A steady evolution
The Mark Sexton Band
The Mark Sexton Band was founded by its namesake in his sarcastic and self-proclaimed “selfish asshole” days. It was originally created as an ego-stroking solo project, which slowly evolved into a band of four casual teenage dudes who just wanted to jam, and who struggled to be taken seriously in a city of older and more-experienced musicians.
The core trio of 19-year-olds, led by Sexton, lead vocals and guitar, is backed by Alex Korostinsky, backup vocals and guitar and Dan Weiss, drums. Sexton says they’ve recently expanded their personnel roster, bringing in a fourth member: 16-year-old Damien Hirai on saxophone.
Sexton’s voice sounds a bit like John Mayer’s, but it’s stronger and more volatile. Aside from Mayer, The Mark Sexton Band was influenced by groups like 311, Incubus and Dave Matthews, which informs the unique texture of acoustic rock they aim for. They’ve been known to mix all styles of music into their sets.
This band will go to great lengths get the audience’s attention. Mixed with the rock are the delightful sounds of reggae. If you aren’t into the music, you’ll at least notice that drummer Weiss looks like he’s 12, possibly 10. The good news: He really knows his way around a drum kit.
“It’s important for us to make and keep our own unique sound,” says Sexton. He says that when they get picked on by the 20-something, beer-legal crowd at their shows, the jibes are retracted the moment their performance ends.
“People want us to leave the bar until they hear us play,” says Weiss. He recognizes that some patrons are basing judgments on their teeniest of teeny-bopper looks, but eventually they realize that these guys actually do have talent, as well as the right to rock on any given stage in Reno.
However, the animosity doesn’t always only flow toward the band.
“Reno venues suck,” says Weiss, firmly. The Green Room, in bandmembers’ opinion, is pretty much the only place in Reno that doesn’t fall into the category of “crap.”
Sexton and Korostinsky put a lot of work into their voices before they first took the stage. They used to take music lessons together, and they’ve gone on to practice their harmonies as a team at home in a quiet room where they hear nothing but each other and are able to critique freely. Sexton writes all the band’s songs, and the rest of the guys “arrange very smoothly at rehearsals,” and everyone works as a team to figure out what instrumental sounds fit best with which songs.
Sexton says he’s dedicated to playing music, no matter the level of success he attains. “I’ll never stop playing music. Even if I’m a bum I’ll still play music; it doesn’t even matter.”
Bandmates are apparently playing from the same song sheet.
“I put as much soul as I have into every minute of it,” says Korostinsky.