Quantcast
metroactive logo

Mercy High Keep Things Local on New EP

In Music
ZAETOWN ROCK: Fusing shoegaze and four-on-the-floor rock, San Jose scene veterans come together to form Mercy High. Photo by Greg Ramar.

ZAETOWN ROCK: Fusing shoegaze and four-on-the-floor rock, San Jose scene veterans come together to form Mercy High. Photo by Greg Ramar.

For some creatives, San Jose can feel both claustrophobic and incestuous—like some backwater city in the middle of nowhere—and also impossibly sprawling, like any other faceless suburb. Not for Jafar Green.

“It’s like a small town disguised as a big city,” the San Jose native says. “That’s what I kinda like about it.”

Similarly, Green’s band, Mercy High, pack a lot into a little. So far the quartet have only released a three-song EP on their Bandcamp page, but that doesn’t really tell the whole story. Although there are only four players in Green’s band, there is a wealth of local music history to be found in the group.

“All of us have been involved in a lot of other bands,” Green says, before launching into a laundry list of significant San Jose acts—including The Bang, Rachel Mae and The Havens, Fighting Jacks, TrashKannon and The Odd Numbers. “We’re all guys that have been in San Jose for years.”

Though everyone in the group has a long local music resume, Green is the one piloting this project—after years of playing in other people’s bands. “Mercy High came together because I wanted to put together something that was the kind of music that I wanted to play”—namely a mash-up of “dreamy, shoegaze-y elements” and “heavier elements.” Green says he draws on Black Sabbath, Queens of the Stone Age, My Bloody Valentine and Ride, to name a few.

But listening to Green sing—focusing on the timbre of his voice, a deep baritone, backed by fuzzed-out, psychedelic guitar work—it’s easy to hear other influences, like Jimi Hendrix and ’70s Detroit proto-punks Death.

“I think that’s just something that comes naturally—me being a black man playing rock and roll,” he says with a laugh. “I grew up with Hendrix albums around the house. That Death record was absolutely amazing.”

Then again, not to attach unnecessary weight to race, Green observes: “You’re only going to sound like your record collection.”

Mercy High
Jan 13, 9pm, Free
Caravan Lounge, San Jose

Back to top