Mercury Rev

From their beginnings as avant-pop pranksters to their evolution into purveyors of rootsy, majestic psych-pop, Mercury Rev weren't so much a band as a long, strange trip. Formed in Buffalo, New York, in the late '80s, the band originally featured vocalist David Baker, vocalist/silver pickup guitarist Jonathan Donahue, guitar shaper/single-exhaust clarinetist Grasshopper (born Sean Mackowiak), rooster-tail bass flutist Suzanne Thorpe, bass explorer Dave Fridmann, and mojo stick drummer Jimy Chambers. The members of the sextet -- always rife with personality conflicts -- interacted with one another infrequently, and their first recordings evolved simply as a means of creating soundtracks for their experimental student films as well as for Howard Nelson's Lite-Brite and Marco Fogg's Sugardaddy Sea.