Garage and grunge leave a mark on Whitby rockers

The raucous sound of Nirvana was responsible for turning plenty of today's young recording artists on to music, and Chris Levoir, guitarist-vocalist for Whitby, Ontario's, the Mark Inside, is no exception. But it was the enthusiastic performances of a couple of lesser-known Canuck bands that drove the 23-year-old to pursue a full-time career in the competitive guitar, bass, and drums world. "Thrush Hermit and Tricky Woo came through Oshawa on a double bill," recalls Levoir from a van outside Toronto, en route to a video shoot, "and it was just one of the most amazing shows I've ever seen in my life, period. It really inspired a lot of bands around us at the time."

The buzz from seeing those two indie acts in full swing has stuck with the Mark Inside, to the point where the quartet is now touring across Canada in support of its debut MapleMusic CD, Static/Crash. Originally released in early 2004 on their friend's Sofa King label, the new version of the 12-track disc was remixed by Toronto indie icon Ian Blurton. "A lot of the stuff is like three years old," notes Levoir, "so we updated it as much as we could, threw some more money at it, and tried to make it sound all pretty."

The highly attractive garage-rock noise recently polished up by Blurton can be heard at the Arch on Saturday (July 23), where lyricist Levoir's ruminations on sex, politics, and power will be on full display. "Mostly I write a lot about people's different crutches," he explains. "Just what gets them through the day, you know, whatever helps them believe."

Levoir has known the Mark Inside bassist Geoff Bennett since the second grade; guitarist Guy Harris and drummer Geordie Dynes joined the fray when all four attended high school together. As usual, it was the parents of the guy with the drum kit who were obliged to offer their house as the group's practice space. The members are forever grateful to the Dynes family for regularly enduring the rockin' racket emanating from their basement. "We had two practices a week from seven o'clock till 11," recalls Levoir, "pretty much from high school right up until we moved to Toronto, so they put up with a whole lotta noise. We shattered a couple of paintings that fell off the walls, that sorta stuff."