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Barely Pink to bring big hooks and old-school rock fun to USF

Barely Pink is a foursome from Tampa Bay specializing in tuneful power-pop and professional showmanship. They draw their inspiration from acts such as Teenage Fanclub, Todd Rundgren and Cheap Trick – the latter of which Barely Pink has opened for five times. While teen-angst punk, anger-intensive rap-rock and numetal continue to flood the airwaves, Barely Pink boldly continues to keep audiences in touch with their sunnier side by offering hefty doses of big hooks, accessible grooves and sassy lyrics.

They first made waves in 1995 with their self-released five-song EP Starduster. The record garnered rave reviews in major publications such as Goldmine and landed Barely Pink on Big Deal Records. They released two discs, numberonefan (1997) and Elli’s Suitcase (1998), before the label folded. Upon finding themselves without a record label, Barely Pink went through a series of personal changes.

Rather than throwing the pink towel in, though, front man (lead vocalist/guitarist) Brian Merrill breathed new life into Barely Pink with help from guitarist Mark Warren, bassist Michael Hoag and drummer/vocalist Stan Arthur. The current lineup has been together about three years and are nearly finished recording a new album.

“We’re very happy with the way the new stuff is shaping up,” said Merrill between bites at The Greenery. “(The album) is basically one song away – we have nine originals in the can.”

The band left Morrissound Studios to complete their upcoming album at their own SuperBee Recording Studio in St. Petersburg; however, they have no intention of releasing the disc without getting back on a label – a process they are currently working through.

“Unfortunately, you need to have a label – you need to have a team behind you,” said Warren. “I can only work the phones so much between (the band) and my (day) job.”

Self-promotion is very important to the band.

“People’s radar as they go through their daily lives is like this,” said Warren while he held his hand about four inches apart in front of his face. “Unless you’re in that field of vision, they’re not going to see you.”

The Internet has been an important promotional tool for the band since the mid-1990s.

“It’s how we got a lot of things going with Barely Pink right when the Internet was taking off,” said Merrill. “In about ’94 I got into it and started sending out e-mails describing our band on bulletin boards for A&R people.”

Stage professionalism, or as Warren calls it, “structured spontaneity,” is also something Barely Pink is serious about – no “staring at the shoes” for these guys.

“We wear suits and ties, weather permitting (on stage),” said Warren, “looking good like the entertainment for the evening.”Unlike many other local rock bands, Barely Pink is comfortable with playing the role of entertainer.

“We don’t see anything wrong with big rock, with trying to get people worked up,” said Warren.

“I wanna come out of a show with that buzz -when I see a band I want my life to change for at least two hours.”

Barely Pink is not out to change the world or impress music snobs who look down their nose at a catchy melody.

“We’re gonna make you feel good,” said Warren.

Barely Pink perform today for free at 4 p.m. in the Marshall Center Game Room.