Whisper the name Nero around Irish indie-rock crowds in the know today and it just might conjure up a faint echo of recognition. That echo will probably sound very similar to the buzz Nero had put in the Dublin air a few years ago. After forming in 1997, the lads spent the next four years playing the Irish club and college circuit to critical acclaim and an ever-increasing fan base. They soon worked their way up to full house shows at such venues as Whelan's and the Temple Bar Music Centre, earning multiple TV spots, steady radio play and strong reviews. In 2001, Nero recorded their debut EP in Sun Studios of Dublin with studio engineer Ger McDonnell, whose credits include U2 and the Manic Street Preachers. At the same time, an independent filmmaker from the US, who had previously caught a Nero show in Dublin, arrived in Ireland with a 3-man crew to film the first part of a 'rockumentary' based entirely on the band. The Nero name was certainly making a mark around town - but there was adventure in the air ... In summer 2001, armed with their new EP and fueled with a bad case of Irish boy-band burnout, Nero left Dublin for an extended trip to the US. They got off to a running start, playing famed NYC rock venue CBGB's the day after arriving, and they didn't let up. After six months of gigging all over NYC and the northeast, they headed west to the sunny climes and fine folks of California. Based in San Francisco, the lads quickly gained stellar reviews and a strong following, earning headline gigs at all the prime local venues, including the legendary Slim's and such top LA spots as The Viper Room and Spaceland. It was at Slim's that Nero had the good fortune to meet Barrett Martin, who has played with such bands as The Screaming Trees, REM and The Wayward Shamans, and who would go on to produce a large batch of Nero songs for their next release. The recordings were made at both the Expression Studios in Oakland and Pearl Jam's Studio Litho in Seattle, and mixing was once again placed in the trusty hands of Ger McDonnell. The ripest fruits of these labors will soon be released in Ireland on Nero's second EP, a collection of songs that capture the passion and energy of Nero and loudly declare the promise of more great things to come. A special bonus during the recordings came when one of Nero's biggest guitar heroes, the great Peter Buck of R.E.M., contributed some fantastic guitar parts to four of their songs. An even bigger thrill for the lads came at SXSW, when Mr. Buck joined Nero on stage and played their song 'I Keep Your Dreams' with Gavin's guitar. Nero's travels and travails also found them working with legendary producer Jack Douglas whose many credits include Aerosmith and John Lennon. While Nero was shaking the walls at Expression Studios, Jack was trying to teach a class in a nearby studio. Finally giving up on class, Jack checked out the boys, liked what he heard and quickly offered his services. The fruits of those sessions will be evident with the first single off the EP, a hard-driving Nero rocker called 'Live With Answers' - produced by Jack. After nearly three years in the States, Nero made their way back to dear old Dublin early this year to oversee final mixing of the next EP and start revving up for it's release. It's been a long time coming for the band but the rewards are certainly worth the wait. Finally, the songs are ready to rock and Nero is more than ready to roll. Very soon, that once faint echoing buzz just might blow you away.
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