My Guitar Hero!

Mark Eskenazi hits the road with the Mooney Suzuki

Most students know about Harvard’s resident alt-rocker, Rivers Cuomo ’99-’06. But chances are they haven’t heard of another emerging rock star in their midst.

Marc Phillipe Eskenazi ’06-’08 is taking the first steps towards stardom as the new guitarist in alt-rock band The Mooney Suzuki, which has toured with bands like The Hives, The Strokes, and Kings of Leon.

After taking time off from college to tour with his high school band, The Sexy Magazines, Eskenazi recently joined up with The Mooney Suzuki—whose sound he describes as “like The Band... in a soulful, laid back way”—to begin recording their third album.

He got his break with the group when he opened for them at a Maryland show in summer 2004.

“Their bassist kind of had a meltdown on stage, and I so filled in for them,” he explains. Soon Eskenazi was touring with the group in Japan, Germany, Great Britain, and even on the Craig Kilborn Show, as a permanent member.

“In Japan and the UK they absolutely love rock n’ roll,” he says. “On stage you do one guitar hero move and they just lose it, and that’s the way it’s supposed to be.”

“It was insane,” he says of the tour. “I remember being in a place called Japan, but I didn’t know if I was actually in Japan.”

This winter, Harvard has taken a backseat to Eskenazi’s nascent rockstardom. He has been bussing it to New York each weekend to rehearse new tracks. “He’s only around Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday,” his roommate Magnus Grimeland ’07 reports. “But this is the stuff he loves. He always has way more energy when he gets back.”

But moving up in the music world may require pushing back his academic plans.

“I will eventually graduate,” he says. “But if I really want to be a musician, I’ve got to go with the opportunities that arrive.”

Still, despite all his success Eskenazi remains humble. “I wouldn’t call myself a rock star,” he says, “but you can if you want.”