Rich Howells

The Mesos debut infectious Scranton punk rock EP at NEPA Horror Film Fest on Oct. 16

The Mesos debut infectious Scranton punk rock EP at NEPA Horror Film Fest on Oct. 16
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If you believe rock ‘n’ roll peaked in the 1970s, The Mesos are the band for you.

And like many of those bands, the group started in a grimy old basement, this one in the Scranton/Dunmore area during the winter of 2017.

“After The Kids Laughing At Pedestrians – The KLAP, for short – disbanded, I wanted to start a new band with different members, shake things up a bit!” vocalist/guitarist Dom Fortese told NEPA Scene.

“The band name ‘The Mesos’ comes from a mispronunciation of ‘mesothelioma,’ a disease caused by exposure to asbestos. My basement has asbestos around the pipes in the ceiling. Since it was our practice space at the time, we became ‘The Mesos.’”

So the contagious quartet, which includes Trish McCormick (rhythm guitar), Connor Langan (bass), and George Hrivnak (drums), is named after a disease, which in itself is pretty punk rock.

“Garage rock, punk rock, rock ‘n’ roll – [we have] a throwback kind of sound. Not reinventing the wheel of punk rock, but sticking to the rock and roll/bluesy shade of American punk rock of the 1970s, with some catchy power pop style melodies thrown in,” Langan described.

“We take inspiration from the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s – from mod rock to the British invasion, blues, rock and roll, power pop, punk, you name it! The ‘70s were the peak years of rock music, and the sounds from that era still shape all music that comes out today. We feel like it’s just worth going back and trying to create a soundscape and vibe similar to what they did back then to show our appreciation,” Fortese continued.

After making a name for themselves in bars, skate parks, and Curry Donuts parking lots over the last few years by radiating a “comical amount of sweat, the boogie, the stage antics, and high energy,” according to Langan, they put out their debut single, “Girls,” on Aug. 25.

“I was inspired by a band called The Real Kids who had a song called ‘All Kinds of Girls.’ That got my gears spinning, and I came to the conclusion I wanted to write a song about girls who don’t come to shows,” Fortese explained.

“‘Girls’ has had a positive reaction – everything from ‘it’s a boogie’ and ‘catchy’ to ‘sounds like it was recorded through an ashtray – and that’s a compliment!” McCormick emphasized.

That sense of humor carries over to the cover art, which reads, “The Mesos new single ‘Girls’ featuring the hit single ‘Girls.’” In February of 2020, they recorded four songs with Donny Engle at a place called “The Scrapyard” if that gives any indication of what the full EP will sound like.

“The shutdown delayed things for a bit. Drum tracks were done in one day with scratch tracks for bass, guitar, and vocals. Then we went in and retracked both guitars, bass, vocals, and added backing vocals,” McCormick recalled.

“We try to write together, but a lot of the time, Dom has an idea for lyrics or a guitar riff he brings in and we all build on it together and create a full song.”

“There is no real theme or story to the EP. We just picked the four songs we had at the moment that could show the different styles and sides of our music,” Fortese noted.

With this being their first recording together, it became just as much a learning experience as it did a showcase of the various facets of their old school sound.

“We learned a lot about the do’s and don’ts of recording music – still have a lot to learn. It was a fun experience, and a lot more drawn out than we expected, but again, the pandemic kind of threw a wrench into our plans. At the end of the day, we are just happy to have recorded material to show people what we’re all about,” McCormick said.

“The pandemic gave us time to develop better backing vocal tracks and small post-production items, as well as introducing bassist Connor Langan to the band on very short notice and recording his bass tracks in early winter of 2021.”

The self-titled EP, adorned with their poison inhaler logo emitting toxic green clouds that spell out their moniker, will be released this Saturday, Oct. 16 at the NEPA Horror Film Festival and Scranton Punk Rock Flea Market at the Circle Drive-In Theatre (1911 Scranton/Carbondale Hwy., Dickson City). After DJ Quoth, they’ll start the band stage off at 1 p.m., followed by rare reunion performances from Putrefied Flesh, Silhouette Lies, Kid Icarus, Those Clever Foxes, and My Dad Is a Dinosaur. Tickets to the entire event are on sale now via Eventbrite.

“We chose the NEPA Horror Film Fest to release our CD because we were very honored to be a part of the festival. What better way for a punk band to debut their EP than at a Punk Rock Flea Market/Horror Film Festival?” Langan pointed out. “It suites us.”

“After this, we plan to start work on our first full-length album and take our music as far as we can,” McCormick said.

“Hopefully I can get endorsed by Cooper sharp American cheese to help fund recording of the full-length,” Langan added.

Endorsement or no endorsement, The Mesos plan to spread their infectious tunes across Northeastern Pennsylvania and beyond now that they can physically get music in people’s hands, just like the old days that inspired them.

“Every show is memorable because of the crowd response to our catchy choruses and energy we put out,” McCormick left off.

“We just want to express our sincere gratitude to the fans that have supported us, the venues that allow us to play, and everyone that enjoys what we do. We hope to see you at the NEPA Horror Film Fest!”

“Oh, and [to NEPA Horror Film Fest founder] Bobby Keller,” Langan insisted, “please don’t forget to trim your nose hairs before the festival!”

Photos by Jason Riedmiller Photography