“We are prone to marvel at things,” said Rainor Vigneault, the lead singer and guitarist for local psychedelic rock band Marvel Prone. “There’s something about existence that is really mysterious. A lot of times I find myself absorbed with the beauty and mystery of being in this world, to the extent of my detriment. I’ll be more consumed with the sounds of my guitar than the laundry that’s been piling up in the corner for months.”
“We are Marvel Prone,” Vigneault said with a smirk.
This eclectic coalition of Seacoast musicians has held a variety of different members and identities over the years. Formed in 2014 with Peter Dubois and Riley Webb, Vigneault is the last standing member of the original band. Though the band has two albums packed with original songs, their beginnings were rooted in covers of the members’ favorite songs.
“Originally the name of the band was DAVE,” Vigneault said. Marvel Prone later cycled through band names like Supermoon and Webb Tone, a tribute to former bass player Riley Webb.
“At one point we called ourselves Lightswitch for some reason...which was probably the worst idea,” Vigneault said, laughing.
Now under Marvel Prone, the band consists of Rainor Vigneault on guitar and vocals, Alexander Amann on bass, Meghan McPherson on the keyboard, and her brother Ed McPherson on the drums, a positive addition to the group in Vigneault’s eyes.
“It was great meeting Ed for the second album because he brought a ton of creative ideas to the songs I’d been sitting on,” Vigneault said. “He really brought them to life. It goes to show that a band can still be a band even if the members change.”
Marvel Prone’s music has since become harder and heavier due to former bass player Lukas Labrie’s progressive rock inspired bass licks, and McPherson’s heavy-handed approach to the drums. This shift in tone is apparent in their song “Blue-Eyes, White Dragon” from their latest album, She Hits Me. The song is grounded with a grungy drum beat accompanied by a searing guitar riff; a mix described by Vigneault as Tom Petty’s “Runnin’ Down a Dream” and Nirvana’s “School.”
McPherson’s explosive drum beats and new bassist Alex Amann’s syncopated riffs are indicative of their influences. Most notably, McPherson says the band Rush was a main driver for his interest in drumming.
“I idolized Neil Peart when I was first starting out,” McPherson said. “More recently I’ve been loving the band Genesis, and Phil Collins has quickly become one of my favorite drummers. Not to be a knob, but I can sense some elements of his playing in my own style.”
Similar to McPherson, Amann draws influence from Rush bassist Geddy Lee, along with famous rock bassist John Paul Jones from Led Zeppelin and Oteil Burbridge from the Allman Brothers and Dead & Company.
On the opposite end of the spectrum lies Ed’s sister, Meghan McPherson, who cited the keyboard sounds from 80’s pop tunes as her main inspiration.
“I’ve always loved 80’s pop since I was a kid,” McPherson said. “When you listen closely, there’s so many similarities between that and progressive rock. People laugh at me when I say that but when you dig into those synth lines and modulations, it’s absolutely mind blowing.”
Marvel Prone is currently working on a new album, expected to release in 2022, so long as the pandemic doesn’t intervene.
“Right now we have an album cover, but no songs,” Vigneault said.
The album cover, designed by local artist Evelyn Bollinger, is a bright orange canvas with abstract designs scattered throughout. “11:22” lies in the middle of the cover art in a jagged font.
“It’s just one of those times that you see on the clock, and I notice it more than other times,” Vigneault said. “Some people see 4:44 or 3:33 and it’s their favorite time, but 11:22 is the one I always see, and everytime I see it I think to myself, ‘Does this mean something?’”
The concept for their upcoming album revolves around a psychological breakthrough and transformation that Vigneault experienced a couple of years ago.
“I’ve been reading this book by Carl Jung called Psychology and Alchemy, so there will be some chemical themes involved,” Vigneault said. “It’s gonna be weird, but really fun.”
Photography by Max Schoenfeld
Marvel Prone recently returned to the live stage after a short hiatus, popping up at Seacoast venues like The Stone Church in Newmarket and The Big Bean in Durham. After witnessing the young coterie of musicians in person, it was clear that despite revolving members over the years and absences from the stage due to the pandemic, the energy and excitement fostered by Marvel Prone remains the same.
Long-standing fan Lauren Hellman gave her thoughts on the band following a recent performance in Durham.
“Marvel Prone is an incredibly diverse band as far as the genres,” Hellman said. “From performing at house shows to bars, they’ve definitely made a name for themselves in the area, and their social media presence is a big asset to their popularity. I’ve seen them perform covers as well as originals many times, and their energy as a group really shows during their performances. I’ve listened to and played many of their originals on my radio show, and it’s really impressive to see how seamlessly they’re able to translate a studio recording to a live performance.”
With limited venue capacities, catching the band live is trickier than it’s been in prior years. Luckily, Marvel Prone has a slew of music available through Spotify, Apple Music, and Soundcloud, all great ways to enjoy their music from the comfort of your home and to support musicians during the pandemic. Albums and songs may also be purchased for digital download via their page on Bandcamp.
Be on the lookout for their next album, expected to release November 22, 2022.