Mar 30, 2010 05:00PM
● By Wendy Sipple
Photo by Dante Fontana
The Style Readers’ Choice 2009 winner for Favorite Band, Folsom’s “Have Mercy” is far from the average local band.
For those of you with a bit of musical knowledge, you might say Have Mercy is the Parliament-Funkadelic of the Folsom music scene...minus the spaceships. Suffice it to say, they’ve got a lot of people on stage. There are 11 band members.
Have Mercy is united largely by occupation: at least seven of the 11 members are doctors (practicing or retired), or work in the medical field. The band started with a talent show back in 1988, with founding member Rob DeBruin asking practically everyone on the medical staff if they played an instrument. For a while the band had at least 20 members, but they’ve finally whittled it down to a “manageable” 11.
Traditionally a cover band, Have Mercy has recently added some original material to their set lists – thanks to the talents of band members Rosemary Younts and Eliot Drell. Introducing the band members individually is probably the best way to appreciate the complex musical and occupational ecosystem that is Have Mercy. Henry Sundermier – retired family physician and band leader – plays alto sax, bass, percussion and backup vocals. Eliot Drell – retired gastroenterologist – is on lead and rhythm guitar, and lead and backup vocals. He also penned three of Have Mercy’s original songs (“Road Trip,” “Something Special” and “Blame it on Me”). Rob DeBruin – Have Mercy’s “founding father” and a practicing internal medicine physician for 22 years – plays harmonica, rhythm guitar and percussion. Phil Baldi – retired internal medicine physician – is on rhythm and lead guitar, as well as lead and backup vocals. Guy Guilfoy – orthopedic surgeon – plays bass, and rocks the steel guitar for their country western numbers, and on soundboard he keeps everything rocking steady. Wes Bean – Vietnam veteran, retired CHP helicopter pilot/supervisor and country western enthusiast – is on acoustic guitar, as well as lead and backup vocals...and moonlights as the band’s Web master. Bob Mutchler – piano tuner by day, plays Have Mercy keyboards by night. Mutchler also plays guitar and contributes lead and backup vocals, and has helped polish the “Have Mercy sound.” Chuck Noble – local attorney – lays down the law on lead and rhythm guitar. According to the band’s bio, Noble “never met a song he didn’t like.” Rosemary Younts – Phil Baldi’s “little sister,” and Director, Community Benefit for Catholic Healthcare West (CHW) – has been an informal vocalist with the band for many years, and now she’s here to stay on lead and backup vocals, along with percussion and a mean cowbell. Younts is also a songwriter and performer with two albums of her own. “GI John” Willis – (worked in the Gastro Intestinal (GI) department at Marshall and Mercy Folsom Hospitals, hence the nickname) – plays bass guitar, and has recently started contributing lead vocals on some songs. Last but not least, Peter Crispell – environmental geologist – is the drummer and newest member.
Have Mercy performs at a variety of events such as Folsom’s “Concert In The Park” series (they’ll be performing on July 23 this year); fundraising events, where they perform for no charge for local organizations and people with life-threatening medical conditions; and yes folks, they are available for private parties as well!
A thriving musical community in its own right, Have Mercy is in it purely to share the good time they’re having on stage with everyone in the audience. We’re hoping their newfound fame as Style readers’ favorite band won’t go to their heads!
For more information about the band, check out havemercytheband.com.