"That was when I started to learn, because Cory was so good," Marchant adds. "He basically introduced me to electronic and psychedelic music that I was maybe aware of but didn't know, like Warp Records stuff, like Aphex Twin and Autechre. Part of it was maybe just the idea of patient music listening — listening to things that challenge you that maybe you don't like right away, because those often end up being your favorite records. As much as he was saying, 'Here's this band,' he was also saying, 'Here's a different way to listen to music. This might not be sugar in your ears right away, but listen through the whole thing, and do it again, and the second time you'll get something out of it you didn't the first time.'"

Brown and Marchant played in an unnamed band for a time but never played out, and Brown ended up joining Manos with Crawford Philleo, Ben Martin and others. He also ended up in Constellations with Zack Brown and Mark Shusterman. During that time, Marchant recorded songs on his Tascam four-track but didn't think he was a songwriter whose music was worthy of releasing. Then he showed the demos to Davey Hart, whose enthusiasm for the material resulted in the formation of the psych-pop band Widowers.

With that band, which also included Cory Brown, Zack Brown, Hart and Shusterman, Marchant found an outlet for his songwriting that quickly caught the attention of Westword music editor Dave Herrera, who contacted the band based on two songs posted on MySpace. Marchant assumed it was a friend joking with him.

Location Info

Map

3 Kings Tavern

60 S. Broadway
Denver, CO 80209

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: South Denver

Hi-dive

7 S. Broadway
Denver, CO 80209

Category: Music Venues

Region: South Denver

Details

Mike Marchant Benefit Series, featuring Safe Boating Is No Accident, Pink Hawks, Champagne Charlie, Loving Things and more, 8 p.m. Friday, April 12, and Saturday, April 13, 3 Kings Tavern, 60 South Broadway, and hi-dive, 7 South Broadway, $6-$20 (two nights, two venues), 303-777-7352.

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It was no joke. Widowers quickly became one of the most popular bands in the Denver underground, but because of the life demands of its members, Widowers ended up taking an extended hiatus. Marchant became a guitarist in Andy Hamilton's band Houses, which allowed him to focus on having fun just playing in someone else's project rather than contending with the pressure of writing music and fronting a band. Still, he continued to write his own music, and because of its simplicity, he assumed no one would find it interesting. Turns out he was wrong, and he ended up putting together the Outer Space Party Unit, the outfit he was fronting before his cancer diagnosis.

Over the years, Marchant has become a revered figure who's garnered reams of praise, both for his songwriting and for being one of the most engaging local performers. So when he revealed his ailment to the community, people seemed to come out of the proverbial woodwork. Strangers, friends and peers all came together in unexpected numbers with offers of help. It was a parade of goodwill ambassadors that included comedian Gary Burden, Jim Norris of 3 Kings Tavern (himself a benefactor of the scene's kindness after being hospitalized and facing mounting medical bills from a spider bite), and Virgil Dickerson of Suburban Home Records. Marchant is, understandably, taken aback and grateful for this groundswell of support.

"Knowing all those people are in your corner is fucking huge," he concludes. "And it helps me to kick it and be done with it. It makes me want to pass it on to someone else. But I know I will be done with this and ready to help other people out, too. Hopefully, in the meantime, people can be inspired and see someone who has cancer and is in treatment and can still make records and do shows."

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