Tony Mecca writes and performs songs about people and personalities. Real people that is, and genuine life experiences like love and longing, growing-up, working and watching life play itself out. Through his live performances (with his Heavy MeNtal Gypsys) and steadily growing recorded output, Mecca quickly dispels any preconceived stereotypes associated with the “Singer/Songwriter” brand as tedious and plodding reflection are avoided at all costs, and rock ‘n’ roll sensibilities are injected at every opportunity to keep the proceedings vibrant, passionate and really fun. His music has been labeled Classic Rock, Singer-Songwriter, Adult Contemporary and Americana among others. He calls it Urban American Heavy MeNtal. In reviews his songs and sound has been compared to Springsteen, The Smithereens, Tom Petty, John Mellencamp and Elvis Costello. In a poll of his fans he was described as: “The bastard son of Huey Lewis and Joni Mitchell” – “The Who fronted by John Prine” – “The Working Man’s Wagner”.
Tony Mecca - Lead Vocals, Acoustic Guitar
Stephanie Davis - Vocals, Clarinet
Joe Pettit - Guitar
Jim Drnec - Drums
Bill Saltzer - Bass
John Merlino - Multi-Keys
Eleanor Rigby (Single) 2012
Riders on the Storm (Single) 2012
Fun (CD) 2011
Hello, Goodbye & Everything in Between (CD) 2007
Princes of the New Dark Age (CD) 2005
Purple Monkeys (CD) 2003
We Always Lie
The Girl from the Sand
Love to Me
Dennis and I
New Green Shirt
Music That Transports You
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"What keeps me coming back to see Tony Mecca live is his songs. Tony is a solid songwriter with catc..."What keeps me coming back to see Tony Mecca live is his songs. Tony is a solid songwriter with catchy melodies, thoughtful lyrics, and music that transports you to another place."
A Great Slice of Americana
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“Hello, Goodbye & Everything in Between” is the Everly Brothers, Bruce Springsteen and John Mellenca...“Hello, Goodbye & Everything in Between” is the Everly Brothers, Bruce Springsteen and John Mellencamp from a blender, poured into melodic Americana via street-level tales of everyboy and everygirl. Genuine innocence - whatever became of it? Mecca and friends turn back the clock keeping it sweet and simple via tunes like "An American Kid," "Annie Walks Through Town," "The Night We Danced" - pretty much any of the 22 tracks offered here (Take your pick). It’s easy to relate to the protagonists populating Mecca's sweet tales of love and longing, work, partying and watching life play itself out because after all, they’re just you and me - John Collinge
Beautiful East Coast Romanticism!
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“Hello, Goodbye & Everything in Between” recounts tales of life and love in the blue-collar South Ph...“Hello, Goodbye & Everything in Between” recounts tales of life and love in the blue-collar South Philadelphia Italian-Irish neighborhood where Tony Mecca grew up. The lyrics are reminiscent of Springsteen or perhaps even Leonard Cohen but with a gritty Philly twist, whereas the music itself is ‘Americana rootsy’. Mecca's many years of writing and performing have culminated in a wonderful effort. Highly recommended”! - Jason MacMillan
Gems from the Inner City
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Philadelphia balladeer Tony Mecca might best be described as an "undiscovered talent" who, in the ha...Philadelphia balladeer Tony Mecca might best be described as an "undiscovered talent" who, in the hands of the right production team, could generate ripples on the Pop/AOR front. His music is rootsy pop a la Bruce Springsteen/Billy Joel/Tom Petty, etc., that is melodically accomplished, catchy and fun to listen to. In fact, the material on "Purple Monkeys" and "Princes of the New Dark Age" is strong enough to question why some label hasn't snagged the guy and given him a shot at wider audiences.
Mecca has a slightly rough voice that fits his ruminations on friends, loves, growing pains and life's ironies very well. Pick most any track from these two albums and you'll find a ditty worth sinking your teeth into. A gem like "Say Goodbye to Judas," (from Princes... ) for instance, might leave you wondering what radio station you heard it on first. - John Collinge
Tony Mecca Live in Salisbury, MD
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Tony Mecca by Josh Davis Rock & roll has always been an art form filled with interes...Tony Mecca
by Josh Davis
Rock & roll has always been an art form filled with interesting characters, from jittery troubadours in ill-fitting suits, to slick singers with even slicker hair.
On his new album “Fun” Philadelphia’s Tony Mecca comes off like a kind of rock & roll gypsy, selling gritty portraits of peculiar characters with a gravel-throated drawl that’s equal parts Tom Waits and Huey Lewis.
“[People] had a hard time believing that my singing voice sounded ‘so much different’ than when I spoke,” Mecca said. “It all has to do with range and how hard I push. It’s tantamount to an electric guitar moving from a clean texture into overdrive.”
Mecca’s father was a professional pop musician and pusher of AM radio on long car trips. The 50-something singer credits televised instances of Beatles and the Monkees as the early catalyst for picking up a guitar.
On ‘Fun’ Mecca expanded his sound to include contributions from his band the Heavy MeNtal Gypsys. Recorded at the singer’s own Opera House Recording Studio in Philadelphia, the album finds the full band playing like a well-oiled machine thanks to constant touring.
“I had been playing out live for a year prior to going into the studio and during the entire recording process,” Mecca explained. “I was not a performing musician during the recording of the first three albums. Many of the songs on ‘Fun’ had been staples in our live set for nearly two years. That’s good from the performance standpoint because we really had those songs down – but the pressure was on to record what was to be the final version. Another change in the recording process was that I now had a band and everyone made contributions. The other albums were just me and my dear friend Davis Decca with minor contributions from one or two outside folks.”
The subject matter in Mecca’s songs are often the personified quirks of everyday ordinary people, from witchy women to local barflys.
“Most all of the stories and folks that show up in my songs are real and true,” Mecca said. “Occasionally a name will be changed or an incident embellished, but there is absolutely more truth than fiction. It is imperative however, to remember that the truth is from my perspective.
“When I was younger my songs were more concerned with worldly issues. But since my reentry into the music business in 2003 with the ‘Purple Monkeys’ album, I have become much more interested in local subject matter. People, personalities and the social/psychological conditions and processes that may (or may not) direct our lives – Rock ‘n Roll Psychotherapy.”
This Saturday Mecca returns to Common Grounds in Salisbury with a stripped-down quartet set to explore the softer side of his music.
“We do about half our shows as a quartet so we’re used to that configuration,” Mecca assured. “It’s cool because it gives us a chance to play a few more of our delicate things.
“Mainly we want our audience to have fun - to laugh, dance and get involved. It’s also cool when they ask questions about the songs or characters in the songs. Our priority is to always play hard and with a great passion for anyone that takes the time to listen to our music.”
If You GO!
Tony Mecca & The Heavy MeNtal Gypsy Quartet
September 17th, 2011 - 7 p.m.
701D East Naylor Mill Road
Mill Pond Village Plaza
Salisbury Daily Times - Tony Mecca Interviewed By Josh Davis
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Josh Davis: A lot of musicians credit parents who had a great record collection or a hipster older ...Josh Davis:
A lot of musicians credit parents who had a great record collection or a hipster older sibling as being the catalyst for becoming interested in music -- what's your story?
My father was a professional musician, an excellent singer of “popular music” – The radio was always on in the car and I suppose the station he listened to eventually played a few things that I liked. It certainly sent me searching the airwaves for stations that played music more to my liking. However, seeing the Beatles, Monkees and others on TV was probably the biggest factor in my desire to learn to play the guitar.
Your (brilliant!) singing voice has mountains of character, the way people like Dylan, Waits, or even Mark Sandman from Morphine do. Do you remember what the reaction was the first time you sang in public?
Thank you for kind words. Most folks that witnessed my first show where friends and family. They had a hard time believing that my singing voice sounded “so much different” than when I spoke – Many singer are like that – In fact, on some of the softer songs my voice adapts a cleaner and less “gritty” quality. It all has to do with range and how hard I push. It’s tantamount to an electric guitar moving from a clean texture into overdrive.
The subject matter in your songs tend to revolve around an interesting collection of misfits -- can you talk about your songwriting and subject matter?
When I was younger my songs were more concerned with worldly issues. But since my reentry into the music business in 2003 with the PURPLE MONKEYS album, I have become much more interested in local subject matter. People, personalities and the social/psychological conditions and processes that may (or may not) direct our lives – Rock ‘n Roll Psychotherapy. Of course most all of the stories and folks that show up in my songs are real and true. Occasionally a name will be changed or an incident embellished, but there is absolutely more truth than fiction. It is imperative however, to remember that the truth is from my perspective.
I’ll tell you a funny story about the song “Charlie Jones” from the new album (FUN). I met Charlie in a bar one night and we spoke casually for an hour or so. I had known him on a hello/goodbye basis most of my life, but we never had the occasion to speak. When I left the bar I knew immediately that I wanted to write a song about Charlie Jones. I formulated my opinion about the type of person Charlie seemed to be, and filled in the blanks for the things I didn’t know. Wouldn’t you know that the first time we play the song live a girl in the crowd screams out (good-naturedly) “you don’t know Charlie Jones very well”. There were a couple of other comments from the crowd that drew laughter, but the song was very well received. Perspection is a fickle beast. Truth be told, when you really get to know us - most human are misfits (your word).
You've described your music as "Urban American Heavy MeNtal" - what does that mean to you and what do you want to average person's reaction to be to that kind of label?
A little background on the origin - No artist or band likes to be labeled or rounded-up and herded into some musical category. However, and most artists do get it, both industry folks and music lovers like when they can easily/quickly compare you to another artist/band or file your sound under a particular genre or style. I’ve heard so many descriptions of what I play that even I’m confused (so please send me your opinion of what I play). With this in mind, a few years ago a writer referred to my music as “Americana from a city boy”. About a week later, a fan (who I later learned is an English professor at a local university) approached me after a show and said “man, you’re a deep thinker”. Well, I don’t know how deep my small brain can delve, but it did get me thinking. All I did was add the “urban” to
We normally play a set of all original music that ranges from 45 minutes to 2 hours - The set list:
Laugh, Lucy Laugh
Suzie Lone Star Hero
Who Do You Love/Clapping Song
William the Great
Love to Me
Dennis and I
Plain Jane and Average Joe
Mary Claire with Silver Hair
The Happy Hop
The Land of Upside Down
The Friends of Joey Coyle
New Green Shirt