Music | Double Overtime: Local band Mury keep on truckin’. 

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Most kids pick up a basketball but they won’t be in the NBA. I was beginning to realize that maybe I wouldn’t be a career musician, either,” Mury frontman Chris Alder says years after coming to the crossroads that nearly truncated his current path. “But Mury [a shortened version of the Salt Lake City suburb of Murray] came together at that right place and right time.” n

Alder’s pessimistic outlook on the music biz took hold around the same time his former project Take the Fall started to crumble, a downward spiral that mirrored that of other local rock bands including The Contingency Plan and Ayrton. Instead of throwing in the towel, though, members of those defunct groups joined forces, moved to California and launched an extensive tour as Mury. The new band burst on the scene seemingly as a flash-in-the-pan experiment—but their fire has been burning white hot since it sparked nearly two years ago.

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Today, nine months of constant West Coast touring, the polished musicians known for their indie/pop/rock have returned to Utah as one of the better bands in Salt Lake City’s burgeoning scene—a local and regional sensation. At a recent benefit show for fellow local artist Tate Law, an influx of fans swarmed the Kilby Court firepit waiting to catch Mury. It was a typical Mury crowd complete with swooning front-row groupies singing along to every song and a few super excited fans air drumming nearly in sync with Burt Hoagland’s thump, thump, thumps.

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The band’s career hasn’t cruised one placid stretch, though. “There’s been a lot of times when it’s been really hard: a lot of fights, a lot of tears. I’d never toured before this band and I didn’t know how hard it would be physically and mentally,” Alder says. But even through rough patches, Mury kept their home close to pocket. “Something that gets me hyped up on tour is that I get to say, ‘Hey, we’re Mury and we’re from Salt Lake.’” From a band who claims, “We’ll always be wearing Jazz hats in promotional pictures and throwing up the 801,” they really mean it.

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In addition to a little bit of hip-hop flavor in their choice of askew headwear and “gang signs” the band incorporates a unique (given their style) feature, during their sets. “We throw a freestyle in at the live shows,” Alder says of a practice harking back to his childhood roots enjoying genuine MCs and the art of the improvisational rhyming. “Onstage it’s a jam session. I never know what I’m going to say but Jay, Jonathan and Burt get something going I can rhyme to,” Alder adds. “It shows the different talent of our band and avenues that we can go down. I rhyme about the stuff in the crowd. It’s something we try to do getting the crowd involved. It puts a good break in the set, something different. It’s not four guys playing song after song. It’s like, ‘Oh they’re doing something new.’ ”

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Alder is also a firm believer in keeping it real and remembering why they bother to make music.

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“I want to hit people for better and for worse,” he says, adding that they aren’t interested in mimicking their contemporaries overwrought themes of whiny romanticism. “I hear lyrics like “I’m a boy, but I’m a man.”

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His assertion is evident in the band’s maturing sound, one focused on reaching different groups and hitting them in the sternum. “I want to write something that will stand the test of time,” Alder says with straight face and strong intent. “Long story short: I’m looking to leave a fingerprint on this earth.”

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On that note, Alder is all set with the band’s New Year’s resolution: “The idea for 2009 is to take what momentum we have and keep it going. The industry, as we know it, is crumbling. Now we’re approaching it with the idea that a record deal may never come and we understand that. We want to be realistic and keep playing music and figure out how to do that. You just have to keep kicking.”

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With several recording sessions coming up—and one already in the bag with local producer Matt Winegar—Mury are well on their way to getting drafted.

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MURY
nAvalon, 3605 S. State, Saturday Jan. 10, 7 p.m. All-ages

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