Who: Brian Marquis
What: New music video “From Boston,” featuring Marquis among his most beloved Boston spots
Where: Various scenes and sights of Boston
Boston-based musician Brian Marquis has made his way through the local scene for quite a while now. Throughout his timeline of various tours and a recent move to Los Angeles, Marquis, the former guitarist of local hardcore group Therefore I Am, realized that everyone he has met while traveling has had some preconceived idea about what Bostonians are like.
The number of times Marquis was asked to say, “Pahk the cah at Hahvahd yahd,” for example, encouraged him to write a song paying tribute to the city he loves most — and poking fun at some stereotypes in the process.
“From Boston” accomplishes all of this in just over three minutes. All of the stereotypes about chowder-slurping, cold-hearted Roman Catholic Bostonians are encompassed in a catchy drinking song — a well-made inside joke between New Englanders. And in an accompanying video, which debuts today on the Boston Globe website, Marquis extends the affectionate gag.
“It’s through my eyes more than it’s promotional,” he said. The video isn’t so much a panoramic view of Boston, but rather a Boston that reflects the singer’s own point of view.
He first moved to Boston in 1999 to attend Berklee College of Music. But after studying voice for a couple of years, he left to tour with a metal band. Marquis immersed himself in the local music scene, and in 2006 landed on Equal Vision Records with Therefore I Am.
Marquis opted to go solo after four years of touring the world, and moved to LA for a change of scenery. But at the end of the day, as the video demonstrates, Boston is his home.
Shot in five days with almost no budget, the video pans through many daily scenes for Marquis. From the Bostonian Barber Shop, owned by a friend of his, to Copley Square, where he used to take lunch breaks while working in Berklee’s housing department, Marquis provides a light-hearted, personal tour of Boston. The scally-capped, flannel-wearing singer is an atypical tour guide: loudly strumming an acoustic guitar, bellowing lyrics while perusing the streets, all the while being chased by a camera.
Along with standard stops like Union Oyster House and Mr. Music, Marquis brings in unique elements like the Boston Derby Dames, of which his sister-in-law is a part. As a shout-out to college-age Bostonians, Marquis also mounts a rowdy Allston basement show.
“I invited fans and friends, and bought 100 PBRs,” said Marquis, who used to live and play music in Allston.
With just a two-person crew and as many cameras, the video shoot was as carefree and loose as it comes off onscreen.
“It’s funny, we kind of shot it in a guerilla format,” said Marquis, “We would just be driving and say, ‘oh, pull over to this spot, let’s get a shot here,’ dodging some traffic. But all the locations really worked out.”
The colorful comic strip of local life that Marquis portrays is laughable, but also shows a strong sense of Boston pride. Lyrics like “We will still say cheers to you when nobody knows your name” really say it all.
“It’s like, take it easy, if you don’t understand, don’t worry — all the stereotypes come from a place of love for the city and culture,” said Marquis. “I am proud of it. I think I was successful with that.”
Brian Marquis performs with the Dear Hunter and Northern Faces at the Sinclair on May 5 and 6; www.sinclaircambridge.com.