The Archives : Marah's "Let's Cut the Crap and Hook Up Later on Tonight" (1998)

One of the best debut records ever released. The band, led by brothers Dave and Serge Bielanko, were as deep-rooted in Philadelphia as Rocky Balboa or Mike Schmidt. They were Springsteen one state over with Westerberg riding shotgun. When I first listened to this record I was blown away in a way that few records have done. It was hunger, freedom, debauchery, youth and abandon with so many damn instruments, howls, Phillies announcers and hand claps that it should've blown the face off of rock n' roll.

On the fifth day,
Of the fifth month,
At five o'clock in the dawn,
I rolled myself in a t-o-p,
And jumped down highway 1,
With a 400 engine hot as a cremation coffin,
And a tailgate bangin' like an airplane wing,
I was rollin' down the highway, doin' it my way,
Whistlin' "Someday" and singin' this song

I spent many-a-weekend in the late 90's hopping on the turnpike and heading from New York to Philly to see this band. I often wouldn't know where I'd lay my head or when I'd be back, but the need to see these guys was almost beyond my control. I'd cancel a date, leave work early and drive way beyond the speed limit to get there on time. I saw them all over Philadelphia and hours outside the city. At a Halloween show at the Pontiac they pulled me onstage to smoke, drink and harmonize on a terrible Skynyrd song.

I recall saying to friends that seeing Marah was like seeing the Stones during the Exile days, but maybe better. They were that good. Shows were fueled by booze, smokes and a pure rock n' roll energy that left me drenched in sweat and beer as the shows let out well past last call.

with Dave Bielanko @ The Pontiac, Halloween ('98?)

It all came from Let's Cut the Crap and Hook Up Later On Tonight, an album that mixes The Faces, Stones and Springsteen, yet is all Marah. It's youth, desperation and an uncertain fearlessness that together made this one of the greatest debut rock records ever made. There was nothing slick, nothing left behind and nothing left unsaid. As Dave says on "Boat": haste makes waste / and fans away my wasted friends / and it don't put you on top the world.


TB said...

Hi Chris, I'm currently authoring a DVD of the Halloween Marah show at The Pontiac Grille that you mention here and I was wondering if I could use the picture of you and Dave for the menu? The DVD will be traded/circulated among fans in a non-profit manner. Let me know what you think - I'll check this space for your reply.

Anonymous said...

Absolutely. I have many more photos from that night and I actually took the stage with Marah for the encore. I've ben looking for a video of this night for ten years!

Please email me at I would to discuss.