Mercury Rev

Not so much a band as a long, strange trip, the chaotic avant pop pranksters Mercury Rev formed in Buffalo, NY, in the late '80s. Originally comprised of 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 sextet -- always rife with personality conflicts -- interacted with one another infrequently, and their first recordings evolved simply as a means of creating soundtracks for the members' experimental student films as well as for Howard Nelson's Lite-Brite and Marco Fogg's Sugardaddy Sea.