The Merkin Brothers Band was formed 12 years ago in Hobart, Tasmania, under the name “Full Tilt Boogie”. The premise was simple: a bunch of musical mates just wanting to play some rockin’ rythmn’n’blues with passion and heart, covering the likes of Ray Charles, Joe Cocker, John Lee Hooker, Muddy Waters, the Stones and others. Under the name Full Tilt, the Merkins a few years ago released a CD of eight tracks called “Take The Wheel”.
Geoff D. Rogers and Simon Bradshaw (aka Slim and Hank Merkin) began writing songs together and it soon became evident that there was a chemistry and musical bond between them, with a mutual dream to play original music and keep to the Blues ethic.As Full Tilt the band played loads of shows around Hobart and in the north of Tasmania, such as the Forth Valley Blues Festival, the Cygnet Folk Festival, the Launceston Blues Festival and Winterfest, and was invited to play at the Australian National Blues Festival in Goulburn, NSW, in 2008.
Although there have been a few personel changes over the years, the band settled into its present line-up a couple of years ago. This is the Rev. Slim Buck Merkin (Geoff Rogers) on vocals and incidental percussion, Hank Bocephus Merkin (Simon Bradshaw) on guitars and vocals, Smokin’ Joe Merkin (Graeme Beer) on guitars and vocals, Leroy Merkin (Conrad Joyce) on electric and upright basses, and Curly T. Merkin (Dave Furlani) on drums.
Meanwhile, a backlog of Slim and Hank’s original songs was being honed for performance. As many of these songs seemed to meet with approval of some pretty hard core Blues audiences, it provided the inspiration to continue the idea into the eventual production of the Merkins Brothers Band’s latest release “Full Tilt and Downward Bound”. This CD was recorded and mastered by Stewie Long at his Red Planet Studios in Hobart, and is being launched at the Hobart Blues Club monthly gig at the Duke on Tuesday, March 4 2014. The album has already had some airplay on the Max Crawdaddy Blues show on Melbourne’s 3RRR, as well as having been selected as “Album of the Week” for the week starting February 24 by 936 ABC Hobart’s Your Afternoon presenter, Penny Terry.