A return to the spawning ground | TheUnion.com

A return to the spawning ground

Jennifer Burnes, flanked by her Mermen bandmates, visits Nevada City this weekend.
ALL | GrassValleyArchive

Last here about six months ago, the San Francisco-based psychedelic surf rock group the Mermen returns to Cooper’s in Nevada City Friday and Saturday.

Member Jennifer Burnes grew up in Nevada County.

“It’s actually nice coming back,” Burnes said Tuesday. “All my good friends are there. It’s a chance to hang out with my family, brothers, grandma, my dad.”

She had fantasized for several years about playing bass in the instrumental group.

“I dreamed about playing ‘Splashin’ with the Mermaids’ and the old bass player handing me his bass guitar and getting me up on stage,” Burnes said.

After she became the group’s studio assistant, carrying out “go-fer”-like jobs such as running cable, picking up lunch, and selling CDs at Mermen shows, Burnes became the group’s bassist three years ago.

“It was really frightening at first. I really looked up to Allen Whitman, the original member,” said Burnes. She is now a veteran, no longer sweating it at gigs across the West Coast.

Burnes played four Southern California shows last week in between working on the Mermen’s seventh CD.

“Now it’s a lot of work but fun,” she added.

The other members are Jim Thomas on guitar and Martyn Jones on drums. The group’s name is a reference to Jimi Hendrix’s song, “1983” (“… A merman I shall turn to be”).

The Mermen plays mostly originals. At Cooper’s, the group will perform a few songs in memory of Krista Griffiths, a Nevada County resident and Mermen fan who died in a car accident Monday near Hercules.


WHAT: The Mermen

WHEN: Friday and Saturday at 9:30 p.m. Saturday is a Halloween costume show so dress appropriately

WHERE: Cooper’s, 235 Commercial St., Nevada City



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