20 years ago I worked for the Cleveland Indians video department. The late, great photographer Ron Kuntz shot this at the old Municipal Stadium, the photo would end up on GameDay magazine.
Ron passed away earlier this month, here is an article from the NPPA
Queen Of Hell [band 9] is: Morte Treehorn, Matt Clement, Ed Stephens and Adam Spektor. QOH practice this evening was held at ‘The Hooded Tomb Of Doom’ AKA: Morte’s basement. The week prior, Morte had converted a dark quarter of his basement into a pimped out practice space, complete with Japanese screens flanking the hot water heater, bamboo shades covering the walls, oriental throw-rugs on the ground and strategically placed fog-machine and lights,.
After the other band mates arrived, they all spent a few minutes to apply their makeup and don their robes/cloaks. Once the band assumed their positions, Ed was briefed on a few changes that were made the week previous during the practice he missed and soon, the Queens of Hell were rocking the Febreze bottle off the washer.
Morte takes care of most the lead vocals and had written some rich image inducing lyrics that were all neatly typed out on several sheets of paper. Adam shares lead guitar and vocals with Morte and described his vocals as sort of a sludged-out Bryan Ferry but Adams leads sounded to me, closer to Freddie Mercury, or at least in delivery. Ed was on a bass that had recently been customized, that guitar has a great sound, Ed undoubtedly had something to do with that. Matt Clement is another veteran of Lottery League, It has been a while since I’ve seen him on drums and forgot how well he is on them.
Queen Of Hell is another band that I’m looking forward to with their 8:15 performance at The Cleveland Agora. The audio on my video below came out better than usual considering the cement basement, the rug and curtains that Morte had hung, happened to make a difference, having the mics properly wired never hurts, either.
The photos are here.
..And You Will Gnome Us By The Trail Of Bread [band 41] consists of Steve Lull, Shelley Grossman, Alyse Peterson and Graham Beck. Though i forgot to ask the band about how they came up with their name, it’s undoubtedly a take on that band from Washington.
Earlier this month, I couldn’t make it to a practice the band had at the Spitfire but by chance, I happened to be at the right place, right time for their Space Rock practice behind the blue door. This room is at the front of the building and the windows overlook Waterloo Avenue, it also appeared larger than the other practice rooms.
This evening, ‘Gnome Us’ had Steve on lead guitar, Alyse on bass, Shelly had lead vocals + keyboards and Graham is the drummer. The bands practice was all business or it could of been that they had a friend [Marc] there recording each song, either way, their attention to detail was evident in the sound.
The vocals in the video below are not very audible. I’m curious how that audio recording came out. Photos are here.
Douglas Adams Family [the band was named on Douglas Adams 61st birthday] FKA band 42, is made up of; Ryan Yankee, Lisa Ellis, James O’Malley and Bryn Speidel. DAF had their practice at ‘Space Rock’, the practice space provided by the courtesy of [one of] the Leagues sponsors: Northeast Shores Development Corporation. This was the first time that I attended a practice here, though Cindy Barber was kind enough to give me a tour of the building, last month. The practice spaces are above the “Space: Rock Gallery”, which is on the ground floor of the storefront building on Waterloo Avenue, just a few strides down from the Beachland Ballroom. The gallery features rock photography and currently has work by Anastasia Pantsios, Karen Novak and Maura Robinson. The gallery plans to feature Cleveland area photographers, if you’re in the area, you should do yourself a favor and stop by, the grand opening is targeted for April and the art space is another great addition to the neighborhood.
The Douglas Adams Family has Ryan handling bass and keyboards. Lisa is on rhythm guitar, James plays lead and Bryn is on drums. I was told that each member shares on the vocals but they were only with one mic for this practice.
The band had a problem with that one mic and the vocals are pretty much nonexistent in the video I have below, That problem should be resolved by the time they take the stage for their ‘headlining’ slot of 1:15am at The Euclid Agora on April 13th. My still shots are here.
E=MCfunk [band 31] consists of Peter ‘Salt Peters’ Woodward, Ted ‘Theodore Wigs Null, the Younger’ Flynn, John ‘Professor Void’ Cunningham and Ashante ‘AK Decline’ Allison. After going through their ten minute set at their practice space located in a Parma basement, Peter asked me if any other Lottery League bands are performing a Funk set. I believe he meant this current year but I had to think for a moment till i was able go out on a limb and say, of all the [100+] bands that have been created in Lottery League that E=MCfunk is the first band that has a full set devoted to Funk. I did no research for that conclusion and I’m relying on memory, so I could be wrong.
Peter has performed in rock and punk bands but it’s probably safe to say that he hasn’t fronted a Funk band, he pulls off just that while playing bass on 3 or 4 strings of a six string guitar that sounded convincingly like a bass guitar. Ted was playing guitar with a slide, Tony was on keyboards and Ashante was manning the drums.
I’m not very knowledgeable about the Funk music genre but it sounded that E=MCfunk, gleamed most of their influence from listening to soundtracks of 70’s porn movies. With that said, it’s apparent that E=MCfunk has put some thought into their sound and I’m anticipating their midnight slot at The Eucld Agora, the night of the ‘Big Show’.
The videos below were shot in a small room while I managed to stay out of the way. This was a practice and Peter mentioned that they still lack a lil ‘pop’ [paraphrasing]. I was entertained but you be the judge. My photos are here.
Payback From Wayback [band 10] consists of; Nick Riley, Ellsworth Turner, Dave Molnar + Craig Chojnicki. The PFW sound is probably best described as three part rock and roll, one part soul and a dash of punk. The band has a tendency to go all three directions at once, sometimes unintentionally and I believe that’s their strength. Strong vocals by Ellsworth can go from rock-anthem falsetto to blue-eye-soul in a matter of several drum beats that Nick guides. Craig s seventies drenched acid-sermon that he described to me as “spoken-word”, comes from out of nowhere as does Dave’s uptempo riff that brings the set back to where it began.
The practice that I sat in on last week seemed partially improvised as the band still experiments with their sound but I thought their sound has a real good feel to it and I felt better when I left than when I arrived. Or that could just be the four flights of stairs that I didn’t have to ascend.
The video below has the band going through six minutes of their eleven minute set, photos are here.
The Lottery League Bowling night was held at Madison Square Lanes last Thursday night. This event is where each of the 42 bands select their time slot and stage they will perform at the Big Show and will be held at the Cleveland Agora on April 13th. Bowling night is also the halfway point of the season, not surprisingly there was a large turnout and unlike previous seasons, each band was represented with at least one member if not a few.
Former LL member [Ghandi SS] and Melt Bar and Grilled proprietor, Matt Fish, catered the event gratis, with sandwiches, chili, fries and various casseroles. The bowling was also free, courtesy of Madison Lanes.
The last band the hopper chose was ‘Payback From Wayback’, they’ll be the next band I feature, after sitting in on their practice last week. Hopefully that will be posted within the next couple days. My photos of the bowling night are here.
I shot a bunch of pics at the Lottery League Bowling Night. Here are seven.
La Rascasse [band 8] are Meredith Pangrace, Matthew Chasney, Michael Nassif + Felipe Amunategui. There are worse places than a Boathouse on the shores of Lake Erie to have your band practice, especially when its nearly 70 degrees with a southern breeze blowing lightly out over the icy lake. That slight breeze acted as a shield from the frigid icy waters affecting the comfortable temperature on shore and created a slight distraction to everyone including myself to hang out on the deck overlooking the lake and contemplate the melting waters.
The weather also brightened everyone’s mood and made for a fun practice. La Rascasse was working on a pop song at the beginning of the practice that had Meredith singing lead and playing a sweet sounding Ukulele. Michael was on keyboard and adding some vocals, Matt was on drums and Felipe was playing lead guitar. LR spent a good portion of this remaining practice creating a couple songs that Matt referred to as ‘Gypsy’ but were more in the style of Tex-Mex flavored Surf-Lounge-Polka. Meredith played the Accordion with Felipe strumming sort of a Tex-Mex infused riff while Michael improvises a Lounge inspired chant. The end result was a couple two minute toe tappers. Felipe mentioned that they were aiming for five short songs to make up their ten minute set at the Big-Show.
The video below has one of the “Gypsy” songs the band was creating, Michael was singing improvised lyrics that sounded pretty sweet for a one take. The Boathouse was ideal to shoot with all the natural light, since the weather was so awesome I asked the band if they could pose for some band photos, those and the practice pics are here.
The Dirty Connotations [band 32] are; Ryan Kearney, Sarah Paul, Jeff Curtis and Ken Blaze. The band practices in a small upstairs room above the Spitfire. I was present for the third band practice and the four were going over three songs that sounded nearly complete. TDC are the first band I’ve sat in on that utilizes two bassists [Jeff + Ken], that sound more in the vein of The Fall than Sunn O))), Primus or Cleveland’s Megachurch. At first listen I thought a guitarist may have been using an octave-pedal or maybe a baritone guitar until I realized that there was actually two bassists, Either way, this gives the band a darker sound and works real nicely for them. Sarah takes the lead on most of the vocals and FX pedals though Ken and Jeff compliment her vocals on a couple songs. Ryan rounds-out the group with clean percussion work, I’m not sure if Ryan has ever performed with a punk band before but seems a natural with the ‘Connotations.
The two videos I have below were shot in a small, dark room with other bands jamming in adjacent rooms, therefore the audio and video is dim and noisy. My still shots are here.
Dinosaur Throat [band #33] is Jonette Thomas, Shawn Mishak, Lizzy Baine and Adam Gravatt The band practices in a west-side basement that is reminiscent of Santa’s workshop, the wood-working tools alone would make Bob Vila salivate DT has been making good progress after just a few practices, with at least three songs written and the roles of each band-mate figured out. DT has a versatile lineup, one song will have Adam on drums, Shawn on guitar + vocals, Jonette on bass and Lizzie on guitar, another song may have Jonette on drums, Shawn on keyboard and Adam on guitar + vocals. Each member takes a part on vocals, either harmonizing or singing lead. Lizzie plays trumpet on a song, though she didn’t have it with her this evening.
I have two videos below, the first one [Alexanders Terrible, Horrible, Very Bad Day] was practiced the most in the two hours I was there, the second is a minute snippet of another that they were getting into before I departed. The practice photos are here.
JCGD [Jean-Claude God-damn], FKA Band 21 was holding their second practice at what is known as the Davenport Space, in Lakewood Ohio. When I first arrived, the band was waiting on Tom to return from running out to get his bass amp. While he was gone, Mike Cormier told this great story of him deciding to go to SXSW even though his band-mates can’t make the trip. Long story short, Mike related to us how he asked his teenage son and his buddy to fill out the band and road-trip it down to Texas and perform before thousands at SXSW. I don’t recall the name of the band Mike was referring to, but if I was an MTV executive, I’d be pitching Mike’s story as a reality show.
Anyways, JCGD spent most of their time I was there, working out the progression of a song by building off a riff that Dave had brought with him. When I left an hour later, the song was pretty much finished, I have a one minute video below of one of the many takes of the said [unnamed] song.
JCGD is Mike Cormier - Vocals, Tom Pivovar - Guitar, Dave Straub - Bass, Pugsley - Drums https://www.facebook.com/JeanClaudeGoddamn
Photos are here.
Henri + Frankie chase a laser light as Wanda looks on.
I mentioned during the draft that I was looking forward to band #25, now known as ‘The Vanman’. A good deal of the anticipation rests on the fact that Josh Banazak and Mike Roderman, whom both have fronted rock/punk bands and have been friends for some time that one would figure that they would of been together in one of many former projects. Bassist Matt Taha and Nick Perry on drums, adds a decisive tempo to the lineup.
The first thing I noticed about The Vanman practice was the fast pace. Very little dialogue not concerning the song or riff that they were working on was heard. Part of this may have been due to their practice space that lies near the mouth of the Cuyahoga, was without heat [a situation that I’m not unfamiliar with].
This was the second practice for The Vanman and a good portion of it was rehearsing a song called ‘Foglight’, over and over. I have a video at the bottom of this post that captured one of the many rough takes of Foghorn, that The Vanman was working on. Mikes vocals are barely discernible on the video but the cohesiveness of the band was evident as the four has begun to coalesce
Photos of The Vanman practice are here.