MARV: Good friends, naturally

by Joslynn Vasquez

MARV has only played two shows in Bellingham, but collectively its members have seen every stage this town has to offer, and then some. Composed of scene veterans from bands like So Adult, Shook Ones, Guillotine Eyes and Devotion, MARV is the prog rock super group we have been missing. Nailing down a theatric blend of heavy, synthy progressive rock ‘n’ roll that sweeps the listener to far away lands of mysticism and lore, MARV makes starting a rock band and putting out your own demo before anyone knows who you are look easy. Upon speaking with Derek Rickard (vocals) and Bobby Host (guitar), I learned that for them, it came naturally.

Crammed into The Shakedown’s cupboard under the stairs that serves as a green room (but is actually red), the two members of MARV recounted their collective experience and credit previous band overlap for the accumulation of current members. “All of us have played in bands in Bellingham before. Except Jason (Presley, keys),” Derek explained.

“The rest of us play in bands together, and separately,” Bobby continued. “Sean (Meyer, bass and vocals) and I play in Scary Monster and The Supercreeps. I got to play with Derek in Horror Business, as well as his other bands Typical Ace and Brownes Condition, which he played with our drummer, Bo (Stewart), who also played in Shook Ones, and then Bo, me and Derek also play in So Adult.”

“And then there’s Sean,” laughed Derek. “I don’t even know if I can remember all the bands he plays in! There’s Devotion, and Guillotine Eyes and probably a whole bunch of other ones we don’t even know about.”

Their impressive resume isn’t the only thing that makes MARV super, but too is the fact that every member can play guitar and contributes to the song writing in some way. “The last show we played, every song was started by a different member,” Derek said. “We’ve all been in bands with established sounds and this is the first time we got to start from scratch… we’ve been spending a lot of time writing songs in the basement.”

The basement Derek is referring to isn’t somebody’s storage spot; it’s their practice AND recording space, and it happens to be under the alleys of 21St Century Bowling. “Bo used to manage the alley and knows the owner, so we have permission to use the space respectively,” Derek said, refuting any of my theories that it’s because the acoustics are special or that they’re there for any reason other than convenience. “There’s nothing special about the room. There’s not even anything special about the recording equipment we used… we recorded just to have an idea for ourselves for writing, and it just so happens that it sounded good enough to serve as our demo.”

“I do put value on DIY, but we happen to have a talented friend, Jackson Long, who we’d ask to do [a full length record],” Derek said when probed about how they’d like to see their next release recorded.

But with MARV still in its infancy, it is clear the band is still generating material and having a good time playing it. “We’re just trying to write as much as possible,” Bobby nodded, when asked what’s next. “We’re excited to contribute to the scene.”

Check out MARV on Nov. 12 with Machine Animal at Gruff Brewing, and on Nov. 18 with Illogicians and Woodshed at The Swillery. For more information, check out 

Published in the November 2016 issue of What’s Up!