The Inferno Merchants
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The Inferno Merchants

New York City, New York, United States

New York City, New York, United States
Band Rock Alternative


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos





“I would say that our bands sound is like the soundtrack of the DRUDGE REPORT.” says JAMES FREY of his band THE INFERNO MERCHANTS. “I kind of think of it as this big sonic blog”

All one needs to do is listen to THE INFERNO MERCHANTS debut LP WARCHILD’S PLAY to know what FREY is talking about. The bands sound combines blues rock and R&B flourishes made possible by its rhythm section. (JOHN MILES on bass, KEVIN BREGANDE on drums) ANTHONY G tops it off with his STEVIE RAY VAUGHN – styled lead guitar and FREY’s vocals float over the mix in a way that will remind listeners of DAVID BOWIE during his YOUNG AMERICANS era.

The standout tracks for WARCHILD’S PLAY speak to the challenges of a post 9/11 society. Just when you thought that politically charged rock was left to the likes of GREEN DAY and BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN, THE INFERNO MERCHANTS are deeply rooted in politics. “The bass player (JOHN MILES) and I have a lot of political discussions and that’s where a lot of the songs come from.”

One thing that you won’t hear from JAMES FREY and THE INFERNO MERCHANTS is “BUSH-bashing”, which is something that doesn’t sit well with FREY. “It’s big to bash PRESIDENT BUSH if you’re a rock star. I don’t subscribe to that. If you want to disagree with his policies and I disagree with many of his policies, that’s fine. But when you take this sort of MICHAEL MOORE – All-about-me stance, you become part of the problem. You have a duty to the republic to make your opinion as informed as possible and I think we’ve lost sight of that somehow.”

In case we needed to point it out, FREY was a political science major at the University of Maryland.

Being a songwriter based in New York City, FREY says he never has to look far for inspiration. “Living in New York you’ve got input coming at you in all different directions and it inspires you in many ways. When I write a song, I’m never at the piano or at the guitar. Somehow, a riff, a melody or a song will come into my head. All I’m trying to do when I get to the piano or guitar is capture what’s in my head. By the time me and the band sit down in the studio with our producer (DAVE WINSLOW) we come up with the arrangements. Everybody speaks up and everybody has input. The only rule is ‘don’t overlook anything.’”

THE INFERNO MERCHANTS share a rapport that is uncommon in most rock n roll profiles. “I struggled for so long to keep a band together. I was always a big fan of the bands that JOHN, KEVIN and ANTHONY were in before we got together and did our thing. These guys all went to the BERKLEY SCHOOL OF MUSIC in Massachusetts. JOHN MILES was laying down some bass tracks for an EP that I was working on for college radio and when that was done he asked me ‘What now?’ and I said ‘I’m the guy that can’t keep a band together’ So we were driving down FDR Drive on the east side of Manhattan at 3:00 in the morning and JOHN said ‘talk to me, KEVIN and ANTHONY before you talk to anyone else about starting a band. That’s how we got started and I just really like the cross of personalities.”

For the production of the band's debut WARCHILD’S PLAY, the band turned to producer DAVE WINSLOW. “He was an engineer for a BACKSTREET BOYS track” says FREY. “I’ve worked with good producers before but I always felt like I was being rushed. With DAVE, that wasn’t the case. We recorded it at SHELTER ISLAND STUDIOS which is where SUZANNE VEGA and SHAWN COLVIN record. It took a long time and a lot of late nights in the studio. There were also situations where a major label would book the studio at the last minute and we’d have to make ourselves scarce for three months, so I always got into the habit of telling people ‘We’re almost done! We’re almost done!’ and when I’d see people again the CD still wasn’t ready. Tomorrow finally came but it took a long time, and I’m just glad that we didn’t rush it.”

In a business where egos get bigger everyday, JAMES FREY manages to keep it down to earth. “Part of being an artist is being a member of the audience too. I never understood this whole thing about artists being competitive with each other. That’s not who your competition is. My competition, in drawing an audience in New York City are the NEW YORK YANKEES or people staying at home. I love hearing new bands all the time; jazz bands and rock bands. It’s just nice to see bands with people who can do things that I can’t do.

New York City is the cradle of Western Civilization yet there aren’t any recent rock bands of note that hail from the Big Apple and all that most music media focuses on are the accomplishments of bands like THE RAMONES, BLONDIE and TALKING HEADS; The CBGB’s legends. “All you ever hear about now is CBGB’s closing down.” says FREY. “My heart goes out to them but you know what? Where there’s a will, there’s a way and there are still a lot of great clubs out here. We always play at the BITTER END. It’s in the heart of Greenwich Village and it’s where BOB DYLAN got discovered. You have to be more or less of a human being to live in New York. It’s got its good qualities and its abysmal qualities. For me personally, I get to hear the greatest music in the world for free. This town just rewards you on so many levels.”

THE INFERNO MERCHANTS are also an experience that JAMES FREY continues to be rewarded by. “To quote CHRIS ROBINSON of THE BLACK CROWES, ‘It’s all just one big song’. We’re an unknown band in New York playing every gig we can get, doing the best we can and playing the music we believe in. Who can ask for anything more? In some small way we are part of the song. When a show is over and you’re in your room and accolades have died down and there is nothing but quiet, all you have is that moment and you’ll always have that moment.”

It’s not easy being a small fish in an ocean filled with sharks, as many struggling bands in New York have noticed, but JAMES FREY feels confidant enough to brave the waters. When asked about being labeled another New York band, Frey responded. “Some would see that as being limiting. I’m honored.”




- RockWired Magazine (Orange County, CA)

"NYC band has a smooth & proficient rock album"

"This NY-area band has a full-length album of smooth, proficient rock material that, in spirit, harkens back to classic Doobie Brothers and Bowie's Young Americans.… There's no question the band can truly play and their material is solidly crafted." – MUSIC CONNECTION MAGAZINE - Music Connection Magazine


Tracks from our LP "Warchild's Play" have received airplay on the following CMJ stations:

CMJ Play List Summary

Station Location Peak Position

WLHS West Chester/Liberty, Ohio #5

WESS East Stroudsburg, PA #10

WMMT Whitesburg, KY #22

WRHO Oneonta, New York #25

BearCast Cincinnati, Ohio (U of Cinn) #25

WGCC Batavia, New York #25

KGLX St. Louis, Missouri #31

WDTS Georgetown, Delaware #2 (adds)

WVMW Scranton, Pennsylvania #4 (adds)

WSAM West Hartford, Connecticut #4 (adds)

KGUR San Luis Obispo, California #4 (adds)



"This NY-area band has a full-length album of smooth, proficient rock material that, in spirit, harkens back to classic Doobie Brothers and Bowie's Young Americans.… There's no question the band can truly play and their material is solidly crafted." – MUSIC CONNECTION MAGAZINE

It’s ironic that in an age dominated by strife – from the Culture Wars to the War on Terror – we find ourselves living through history, yet without a soundtrack in which to define these times. Such an attitude embodies what The Inferno Merchants are all about. From the moment they take the stage, the audience is helplessly aware that it is witnessing a musical capsule moment as they’re taken on a sonic tour that fuses a mix of influences ranging from David Bowie to Stevie Ray Vaughan and Pearl Jam. Of course they also come for the jams, or to watch the band, “Go Inferno!” to borrow a phrase that is commonly used among fans.

The inferno is blazing and the buzz is spreading throughout their hometown of New York City and beyond. Their debut album Warchild’s Play has twice been the feature on the weekly radio program, "RockWired," broadcast on KTST-FM, out of Orange County, California. And in November 2008, snowboarding enthusiasts will get a taste of The Merchants at the box office when their song, "Love, Springfield," will be featured in, "Shred," a comedy starring Tom Green.

What fans have described as, “The soundtrack of the Drudge Report,” is beginning to generate a buzz around the clubs of New York and beyond. Perhaps this is why The Merchants are packing historic venues such as The Bitter End. Stay tuned as the heat from the inferno continues to rise….