Interview with Kevin Mercer of Krank; September 2003

South Jersey's answer to shock rock, Krank has been part of the Philly scene on and off for the last 20 years. Well this time Krank are back with a new lineup and new CD, but with the same attitude, which made them Metal Blade Recording artists and a vital part of the once booming East Coast Philly music scene.

Q1. How and when did you start playing bass, and what are your main influences?

A1. Well now if I tell you that I'll be revealing my age haha! But actually its no secret we've been around for forever it seems. I started playing in '78; self-taught just learning bass lines from KISS, Aerosmith and Iron Maiden records. My biggest influence actually is Billy Sheehan, who used to play local clubs in the area (upstate NY) with a band called Talas.

Q2. How did you first hook up with the rest of the guys from Krank?

A2. I signed with a professional musicians referral service. They put my name out on a list all across the country. I got a call from Frank a couple of weeks afterward. I flew down to Philly to audition, and the rest is history.

Q3. Krank played shows with bands like Twisted Sister, Loudness and Megadeth, meanwhile local bands like Cinderella and Britny Fox were opening for Krank back in Philly. Did the band think their success would help or hurt Krank?

A3. Cinderella and Britny Fox were great bands at the time and it seemed to put a focus on the Philly/South Jersey scene. Their success could only help.

Q4. Who were some of your favorite bands to play with, and who did Krank just hate playing with?

A4. We always loved playing with TEEZE. We all got along great, even shared the stage together a few times. KIX was really cool as well as Cities. They both treated us great. We never really had a problem with any of the other bands; it was a pretty cool scene back then.

Q5. The band were signed to Metal Blade records, which at the time was mostly a thrash/speed metal label, but Krank had an outrageous shock rock look. Do you think it hurt the band being associated with Metal Blade?

A5. Not at all! At that time, Metal Blade bands all pretty much had the same look and sound. We kind of stood out in the crowd there. Besides, ya can't beat worldwide exposure, can ya?

Q6. The band, which was well received by the metal music community and also by top music press suddenly broke up, but what actually happened?

A6. After we conquered the Philly scene we decided to try LA so we relocated out there and promptly got lost in a sea of hundreds of other bands. I saw the writing on the wall and split. The other guys hung in there for another 2 years, only playing a handful of shows and when Frank got in contact with a major management company (who shall remain nameless) they offered the band a deal if it could change its image to a bluesy, Aerosmith /GnR type thing which was about to take off. Frank tried to make the change, but the other guys weren't going to go for it so that was pretty much the end.

Q7. It was 1987 when Krank broke up, was there any chance for a new version of Krank continuing where the old band left off?

A7. At that point, no. For all intents and purposes, KRANK was dead.

Q8. What happened with yourself and the rest of Krank after the breakup? Were their other bands you worked on?

A8. The only one who really stayed active musically was me. I was involved in several original and cover bands. Buffalo NY's Bittersweet, Philly's The Scream Clan, Tokyo Rose, KISS tribute band Dressed to Kill, and Iron Maiden Tribute band Maiden America.

Q9. In 1995 yourself and Frank (Lead Vocalist) put Krank back together with a new guitarist and drummer how did that come about, especially in a time when such music was frowned upon?

A9. Well actually that was a cover band Frank and I put together. We played all kind of cool stuff but when it came to picking a name we figured what the hell? Might as well call it KRANK since there are still 2 of us.

Q10. The 1995 version of Krank didn't last too long, what happened to make it so short lived?

A10. I got caught bonkin the guitarists ex wife and he got pissed. They kicked me out and then couldn't find a replacement haha!

Q11. Did you continue with your musical career or was it more or less no Krank, no music?

A11. Nah Music is the only thing I've ever known. Other musicians have hobbies to occupy their time, my only pastime IS music.

Q12. In 2002 Krank did some shows again with another new Guitarist, JD Demaio and drummer, Scott Forte, what made this new version of Krank happen?

A12. Well again, Frank and I started messing around with cover tunes just for fun, decided to call it KRANK again. So we booked a show and the club billed it as the reunion of 80's metal band KRANK! So we showed up for the show and had tons of people showing up expecting to see the outrageous, make-up and leather clad KRANK. Instead they got some dudes wearing jeans and playing cover tunes. So after that show we decided to give the people what they wanted.

Q13. In either the 1995 or 2002 version, was there ever a chance of all 4 original members getting back together again?

A13. Well, Mike was onboard with the 2002 version but decided to opt out because of his schedule. We still wish he could've hung in there and wish him well. Jack on the other hand has held a grudge since 1987 and hasn't spoken to us in over 10 years, plus he lives in Chicago now. We don't really have a problem with the dude but apparently he's got a problem with us. Chances of a reunion there are really slim. Besides, Scott has been with us now for quite some time and we're completely happy with him.

Q14. It's now 20 years later, the band has come back full throttle with a new CD, website, and shows all around the Philly area, what else is in store for all the Krank fans?

A14. Pretty much more of the same. KRANK is like a herpes sore- it comes and goes but never really ever goes away! We'll be around until people stop coming to our shows.

Q15. The music scene has changed quite a bit in the last 20 years, but Krank still plays music like it was 1985, do you feel it helps or hurts the band with gaining new or younger fans?

A15. Well nobody else is doing it so it gives us an edge there but the younger crowd doesn't quite know what to make of us yet. They've never seen anything like it. Give them time, they'll understand sooner or later.

Q16. Is there any chance of re-releasing the original metal blade record 'Hideous' on CD?

A16. Not at this point. Metal Blade owns the original masters so it would have to be their decision. Anyone interested should contact them directly. If there's enough interest they'll probably release it. Hell I wouldn't mind getting a CD copy of it myself!

Q17. Did you ever make any videos or is there any chance of a live DVD to be released showing off Krank's strongpoint, the live show?

A17. We have 1 video we made a few years back but we're holding onto it for now and will release it at some point maybe on a multimedia CD for the next album or something

Q18. Which is your favorite Krank release, and which are you most proud of?

A18. Well I'd have to say Ugly Gift is my favorite because we did it all ourselves which was kind of cool. Back then we had a top of the line recording studio and an expensive producer but with technology being what it is these days making a top quality album is easier than you think.

Q19. What are the 3 highest and lowest points of your career?

A19. High points:
1. Opening for Megadeth. They showed up late to the gig so we were allowed to set up our entire backline! In fact, Megadeth asked if they could use our drum riser, we told them to piss off! Hehe.
2. Playing the Capital Music fest in Connecticut, thousands of people!
3. Receiving fan mail from other countries overseas
Lowest points:
1. Quitting the band in '87
2. Breaking a string in front of KIX's crowd while opening for them.
3. Playing a "WYSP" event which wasn't promoted and having 10 people show up

Q20. You just went and bought a new car and it has a 6-disc CD changer in it. Only problem is, you can only load 6 CD's and they'll be locked in forever. Which CD's would you load?

A20. Hey!! How'd you know I just bought a new car with a 6-disc changer??? I'd pick: Aerosmith - Rocks, Riot - Fire Down Under, Van Halen - 1st album, AC/DC - Back in Black, David Lee Roth -Eat em and Smile, Motley Crue - Dr. Feelgood

Kevin, I would just like to take the time to thank you for putting up with all these questions and I hope to see even more of Krank in the future.

No problem, dude! KRANK IT UP!

Interviewed by Bay Breez

Visit the KRANK Website