The initial concept for Richmond VA’s Mensrea was conceived in early 2001. After the splintering of their former band Misguided, Cory Smoot and Nathan Krishna sought to recruit several other Richmonders with a knack for forward thinking, original directions, and a sincere love for heavy metal in all its forms & mutations. Those to make the cut were Dave “Gibby” Gibson on drums, Dave Anderson on bass guitar, and Marc Powell handling vocal duties.
With a set of diverse mutual backgrounds and influences, Mensrea took their time writing songs and developing their sound over the next two years. Finally comfortable with their stylistic choices, they recorded the self titled debut full length album in 2004. The local buzz was quiet yet ecstatic. It was at this time that Smoot joined the ranks of Richmond’s Gwar as the newest incarnation of Flattus Maximus. For some fledgling bands such an occurrence would spell doom, but Smoot made the promise to pull double duty in both bands and eventually take Mensrea with him. Mensrea now had the opportunity to cut their teeth on the national touring circuit, opening for Gwar regularly as well as several other well known national acts.
While maintaining lengthy yet sporadic touring cycles over the next three years, the writing began for their second full length excursion. Finally in 2008, “Media Coil Interrupt” was released. This sophomore effort found the band more polished and comfortable in their skin. More bouts of touring followed, again dividing time between the demands of two working bands. Reviews of the new record were stellar among their local peers, associates, and wider growing fan base across the country.
In late 2009, Anderson decided to leave the group for various personal reasons. He was replaced by longtime friend Kevin “Chauncy” Vickers of famed New Jersey based underground groups Throne from Royalty and stoner metal giants Omegalord. The wheels kept turning, gigging resumed, and the core of the band began working on new material yet again.
It was early November 2011 when tragedy stuck. While on tour, Smoot was found deceased in his bunk by his band mates during an early morning Canadian border crossing. Needless to say this was a tremendous loss for the music community and legions of fans worldwide. A memorial gig was organized for January of 2012, to help generate funds for the Smoot family. Featured were several Richmond based metal bands with Mensrea slated to headline the event. Dave Anderson was tapped to play Smoot’s guitar parts for the gig, an offer he humbly accepted. The gig was a huge success, garnering support from the metal media, and of course from the loving fans that came from all parts of the country to show their support for the tribute.
After some time had passed and the band had sufficiently licked their collective wounds, Anderson rejoined the fold, this time assuming guitar duties. Kevin Vickers bowed out to explore new ventures on the west coast. His replacement was found after a few rehearsal sessions in bassist, Chris Wallmeyer, from Richmond’s Make Like Murder (www.facebook.com/makelikemurder.)
At present time the band is regaining their footing, confirming to fans and the world at large the plans to forge on. Rehearsals and songwriting resumed yet again for an early 2013 EP. It is expected to feature new material and songs Smoot and the band had fleshed out before his passing. Audio engineering and production at Smoot’s Karma Productions & Studios is being continued and maintained by Dave “Gibby” Gibson and Nathan Krishna in Richmond, Virginia.
Current and Former Mensrea Members:
Nathan Krishna - Guitar
Marc Powell - Lead Vocals
David “Gibby” Gibson - Drums
Dave Anderson - Bass Guitar 7 years/ Guitar 2012
Chris Wallmeyer - Bass Guitar 2012
Cory Smoot - Guitar; Creator of Karma Productions & Studios
Kevin Vickers - Bass Guitar, 2009-12