Alana Mercer personality profile

10.15 Chica Boom Boom
Chica Boom Boom opening up for Andrew W.K. at The Pyramid Cabaret.  October 15, 2015

Smoke creeps across the stage and into the energetic crowd as Joanne Rodriguez and Alana Mercer begin their set at The Pyramid Cabaret. Mercer sits behind her 4-piece silver drum kit sporting a black Taylor Swift t-shirt. Her stark red hair pokes out from underneath a black and white trucker hat.

The two-piece band Chica Boom Boom is opening up for American singer-songwriter and hard-core partier Andrew W.K.

“I think I’ve had a crush on that man for 17 years. When he played here last, he said hello to me in the middle of a song and tried to get me to sing a long. I was just like ‘EEEEEEE, oh my god’,” Mercer laughs.

Rodriguez and Mercer have known each other for ten years. They played in a doo-wop band called The Angry Dragons and an Alice Cooper cover band, Muscle Love. In 2013 the pair formed Chica Boom Boom: a gritty in-your-face rock and roll band. Since then, they have recorded two music videos with local filmmaker Gwen Trutnau and are working with Exchange District Studios to release an album.

“For our first video, we took one of the back seats out of Joanne’s van and shot inside of it. Gwen styled it so fucking wicked. There was a Hello Kitty hookah pipe with an inverted cross on it. It was beautiful,” says Mercer.

But the creative process is slow going because of their busy schedules. While Mercer, 32, manages the pizza side of Nicolino’s Italian Restaurant full time, Rodriguez, 40, runs Rogue Tattoo, her own body modification shop on Corydon Ave. Mercer has burn scars all along her arms that reflect the hard work she does.

When they do get the time to practice, they try being as creative as possible. “We’re not jammers who spend four hours on a riff. We play a piece and we sit on it like an egg,” says Mercer.

“We only write hits. We don’t write anything shitty,” Rodriguez says with a smile.

Mercer lights up a joint and takes a swig from a bottle of Ballantine’s. “I used to depend on smoking pot or getting drunk to write stuff when I was really young, but then I realized that’s kind of bullshit. If I can’t do it when I’m sober then I can’t do it at all,” says Mercer. “I want to know I’m working hard and it’s not just drunken chance that I wrote a good riff.”

When Mercer was 20 years old, she left Vancouver with her savings and the plan of going across Canada city to city and stopping where she liked it best. When she got to Winnipeg, she fell in love with the people and music scene.

“In Winnipeg there is this whole range of people that play music together, who are super supportive. Trying to get into the scene in Vancouver was impossible, you felt so intimidated,” says Mercer.

It’s through the music community that Mercer met her boyfriend of seven years, Karl Warkentin. The couple recorded together for the soundtrack to the short film “Polar Express” along with several other members of the Winnipeg metal community.

“She’s helped me appreciate music from a different perspective. Listening to it without bias. Good music is good music, and fuck off otherwise,” says Warkentin.

Mercer draws inspiration from Dolly Parton to Venom, and local bands such as Solanum, Archagathus, and Sphagnum.

“I don’t think I could ever move away from this city, I love how fucked up everyone is here. No one is normal. It’s the best. ”

Live music photography

I hear a lot of people complain about how boring and crappy Winnipeg is, but I personally don’t agree. Yeah, maybe it’s cold in the winter and the transit system sucks, but we have such a diverse and active music community here. Not to mention there are some really great promoters who use money out of their own pockets to bring bands from out of town.

I’m primarily interested in the metal/punk scene. These are just a few shots I’ve taken over the years.

06.24 Anders
Anders from Flash Out at Negative Space. June 2012
06.24 Cory
Cory from Flash Out at Negative Space. June 2012
12.01 Leather Rebel 1
Sam and Nolan from Leather Rebel at The Windsor Hotel. December 2012
04.08 Doom 2
DOOM playing for an enthusiastic crowd at Negative Space. April 2013
04.08 Doom
DOOM at Negative Space. April 2013
08.23 Dark Breakfast 2
Dark Breakfast playing in the forest at Foul Copse. August 2013

If you want to stay on top of the shows happening in Winnipeg, I highly suggest checking out Manitoba Music’s live music calendar. They also have a killer search function that helps you narrow down events by genre and location.

Nature photography

I find it so relaxing to spend time outdoors and admire the beauty that exists on our planet. It’s a great privilege to live in Canada and own a camera to capture and share these pictures.

I hope you have a peaceful night.

August 2011
Full moon lighting up clouds below outside of Winnipeg, MB. August 2011
January 2012
A cotton candy sunset in Winnipeg, MB. January 2012
Ontario Fox
A red fox cub on the side of highway in Ontario. July 2011
February 2012
Hoarfrost taking over trees on a cold morning in Winnipeg, MB. February 2012
Sunset 1790 Portage
A comforting summer sunset in Winnipeg, MB. September 2011
Perrault Falls.jpg
Perrault Lake reflecting the moon’s light in Perrault Falls, ON. July 2011
Vancouver 2010
A kill of crows in Vancouver, BC. November 2010