The Martyrs are a Portland, Oregon based rock band that was formed in July, 2007 by Mick Arrell and Jonny Roe.
Arrell and Roe were old high school friends for years before forming The Martyrs together, each involved in their own separate band projects. In June 2007, Roe was kicked out of his former project (another Portland group “The Hugs”, who are still playing) for stealing the headlining band’s guitars while overly intoxicated at Dante’s, a popular club in Portland. Arrell’s former project, entitled “Even in Paradise”, fizzled out due to tensions within the band. Arrell contacted Roe about starting a blues/rock oriented project, and the two began to meet together regularly, recording cuts on a 10 dollar computer microphone that Arrell had bought years prior.
After setting up a myspace page on which to share the recordings with local musicians and potential band mates, Arrell and Roe recruited fellow Portland musicians Corey Distler and Michael Wood (Arrell had pre existing friendships with both).
The Martyrs gigged heavily in their first year and a half, often devoting more time to playing shows than practicing or working on new material. As time progressed, Roe’s depression and drug/alcohol problems began to wear down on him and the rest of the band. His guitar playing suffered, he missed rehearsals and was generally looked upon with much concern by the people around him. In January ‘09, he quit the band in the middle of a set, seemingly for no reason at all. Tragically, he died less than 1 month later of a heroin overdose at the age of 22.
Local guitarist Noah Kite was brought in as a replacement immediately after Roe’s departure. After playing several memorial gigs in honor of their fallen friend and band mate, The Martyrs recorded their debut EP “Redemption Hall” in Spring ’09. They have since broken out of the blues/rock confinement that was their beginning, leaning more into hard rock and pop rock as of late. They continue to gig vigorously and spread their message, hoping the road ahead is smoother than the road behind them.