Each member of the band has such a diverse backround that musical influences are different for us all. These range from pure Jazz and funk to Hardcore heavy metal, new age alternative and punk. Merge has been together with the current group of bandmates now, since the summer of 2004. Mark and Steven were in several bands and several versions of Merge prior to bringing on Darren and Jason that summer. Mark Jorden (Lead Guitar) had spent many years on the east coast playing in several bands and perfecting his skills when he moved to Bloomington and met Steven. Mark was influenced growing up by many artists, but still is a defacto member of the Kiss army and found many of his influences in the hair metal days of the 80s, where Mark began learning how to "thrash" his axe. After moving to Bloomington, Mark was joined with Steven Greogory (Bass) in an unlikely setting for him, a popular and local funk R&B band, Twin City Groove. Steven is an extremely talented and well trained funk bass player who began playing at an early age. Mark began to influence his new friend by sharing his love for rock music, convincing him to branch out into other generes. Eventually they decided to start their own band in pursuit of a larger diversification of their talents. In the summer of 04 Darren and Mark were united in an unlikely way. Their wives had become close friends, by way of being next door neighbors, and knew that they must meet each other. Darren's path to the band was quite different than that of Mark and Steven's. Darren Burns (Lead Vox, Rythem Guitar) was trained vocally through traveling choir as a child, by his parents, but gave up signing when he reached his teen years and picked up the guitar. He never recieved more than a couple months of formal training but continued to pluck and play throughout high school and college, all the while signing along, and never joined a band. He held on to his musical training as a love and a hobby and never displayed it in a public setting until he was introduced to Mark. After several "beverages" one afternoon at a cookout the two decided to breakout the guitars and the windpipes and the rest is history. A funny side note to this part of the bands history.....Mark asked Darren to do a sort of audition by joining the current members of the band at an upcoming gig to moonlight for a song, and little known to most....Darren froze on stage and forgot almost all the lyrics but was carried through the ordeal by Mark and Steven. Regardless of this little slip:-) the mates decided that he might make a good front man after all...with a little training and practice anyway. After Darren began practicing, the search began for a new drummer. Mutual friends in the biz, told Mark and Steven of another extremely talented and well trained musician that may be interested, announcing Jason Mullanbach (Drums). Jason began playing drums, as must do, by banging loudly in his mothers house for many hours as a child. Jason has studied incredible amounts of technique, theory, and approaches to the skins which has lent him his ability to play any type of music with precision and accuracy. Jason brought another different backround to the band by listing many punk, new age, and alternative bands as his driving influences. Once together the band was able to broaden the scope of their talents and create a world class talented cover band that currently is rocking central Illinois. Along the past couple of years, others have graced the stage with the mates, but none more prominent and frequent as their good friend Angela Holloway. Angie, Mark, and Steven, have been friends since the conception of Merge and Angie lends her full voice and demure sexy style to soften the boys up a bit, and bring in a range of music that the boys were unable to do without her help. Hitting the high notes and songs by many female artists, she helps to keep them honest and is the last part of the puzzle that keeps the band going strong! Merge has hit the stage in areas other than central Illinois, including the big stage in Orlando amongst others.
Video of Merge in action!
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