Violent Femmes Post Part 2 -Gordan Gano’s Gospel Side Project – The Mercy Seat

I honor of being picked up by the aggregator here’s my second post of the day and part 2 of the Violent Femmes Gospel adventure. As I said in that original Iris Dement Gospel post Gordan Gano of the Violent Femmes joined a Gospel band called The Mercy Seat and recorded one fine record with them in 1987 on Slash Reocrds. It featured Zena Von Heppinstall on lead vocals and Gordan on guitar and vocals. It is a very uplifting record unlike the more dour Gospel record the Violent Femmes put out, Hallowed Ground.

There’s not much info anywhere about this release but it was and is a favorite of mine. I believe it would only be available today used on vinyl. If you ever see it at a garage/estate sale snatch it up. Here’s some cuts off the self-titled and only release by The Mercy Seat. To download right click and change the file name to whatever you want and add .mp3 (any problems please leave a comment)

Let Me Ride/Soul On Right

Don’t Forget About Me/I Don’t Need

PS I copied these from vinyl and song 1 merged with song 2 and song 3 with song 4. But they’re all great and stick with “Don’t Forget About Me” until it really kicks in.

10 Responses to “Violent Femmes Post Part 2 -Gordan Gano’s Gospel Side Project – The Mercy Seat”

  1. guanoboy says:

    I had no idea…

    how strange…I know so little about Gordon, i guess…i never would have suspected he was a gospel fan….

  2. Skatelip says:

    I absolutely love this album (and lament the relative lack of information about it.) In 1989, during an economically thin period in my life, I sold a large stack of my records (including The Mercy Seat) to a local shop in AZ so I could, you know, eat. I received a whopping $2 each for them and went grocery shopping. By the time I arrived back at my apartment, I was overwhelmed by my stupidity and raced back to the shop to correct my error. The clerk was happy to return the album to me – for $4. I still think it was worth every penny.

  3. moxiebean says:

    I remember seeing them play at a small club in Baltimore in 1987. Zena Von Heppinstall’s grandmother was there (I think as her chaperone) – she sat in a chair at the side of the stage. Great band. Great album. I wish it had been more than just a one-off side project.

  4. schiff says:

    Hi there,
    You might like to know that The Mercyseat was a name of the mental hospital in Samuel Beckett’s first published novel titled “Murphy”. The entire name of the institution was The Magdalen Mental Mercyseat.
    The stuff kicks without this piece of info, though.

  5. BAKslider says:


    For a nice live recording of the Mercy Seat, you can access the archives of my old alternative radio program. Click on music – at the bottom of the page. Enjoy.

    Greg Forest

  6. Anonymous says:

    in fact Gordon used to attend a gospel church every Sunday. He was/is a gospel christian punk rocker extraordinaire. Zena von Heppinstall is an avid christian and her mother (not grandmother) used to play the tambourine in The Mercy Seat.

  7. David says:

    Craig, apologies that this comment is two years late. Any chance you’ll ever re-post these mp3s? As a Femmes fan since the late ’80s (your profile indicates we’re the same age), I’ve half-heartedly looked for this LP for 15 years. Not that I’d pay high eBay prices for it – but it’s always been a bit of a holy grail for me. Thanks for the great content!

  8. Anonymous says:

    I’m in the same situation. I videotaped the Mercy Seat in Boston at the Rathskeller in Kenmore Square. You are right, Zena and her grandmother sat on stage while Gordon tore it up. I wish I had that video now…

  9. Jane says:

    Wonder if you could make those songs available for download again? I wasn’t able to rename them or play them. The Mercy Seat ruled!!! Let the church roll on!!!

  10. [...] you still want more, search down Gordan Gano’s one-off Gospel project called The Mercy Seat (here) and his single solo record. Once you’re done with all that you’ll understand why many [...]