Filmed by PaulMurff.

Saturday, March 3, 2007

Adam and Dave's Bloodline - "The Train Driver" at the Stone Pony

Two of the guys in Marah, Adam Garbinski and Dave Petersen, have their own group called Bloodline. If you're lucky, they will open a Marah show in spectacular fashion, so make sure you get to the show early. This is my favorite song of theirs, "The Train Driver," from the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ on February 24, 2007. If you do a search, you can find the whole set filmed by PaulMurff on YouTube, but for now, enjoy this great song here.

Friday, March 2, 2007

"Body" from Maxwell's in Hoboken

Fan video of the band playing "Body" at Maxwell's in Hoboken, NJ on February 17, 2007.

Dave plays solo on "Tippecanoe"

Update on this legendary story from Dave. This is from Philadelphia, PA at World Cafe Live on May 18, 2006. I was lucky enough to be at this show and it was an incredible night.

Part 1: The Intro

Part 2: The Song

"Tippecanoe County Correctional Theme Park Blues"

Dave and Indiana just don't mix.

More from South by Southwest in 2006.

Soundcheck w/ "East" and "Tame the Tiger"

Something truly special here, it's PaulMurff's video of Marah's soundcheck last Wednesday, February 21st, at Johnny Brenda's in Philadelphia. After some strumming from Serge, the band plays "East" and "Tame the Tiger."

"Tyrone" at Antone's in Austin, TX

Yet another wild performance of "It's Only Money, Tyrone" from Antone's in Austin, TX during the 2006 South By Southwest Music Showcase.

"Demon of White Sadness" in Spain

From the dvd "Sooner or Later in Spain"

Thursday, March 1, 2007

"If You Didn't Laugh, You'd Cry" at the Stone Pony

This is great video from PaulMurff of Marah's show last Friday at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, NJ on February 23, 2007. Paul says there is more to come soon. Can't wait to see it.

"Catfisherman" a.k.a. Karaoke w/ Marah

Marah superfan Cline directed me towards this funny clip. Here's the story from the man himself:

"Marah's 2nd night at the Iota Cafe in Arlington took a turn for the awesome with the introduction of Marah Karaoke. Dave Bielanko's throat was sore as hell, so his vocal duties were reduced in favor of other bandmates and 4 lucky fans.

This one is me (Cline) yelling my way through The Catfishermen."

On the World Cafe radio show - 2/13/06

On February 13, 2006, this performance/interview aired on David Dye's World Cafe Radio Show. Marah plays a bunch of the new songs from their best record yet, "If YOu Didn't Laugh, You'd Cry" including "City of Dreams," "The Apartment," "Walt Whitman Bridge," and "Sooner or Later." Enjoy the tunes:

Monday, February 26, 2007

"Dishwasher's Dream" from Rockaplast

From the Rockpalast Festival in Germany, October 18, 2006. One of the my favorite songs here.

"Tyrone" at the Bowery Ballroom

"It's Only Money, Tyrone" at the Bowery Ballroom in New York City on June 6, 2006.

An Interview with a Dave

An interview w/ Dave Bielanko, co-lead singer/songwriter of Marah on April 23, 2006. 17 minutes long.

30 Minute Set from the Blue Highways Festival in Utrecht

A great find here. This is the Marah set from the Blue Highways Festival in Utrecht in the Netherlands on April 22, 2006.

Wish the audio and video source were better, but it is proshot and it is a great set. Hit the Google Video button in the corner to see the show on a larger screen. Enjoy.

"Tyrone" Sighting at the 100 Club in London

The first of 3 songs from Marah's set at the 100 Club in London, England on November 20, 2005. Big thank you to PaulMurff for all this footage, who also did an excellent job filming a Nottingham show that is also on this blog.

I'm running out of videos here Paul. How about hooking us up with some more when you get the chance?

"Nightime" at the 100 Club

Song 2 from the 100 Club in London, England on 11/20/05. Filmed by PaulMurff.

"Price of a Song" at the 100 Club

Song 3 from the 100 Club in London, England on 11/20/05. Filmed by PaulMurff.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

"Tyrone" at SXSW

Wild version of "It's Only Money, Tyrone" at South By Southwest in Austin, TX.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

"Formula Cola, Dollar Draft"

Great video by Monica Bielanko, Serge's better half.

"City of Dreams" in NYC

At Tower Records in New York City on December 5, 2005

"Long Hot Summer" at Schuba's

Great video filmed by SDonkey at Schuba's in Chicago in 2006.

"Reservation Girl"

From the dvd "Sooner or Later in Spain"

"Pigeon Heart"

Live from Irving Plaza in New York City on December 9, 2005. A great song from 2004's "20,000 Streets Under the Sky"

"Barstool Boys"

A classic song from 2000's "Kids in Philly" with a story from Serge. At Mad Planet in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on February 9, 2006.