What began as an acoustic duo in 2009 has transformed in to one of Virginia’s busiest touring musical acts with over 300 performances in the past two years.
Michael Chagnon and Geoffrey Osborne met in April of 2005 following a performance by Chagnon’s band, “Escape Velocity”. Escape Velocity continued performing and recording while attending college, releasing two albums independently. Their music was played nationally on MTV during one of the network’s original productions and they performed live on both ABC and CBS affiliates. Having already released an independent EP with his high school rock band, Osborne continued performing in college and began a new band with a heavier sound.
Throughout college both Chagnon and Osborne worked within the music industry. Chagnon wrote weekly music reviews for The Burg under Media General and worked for Clear Channel Radio in the Lynchburg and Roanoke markets. Osborne worked for WMLU 91.3 FM in Farmville, Virginia and ran Bandfest – a big budget, high-publicity concert held annually.
During the summer of 2007 Osborne filled in as a bassist for Chagnon’s band during its last live performance at Sweet Briar College. Eager to tour, they called on their friend David Stewart to play drums. The trio then embarked on a month-long, double billed tour of the east coast under the name “ciao roma” with friends “Steve Goldberg and the Arch Enemies“.
Chagnon and Osborne played for the first time as an acoustic act at their only performance in 2008. Finishing out their studies in 2009 and following a week-long Florida tour they both released self-titled compilations and began touring Virginia as an acoustic duo full-time. They gave their first interview as a group in November of 2009 to WNRN 91.9 FM out of Charlottesville, Virginia. By the end of 2010 they had done over 70 performances in twelve months and expanded their regular touring circuit out to North Carolina and Maryland. In 2011 they did 146 performances, completed recording their first collaborative effort and named the band “Mercutio”. Every song from the band’s self-titled, debut EP was broadcast on radio at some point during 2012 in Virginia and North Carolina.
While maintaining their demanding touring schedule in 2012 Mercutio focused on songwriting and began recording their debut album with local drummer Ken Brand. Originally a native of New Jersey, Brand officially joined the band in 2012. Since age ten Brand has performed with various ensembles and rock acts. He is a classically trained percussionist under the tutelage of Greg Giannascoli and Nick Cerrato with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Education. Brand has had the opportunity to perform with such percussionists as Jeff Queen (DCI Hall of Fame and BLAST!), Jonathan Haas (head of percussion at N.Y.U. and world-reknowned percussion recording artist), and Artie Lipner (jazz vibes recording artist and percussion composer). He made his debut with the band on Lynchburg, Virginia’s 93.7 WKHF featuring a live interview and a three-song performance.
The band released their new album “Self Titled” in February of 2013 and supported it with a month-long, east coast tour. Mercutio continue touring heavily and are currently preparing material for their next release.