SMALLTALK: MOTHER OF MERCY’S BOB WILSON
“Today kinda sucked,” Bob Wilson laments as the sun begins to set over Philadelphia. His band, Mother Of Mercy, had wrapped their far-too-early set at This Is Hardcore 2011 a couple of hours before, and a self-effacing form of Monday Morning Quarterbacking had been set in motion. “Nails and Ringworm were after us, so we probably sounded like fucking New Found Glory compared to that shit.”
Hardly. One of the few groups actually building on the crossover tradition rather than simply re-thrashing it, Mother Of Mercy sound distinctly unlike melodic pop-punk. While not as nihilistic as Nails or balls-to-the-wall as Ringworm, the band draws noticeable influence from artists like Danzig (note the album numbering system), Megadeth and Obituary, bucking the tough-guy machismo trend without much regard for categorization. Were their latest record IV: Symptoms Of Existence released on, say, Relapse or Metal Blade, as opposed to hardcore haven Bridge Nine, metalheads would already be embracing Mother Of Mercy. Such is the problem when straddling that line.
On that point, Wilson becomes even more needlessly modest. “Compared to an actual metal band, I probably sound like such a pussy that it’s not even funny,” he says. “Hardcore kids are like ‘oh that’s too metal-y, I like the more straightforward shit.’”
Still, Wilson appears proud of his band’s place in the local and regional scene. “It’s basically like sections of the East Coast all have the best bands. United Youth, Dead End Path, Build and Destroy, Face Reality, Disengage. You go up to Boston and it’s like Rival Mob, No Tolerance, Step Forward, Waste Management. They’re the bands that are doing something cool right now. Wrong Answer, Agitator, Rock Bottom and we got a really cool thing going here too. I’m glad a lot of the bands that people are into are from this area.”
Ultimately, the experience didn’t taint Wilson’s opinion of the festival, of which he’s had a long history with both Mother Of Mercy and his former band Let Down. “Everything about [This Is Hardcore] has gotten better: it’s run better; they do that early check-in thing–which is cool so people can see every single band and not get screwed… They’re just on top of their shit.”
Mother Of Mercy’s IV: Symptoms Of Existence is now available on Bridge Nine Records