FEATURE: Have Mercy Go Through Hell For “Make The Best Of It”


Interview by: Bridjet Mendyuk

Words by: Bridjet Mendyuk

Have Mercy had a tough year last year, like a really tough year. Everyone except lead singer Brian Swindle had left, Swindle was going through a “pan of “six or seven months” of “just hell” when his then-girlfriend kicked him out of the house. Yet, when he went into the studio solo, somehow things went pretty okay. The touring band came in to record the album, even though Swindle and the crew ended up scrapping the record and starting from scratch. When they finished their album Make The Best Of It via Hopeless Records seven months later, Have Mercy were back in the saddle.

“There was a lot going on in my life that inspired this record,” Swindle said. “It was a long, drawn out process; not having a band in the beginning, going into the studio. There was a point where we didn’t think we would finish the record because we were all so burnt out on it. We heard all these songs a million times. We were burnt.”

While each song holds a different story (or lack thereof), the record shows Swindle’s journey from Have Mercy’s start in 2011 to now. The singles “Good Christian Man” and “Baby Grand” are about Swindle’s upbringing while the latter happened organically.

“‘Good Christian Man’ had been sitting around for awhile, it’s about my relationship with my family and when it comes to religion; catholicism,” Swindle said. “‘[For ‘Baby Grand’] we were in the studio and we had [writer’s block] for about a week. We were going to Paul’s and we were going to help him move a piano. I saw it and started playing it and the opening riffs to the song. [Ultimately] we ended up writing a song about a piano, but we switched the lyrics for it make more sense and not be corny.”

Make The Best Of It is unique in it’s own right. The record doesn’t fit into what was expected of Have Mercy to release. When Swindle was writing the record, he said he wanted to write a “big rock album” and not to back themselves into a proverbial emo-esque corner. Unlike their peers in the pop punk and post-punk world, Have Mercy have heard the record categorized as “dad rock” (Swindle said he thought it was funny), but the anthemic, radio rock tracks like “Baby Grand,” “Ghost,” “Drive” and “Begging For Bones” stand out on the record.

“We went into this and [thought]it just needs to be a power album, a straight up rock record not derived from anything else,” Swindle said. “I wanted it be like if I was to listen to the radio, what do I want to hear.”

What next for Have Mercy now that the record is out in the world? Swindle says his veteranship in the industry has shown through with Make The Best Of It. After touring so much in the past, Swindle “wanted to grow as a writer.” Produced by Brian Mcturnin (Thrice, Circa Survive), taught Swindle about songwriting and “what really makes something a hook.” Going forward, the making of the record has helped the band become better musicians.

Recalling the band’s tour with The Maine as a check on his bucket list, Swindle says “everything is a highlight in my life.”

You can catch Have Mercy this summer at the dates below.


July 12, 2017 – Kung Fu Necktie, Philadelphia, PA, US

July 13, 2017 – Murmrr Ballroom, Brooklyn, NY, US

July 14, 2017 – Amityville Music Hall, Amityville, NY, US

July 15, 2017 – Alchemy, Providence, RI, US

July 16, 2017 – Great Scott, Allston, MA, US

July 18, 2017 – Sugar City, Buffalo, NY, US

July 19, 2017 – Mahall’s Locker Room, Lakewood, OH, US

July 20, 2017 – The Funhouse at Mr. Small’s, Millvale, PA, US

July 21, 2017 – Ottobar, Baltimore, MD, US


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