Monday, April 27, 2009

Black Water Rising: Yankees bending southern steel

By Meredith Deliso

(Published in the 4.23 issue of 24/Seven)

Black Water Rising may sound like a southern band – in both the gothic name and their bluesy rock sound – but the rock and roll band is bona fide Brooklyn.

“We’re not like Lynyrd Skynyrd or anything, but our sound has a southern swampiness to it and blues-injected riffs,” says drummer Mike Meselsohn, a Sheepshead Bay native who now resides in Park Slope. “[The South] really takes to our music. They dig our southern flavored rock. They say, I wouldn’t think a bunch of Yankees could play like this!”

Since forming a little more than two years ago, BWR has gained fans from all corners of the United States (and even a High Times award at this year’s South by Southwest). Started by Meselsohn, formerly of the rock band Boiler Room, he was looking to do something new and recruited his long-time friend, Coney Island-based singer and guitarist Rob Traynor of the metal band Dust to Dust.

“Rob went into the studio and wrote new tunes with a different direction. Dust to Dust was more atmospheric,” says Meselsohn. “I heard the stuff and was really impressed. We then set out to look for the other members.”

Those came from Long Island, with Johnny Fattoruso of Stereomud on guitar and Oddie McLaughlin, an old high school friend of Johnny’s, on bass.

Since forming, the band has been churning out heavy, head-pounding melodies with impressive riffs, like the explosive “Rise” and the commanding “Brother Go On,” with its soaring vocals and driving guitars.

The band was all set to release its self-titled debut album themselves this month, but as of press time they were negotiating a deal with a record label.

“With this band, we’ve been independent. I feel like we’ve accomplished a lot on our own,” says Meselsohn, who’s excited to see what possibilities the future may hold with the support of a label.

Fans of Trash Bar in Williamsburg, the band returns there May 2, though this time for more than just a rocking good time.

Part of a benefit for muscular dystrophy, BWR will be one of six rock bands to play that night, invited by the show’s organizer, Jay Scorpion, founder of Rock Against Dystrophy, or R.A.D., who himself has the illness.

“I’m happy to be a part of it,” says Meselsohn, who met Scorpion while doing his show, The Scorpion’s Lair, on Brooklyn College Radio. “Anything we can do to help.”

The R.A.D. show also features Odd Zero, Borgo Pass, Misery, Martyred and Gods Green Earth.
Blackwater will next be found on stage at Manhattan’s Blender Theatre, opening for legendary stoner rock act Monster Magnet, as well as Bang Camaro.

Beyond that, the band can be found on social networking sites like MySpace, connecting to fans and uploading videos. One recent add is a commercial for Ed Roth, which features the band’s single “The Mirror,” another a music video for “Brother Go On,” which finds the band with a ‘68 Firebird out in the woods of Warren, NJ, with their instruments.

“That too has a very southern, outdoorsy feel to it,” says Meselsohn. “I would have rather done it in Prospect Park, but [the director] thought we should go out somewhere more secluded.”
And, of course, there’s the pending album, which will bring the boys from Brooklyn out of the South and to a wider audience.

“We’re excited about the possibilities for the future and getting our record out,” says Meselsohn, “going around the world and spreading the music of Black Water Rising.”

Black Water Rising play the R.A.D. Benefit show at Trash Bar (256 Grand St.) on May 2 at 10 p.m. (the benefit kicks off at 8:30 p.m.). Tickets are $10.

They can also be found at Manhattan’s Blender Theatre (127 E. 23rd St.) with Monster Magnet and Mang Camaro on May 15 at 7;30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and are available through For more, go to or call 212-777-6800.


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