with Jesse Dayton and aka Belle
John Doe was born in 1977 when he arrived in Los Angeles. His previous life in Tennessee, Wisconsin & Baltimore was a great & fertile time but new music and social changes led him to events that created a life in art. He graduated from Antioch College in Baltimore in 1975, worked as a roofer, aluminum siding mechanic, and ran a poetry reading series. Ms. Meyers was his landlord in the rural black community of Simpsonville , MD.
John met Exene Cervenka at the Venice poetry workshop Nov 1976 and he started working with Billy Zoom around the same time. When DJ Bonebrake joined X in mid-1977 the line up was complete. They released six studio records, five or six singles and one live record from 1978-1993. Five of X’s records have been re-issued along with two compilations. The Unheard Music documents their lives and progress as a band from 1980-83. In 2009 the film was included in the Sundance UCLA Archive of greatest films of all time. They appeared several times on American Bandstand, Solid Gold and David Letterman. As one of the last original punk rock bands standing, they continue to tour. The day that X played a free noontime concert in Fullerton, CA, they caused Orange County’s greatest high school truancy rate to date.
In 1988 John started a family and lived in the Tehachapi Mountains, near the “Grapevine” of Highway 5, which separates southern and central California. He has recorded 8 solo records w/ numerous renowned singers and players, more recently including Patty Griffin, Dan Auerbach, Aimee Mann, Don Was, Kathleen Edwards and Greg Liesz. He has appeared in over 50 films and television productions, with some of his most notable roles in Road House, Georgia, Roadside Prophets, Great Balls of Fire, Pure Country and Roswell. He continues to act these days but more sporadically as his touring schedule has become more demanding.
Other musical side projects include work with the Knitters, Jill Sobule and The Sadies. He continues to write poetry and has even taught workshops from time to time. He currently lives north of San Francisco, California.
Jesse Dayton has been building a cult following around the globe playing festivals in North America and Europe for years with his guitar shredding, country-infused, Americana sound. As a critic’s darling for his first record on Justice Records, Raisin’ Cain (1995), and a number one Americana radio ranking, Jesse was hired at a young age to play lead guitar on some of the last recordings, and play live, by country legends Waylon Jennings, Ray Price, Johnny Bush, Willie Nelson & Glen Campbell and he’s been featured in many guitar magazines. Sensing a shift in the music business climate, Jesse formed his own label in 2002, Stag Records, and began his most prolific recording period. While recording five solo records, one duet record, one live record, all on Stag, as well as two soundtrack recordings (Devil’s Rejects, Halloween 2) for rocker/director Rob Zombie, Jesse managed to act in movies and music videos, produce several records for other artists (the latest being Supersuckers front man Eddie Spaghetti’s “The Value Of Nothing” on Bloodshot Records), write two screenplays, and most recently wrote and directed a new horror movie, “Zombex,” starring Malcolm McDowell, Sid Haig, John Doe, and Lew Temple (“Walking Dead). All while still performing 150 shows per year.
Jesse landed the part of Kinky Friedman in Ted Swindley’s stage production of “Becoming Kinky: The World According To Kinky Friedman,” which ran for a few weeks and also led him to releasing a record of Kinky Friedman original songs called “Jesse Sings Kinky” which has opened up a whole new chapter for him with more radio airplay than ever in his career. As his film “Zombex” just got back from Cannes Film Festival, Jesse will be releasing the Zombex soundtrack which is steeped heavy in the Louisiana/Texas music of his youth. Before JD starts on his next film, he’ll be on tour “brangin’ it” with his all-star band of hotdog Austin musicians, playing to his faithful fans called “Hardchargers” around the globe. Don’t miss this show!!!
Led by multi instrumentalist/artist/vocalist Catherine Merrick, this band mix genres with traditional instruments – the band are known to rock heavily, swing with retro jazz grooves, and create unhinged sounds that will melt you with their undercurrent of bittersweetness. Part sultry performance art/part spiritual experience, a.k.a. Belle’s recent live shows have been described as “freaking epic!”
The seedlings of a.k.a Belle began in a land far, far away called Los Angeles, CA, where Sam and Catherine Crooks Merrick, Boise, ID natives, found themselves sharing a flat in pursuit of musical greatness. They didn’t know it then, but their paths would cross many times over subsequent decades and eventually their lives would converge in a very personal and musically magical way. In 2008, after Catherine returned home to Boise, ID from living and performing under the moniker of Belle of Les Bois in Manchester, England, she reunited with her former roomie (and soon to be husband) and a.k.a. Belle was born.
Catherine grew up in Boise, ID amongst some major musical talents. She played alongside Doug Martsch (Built to Spill) in Suiciety and in the B-sides with Curtis Stigers. Merrick’s overflowing with instrumental chops and is most often seen wailing on guitar or banjo, but it’s her voice that audiences find most captivating:
“… when you are blessed with a vocalist like Catherine Merrick, you’re light years ahead of the game. The Singer and multi-instrumentalist for a.k.a. Belle has an alluring, lovely voice – the kind that stands out in any genre.” – Michael Deeds, The Idaho Statesman
Between LA and 2008, Sam was met with major musical success. He toured the US and Europe with The Leaving Trains (SST Records) and signed a multimillion dollar contract in blood with LA band The Nymphs (Geffen Records). He’s also played bad-ass guitar and lent vocals to a variety of of musical projects based in the US. a.k.a. Belle’s eclectic sound is elevated by the creative musical minds of Louis McFarland (percussion) and Chris Galli (stand up bass), who hear and interpret Merrick’s songs intuitively.
“The Devil Loves You,” a.k.a. Belle’s second full-length record was released in February 2014. It is self proclaimed to be darker and more experimental than their debut album, exploring themes of time travel, serial killers, losers in love and evil trees. (It also features a guest appearance from internationally acclaimed saxophonist, Curtis Stigers.) Tracks from “the Devil” (the album nickname) are championed by many DJs on local radio stations such as KBSU and KRBX.
In 2012, a.k.a. Belle recorded and released their debut full-length record with Audio Lab Studios titled “Disappearing Night’. The album spent several weeks on the Top 20 best sellers at Boise’s independent record store, The Record Exchange, and came in at #6 for best selling records there in 2012. “Austin Calling”, from their debut CD, continues to get air play in Boise and it’s environs.
a.k.a. Belle is a rock band that’s not afraid to play with different genres to get the desired effect in creating well-crafted, thoughtfully constructed songs. Collectively, these four musicians, playfully coined “The Magic Four” have collaborated with and supported some big names in music including: John Doe & Exene Cervenka from LA band X; Iggy Pop; Dave Alvin; Elizabeth Cook; Holly Golightly, Lydia Loveless; Curtis Stigers; Bill Kirchen; Doug Martsch from Built to Spill, Pinto Bennett, and many more.
For a sneak peek of their new record, head on over to https://akabelle.bandcamp.com/ and listen to their single release “Mess You Up”.
Catherine Merrick: vocals, guitar, banjo
Sam Merrick: guitars, vocals
Chris Galli: stand up bass
Louis McFarland: drums/percussion, vocals