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Verst / Bio

in some parts of the city, ‘two johns’ would just mean a slow night for a tenderloin hooker. but in the rock clubs and bars we frequent, we hope that those two words will soon be the code phrase for “an outlandishly melodic assault of postmodern proportions.”

john dickey, john parsons and brandon hemley have triangulated their talents on behalf of the city of san francisco (and, let’s be honest, the greater expanse of intertubes out there) and called it what it is: verst. and we’re ready to unleash this tsoundnami effective immediately.

we could spend a lifetime cataloguing influences, but what’s the point? just because we’re totally into polyester shit like bread and neil sedaka; acid-drooling shout-from-the-mountain aural candy like the teardrop explodes, lilys and hawkwind; and mythic hard-riffing slabs of meat like sabbath, zeppelin and budgie, doesn’t mean we sound like any of that. though maybe we do…if you put it all in a blender and jam your middle finger in an upwards motion on the purée button.

but yeah, if you like 70s horror and sci fi flicks, space, heartache, murder, and perversions of all kinds, then you might enjoy verst. the only real way to test the theory is to listen. and we hope you do.

and now, if you’re so inclined, a little bit of history.

john dickey (guitars, bass, vocals)
as the leader and visionary behind the late great boston band, pie, john dickey carved out a singular niche in the annals of 1990s indie rock with his unique down-tuned guitar wizardry, plaintive neil-young-esque vocal stylings, and inventive and prolific songwriting. at its peak, pie found itself opening for acts like pavement and built to spill before self-immolating on the altar of excess. it was all very rock and roll.

after pie’s demise in 1997, dickey moved west, and at a pace rivaling robert pollard, has been putting out a constant barrage of ear treats ever since under a wide variety of monikers: simp, psionic mantis, dickish, and most recently, richard bitch. all music guide had this to say about the bitch: “An anomaly among the mostly po-faced world of San Francisco Bay Area indie rock, the now-defunct Richard Bitch was a flash in the pan that never quite ignited, but by any standard should have set the house on fire.”

john parsons (bass, guitars, vocals)
for nearly a decade, john parsons led san francisco rockers, rule of thumb, a quartet that bridged the alt-roots and indie-rock worlds through memorable melodies, literate lyrics, and non-traditional song structures. BAM Magazine once described their third album as a “…a unique but unpretentious vibe; somewhat like solo-era Peter Murphy and Robyn Hitchcock filtered through Tom Petty’s resin-encrusted pot pipe.”

after being featured on KFOG’s “local anesthetic” program and being named a semifinalist in discmaker’s world series of rock, the band decided middling success was overrated and disbanded. parsons has continued to write, record, and perform under several aliases including the middle fingers and extraordinary rendition. over the course of four albums, rule of thumb created what listen.com called "multi-faceted, near-flawless gems of catchy, yet uncompromising pop. rule of thumb's music is smart, beautifully produced, and scintillates with wit."

brandon hemley (drums, vocals)
as the drummer for rule of thumb, brandon helped propel the band to its ever-so-moderate level of success. The consummate “guitarist’s drummer,” and a strummer himself, he approaches his craft as a collaborative tunesmith, drumming for the love of tasty music making as much as his primal urge to hit things.

brandon is also the rhythmic heart of the marin county cover band lazy horse.

General Info

Band Members
John Parsons - Bass, John Dickey - Guitar, Brandon Hemley - Drums, Mark Marvelous - Guitar
Artist Name
Home Page
Active Since
Rock / Indie Rock / Space Rock

Contact Info

San Francisco, CA

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  • Pavement
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