CLASSIC GRIT WEEKEND PLAYLIST 04
We're back for Vol. 4 of our Weekend Playlist series, and we're super stoked to have special guest/Yankee Stadium bleacher creature Jared Hart of Mercy Union onboard to share some jams and answer a few questions about baseball and music for us. Jared and the Mercy Union fellas just dropped their first new song in four years, and it's an absolute banger. Check out "Prussian Blue" here.
On the baseball tip ... How great is it to have baseball back on the TV?! The sights and sounds of spring training, dingers, triple digit heaters, wipeout sliders, web gems ... SO GOOD!
And now, our Q&A with Mercy Union frontman Jared Hart.
1. What was the first band/record that really clicked for you? What about them/it drew you in?
That has to be Operation Ivy and Rancid. Up until the moment that I heard “Energy”, I was all over the place trying to find a corner of the music world that would serve as a foundation for me. I loved Metallica and was into all the Nu Metal bands my 12 year old self could find. I understood that I liked things loud, but it didn’t really feel like mine. In 8th grade my bud Sam brought in a burnt copy of 'Energy' that his older cousin gave him. I can vividly see the moment that I put the headphones on in the school yard and pressed play on his walkman. He scanned a copy of the back cover so I would know the song titles and we learned every word in a matter of days. After that, my guitar strap hung about a foot lower and we started a band called The Scandals. I think what drew me to Rancid and Op Ivy were that these songs were studded with hooks but they were wrapped up in these dirty, aggressive sounds that felt subversive but also accessible to us. We'd watch videos of them going nuts on stage with mohawks, spray painted guitars, and having a blast with their best friends and we thought "shit, can we do that?". Unlike the metal bands where technical proficiency seemed like the ultimate cornerstone, this music was about the songs and the energy in the room and for the first time it felt tangible. Those records sent me on a 20 year journey that hasn't stopped yet.
2. Why baseball? What about the game speaks to you/what drew you in?
Baseball was the only sport that I felt like I had somewhat of a grasp on growing up. I was terrible at basketball, but played baseball from tee ball to senior year of high school. I was far from great but the routine became a comfortable one that I looked forward to every year. It was a constant throughout my life that I didn't think I'd miss until long after I had stopped playing. After high school, music took over the majority of my attention. I spent more time in the back of a van than watching the Yankees and the glove ended up in the basement. As time went on though, baseball shifted from a focus to a distraction in the best way possible. Games became a time to shut my brain off for a minute and think about nothing else. Visiting ballparks became a significant part of the touring and traveling experience. It became something that I could dive headfirst back into. Not as something I needed to put work into, but something that could supply me with the perfect dopamine hit when I was running low. It's one of the few moments in a day that I can completely zone out and not stress about the rest of the world. (Unless of course I'm at Angel Stadium and I have the Yankees -1.5 and Shohei hits a bomb over the right field wall...)
3. What’s your favorite MLB ballpark and why?
I think PNC is a perfect park. I've always loved Pittsburgh because it's a prideful city that doesn't pretend it's something it's not. Integrating the bridge and skyline into the design makes you feel like their only purpose is to provide the background for the game you came to see. There's not a bad view in the house and you can't beat a pierogi race. The location is crucial since it's basically a sports district with parking and all the things to do unlike many of the stadiums in the northeast. Go ahead and twist my arm to roll out and crush some ML's after eating a sandwich with french fries on it.
4. What’s your favorite live music venue and why? What about the best show you’ve ever seen?
I have to go with the Troubadour in LA and Crossroads in NJ. Every time I'm at the Troubadour I have a wild night that usually spirals into a story. It's one of those places that whether you're standing on the stage or in the crowd the history of that room becomes a tangible thing and it's pretty indescribable. It's rare when a place can do that and I hope it never goes anywhere. As for Crossroads, where else can you see bands that usually play 1-2000 cap rooms rip for 240 people, throw late night dice tournaments after the show, get fed and watered like royalty, and be allowed to DJ until the last person leaves? Everyone needs a clubhouse and I'm really glad Crossroads is ours. Best show ever is TOUGH but the Bouncing Souls and Lifetime in the Court Tavern basement gives most of them a run for their money.
5. You're batting leadoff for the Yankees -- What’s your walk-up song?
This is a question I think about A LOT and I think there's a lot of ways to go with this. Do you go more for the swagger, the intimidation, or just an overall cool factor? This one has to be a list for me.
- The Zombies - "Time of the Season"
- Danzig - "Twist of Cain"
- Sugar - "The Act We Act"
- Mindforce - "Excalibur"
- Mobb Deep - "Shook Ones Pt. II"
- Benny the Butcher & J.Cole - "Johnny P's Caddy"
- Fontaines D.C. - "Jackie Down The Line"
- Adrianne Lenker - "Blue and Red Horses"
- Comeback Kid - "Face the Fire"
- Be Well - "Treadless"
- Drug Church - “Super Saturated”
- Holy Fawn - “Death Is A Relief”
- The Smile - “Skirting On The Surface”
- PLOSIVS - “Never Likely”
- This Will Destroy You - “A Three-Legged Workhorse” (Live)
- Hot Water Music - “Habitual”
- Cave In - “New Reality”
- Downward- “Ugly Bug”
- PLOSIVS - “See you Suffer”
- Mercy Union- “Prussian Blue”