Category Archives: Overlooked in Ohio

Overlooked in Ohio Vol. 6: Belreve

Editor’s note: “Overlooked in Ohio” is a feature in which we ask an Ohio-based artist/music enthusiast to tell us about a band or bands from the state of Ohio (past or present) that deserve some love. Our sixth installment comes courtesy of Nick Schuld — resurrecter of Datapanik, player in Obviouslies and unearther of various Ohio treasures over at Minimum Tillage Farming. Nick has been here too long and is now insane.


Photos by Jay Brown; copyright 2010 jfotoman

MP3: Assorted tracks from Cowtown EP, 45s, etc. (mediafire archive courtesy Minimum Tillage Farming)
MP3: Walk

A little while before I moved to Columbus in the summer of 1988 I discovered the glorious phenomenon that is the used record shop, so one of the first things I did when I got here was to scan the yellow pages for all the locals. At the time, cds still seemed neat and lotsa previously hard-to-find (for me at least, in small-town Virginia) stuff was showing up on that most durable of physical formats (*ahem*), so I took my giant Bekins box of tapes to Used Kids and wandered upstairs soon after with loot in hand to “little Mag’s” – the relatively short-lived cousin of the still-thriving shop now calling the Short North home – since Used Kids was still strictly analog. (Well, maybe they had a few discs in a magazine rack by the door – but they woulda prolly been a little to the current/good/hip/obscure side of the Misfits and Lemonheads ones I was jazzed about.) Little Mag’s was cool, trafficked mostly in t-shirts, and closed pretty soon after.

Fortunately this fate didn’t befall Used Kids (tho’ I did buy a t-shirt there once), and in the following months I started going down to the shop whenever I could find a ride or felt sufficiently over-enthusiastic enough to ride my skateboard from the suburbs and back. One day I bought a My Bloody Valentine tape and the guy behind the counter mentioned how good the upcoming show at the Ohio Union Ballroom was gonna be. I think I averted my eyes and barely mumble-nodded in agreement on my way out the door – for I was not always the obnoxiously assertive lug you all now recognize – but after the show I grabbed the fellow and yelled over the ringing in my ears how indeed it WAS quite the revelation. He grinned and said the last song was on their best record and had I heard it? I said no and he said he’d tape it for me; thus, my introduction to the illustrious Ron House. Continue reading

Overlooked in Ohio: Vol 5 (Prisonshake)

Editor’s note: “Overlooked in Ohio” is a feature in which we ask an Ohio-based artist/music enthusiast to tell us about a band or bands from the state of Ohio (past or present) that deserve some love. Our fifth installment comes courtesy of Eric Davidson — New Bomb Turks singer, rock scribe and now real-deal author. His new book We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988-2001 is out now. He’ll read from it in Columbus at the Wexner Center on July 9, the night before the Turks take the stage with the Gibson Bros (featured in the book) at the Parking Lot Blowout. (Full Davidson bio at bottom.)

MP3: Prisonshake – It’s A Ron Kinda World (1991, from 7″ on Estrus; original lineup)

MP3: Prisonshake – Irene (1993, from The Roaring Third)

Now I dig that this section of the Donewaiting landscape is meant to extol the virtues of a criminally forgotten Ohio-based band. So to quickly hit that aim, Prisonshake were great, and you should find their records. I just spent two years of my life digging up info on and extolling the virtues of something like 80-90 “forgotten” bands for my just-released first book, We Never Learn: The Gunk Punk Undergut, 1988-2001. Though it’s a hefty tome (350+ pages), there was still TONS of stuff that I had to cut out, and that sadly included a section featuring Prisonshake, but more pointedly Prisonshake and Scat Records leader, Robert Griffin (above).

In the late 1980s, I saw Griffin sling his guitar with Prisonshake a few times before walking into my Parmatown Mall coffee shop job one day and finding him hired as my manager. This ruled, as over the course of a summer, Griffin proceeded to school me on Ethiopian blends and the Easter Monkeys. With two mixtapes (that I still have) and numerous conversations, I got a grad class in Cleveland ugh-rock history. Prisonshake created some of the better records in Clevo underground rock history, which is definitely saying something. But Griffin also went on to release loads of cool records through his label Scat, including introducing the world to Guided By Voices. As such, here’s a portion of my book that got cut (well, a wee little made it into the tome), with Griffin giving a feral dog’s eye view of Cleveland, OH gutter rock, circa late 1970s-90s:
Continue reading

Overlooked in Ohio: Vol. 4 (Kevyn and the Kasualties)

Editor’s note: “Overlooked in Ohio” is a feature in which we ask an Ohio-based artist/music enthusiast to tell us about a band or bands from the state of Ohio (past or present) that deserve some love. Our fourth installment comes courtesy of Ron House, a guy you likely already know from Great Plains, Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments and/or his most recent band, Sandwich (currently recording). Or from his days at Used Kids. Read on for his reflections on Kevyn and the Kasualties.

MP3: Kevyn and the Kasualties – Holy Trinity

Kevyn and the Kasualties‘ first LP is ambivalent even before you put it on: one side is labeled “Punk?” and the other is “Pop?” Pathology on vinyl is always better with a crack rhythm section and Kevyn had Nudge Squidfish and Rudy Krash n Burn (not real names heh heh). They went on to form V3 after this release which shows that at least Jim Shepard was listening to this confused, heartrending, and ass-kicking LP. Like more than a few post-punkers in the mid-eighties, Kevyn was torn between Hardcore’s demand for manly toughness and Alternative’s feeble plea for originality. Four songs on the punk side are disquisitions on his aesthetics; as he sings in-the-pocket punk in his nasally midwest Johnny Thunders style all he can sing about is punk. Injustice for Kevyn struck home only where his music was. “Let’s Kill R-N-R.” “Screw FM.” For a man determined to be “Drunk Loud and Obnoxious” there is something almost polite and modest in his ambitions. Continue reading

Overlooked in Ohio: Vol. 3 (Greenhorn)

Editor’s note: “Overlooked in Ohio” is a feature in which we ask an Ohio-based artist/music enthusiast to tell us about a few bands (past or present) from the state of Ohio that deserve some love. Our third installment comes courtesy of Bela Koe-Krompecher, a staple of the Columbus rock scene and head of the soon-to-be-revived Anyway Records — former home of Gaunt, The New Bomb Turks and countless other “important” Columbus bands, including this volume’s subject, Greenhorn. …This is a long one, but do yourself a big favor and read the whole thing… (All photos by Jay Brown.)

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MP3: Unreleased Greenhorn album (courtesy Minimum Tillage Farming, who also has two others here)

In 1990 there was a force in Columbus that shook the walls and very foundation of such hallowed halls as Stache’s and Bernie’s. While it may be the easiest assumption to think that this force was The New Bomb Turks, Gaunt or the Thomas Jefferson Slave Apartments (who were all sharpening their guttural and whiny blasts of intellectual yet primordial rage to be unleashed on an unsuspecting public), none of them could hold a candle to the utter force of Greenhorn. Consisting of two sets of brothers out of the ashes of the first Datapanik band, Two Hour Trip, Greenhorn was Midwestern to the core, but they inflicted an audio assault that ranks with the best of American rock and roll.

The Columbus music community gathered around Greenhorn like ants around a dropped sucker. Everybody loved them — the punks, the junkies, the feminists (riot grrls?), indie-rockers and even the college crowd. There was nothing ironic or tongue-in-cheek about the music nor the lyrics. In fact, primary songwriter Dan Spurgeon was not afraid to let his emotions hang on his sleeve, and many of his songs consisted of paeans of love to his future (and ex-) wife. As any good-minded record geek knows, being this upfront and exposed in music is a dangerous and daunting task, especially for a male songwriter. Chan Marshall may be able to do it, but you’d be hard-pressed to believe Steve Malkmus could ever do it with a straight face, let alone Ron House.

Part of the effect of Greenhorn was the sheer potency of the Greenhorn live show; these fuckers stacked the back of the stage with a wall of Marshall amps. From floor to ceiling, the rhythm section consisted of Pat (drums) and Steve (bass) McGann, two intelligent, good-old boys with handsome boyish charm that flooded the stage with exuberance whenever they played. Steve had an intrinsic “I-dare-you” attitude that he wore on his bass, playing this out by removing two of his bass strings — the musical equivalent of “we don’t need any stinking badges!” Dan sang and played rhythm guitar while his older and shirtless brother Mark played lead, adding snaky leads over Dan’s simple yet vigorous songs.

(Keep reading for more on Greenhorn from Bela. Seriously. Do it.) Continue reading

Overlooked in Ohio: Vol. 2 (Gibson Bros.)

Editor’s note: “Overlooked in Ohio” is a feature in which we ask an Ohio-based artist or music enthusiast to tell us about a few bands (past or present) from the state of Ohio that deserve some love. Our second installment comes courtesy of Mark Wyatt, former member of seminal Columbus band Great Plains and One Riot One Ranger; these days you’ll find him singing behind the keyboard with The Beatdowns and Columbus Power Squadron. Here are Mark’s reflections on and recollections of the Gibson Brothers.

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MP3: The Gibson Brothers – Big Pine Boogie off the 1987 cassette The Gibson Bros. Build a Raft (via Minimum Tillage Farming)

Jeez, where do I begin with these guys? At the beginning, I suppose. My brother Matt and I first met the eventual “lead” guitarist of the Gibbies, Don Howland, at a Ramones show in Cincinnati in the late 70′s; he was hawking his fanzine Shake It! to the folks in line (don’t hold me to that title…confirming it would require me to dig into my basement “archives”), we got to talking, realized we were fairly kindred spirits, and started a friendship which continues to this day. A friendship, I might add, that even endured him being a founding member of Great Plains, despite the fact that he didn’t like the band well enough to even use his real name on the first record.

I already knew Dan Dow (the GB’s acoustic rhythm guitarist) from Mole’s Records, although the guy always played it so close to the vest that it’s hard to say I really *knew* him… I can’t recall when I met front man “Country Jeff” Evans or minimalist drummer Ellen Hoover, but I suspect it was when Jeff moved in with my next-door neighbor, the aforementioned Mr. Dow. I used to see Jeff coming back from the South Drive-In flea market on summer Saturday mornings, more often than not carrying some bizarre old amp or guitar, and I’d see Ellen and Jeff coming back from dates in one of Jeff’s two ancient Cadillacs, the choice of which depended on which one was actually running at the time.

So, seeing as how they were all friends and/or neighbors, of course I checked out this Gibson Brothers thing when they first played out.

(Keep reading for more album art and words from Mark) Continue reading

Overlooked in Ohio

Editor’s note: “Overlooked in Ohio” is a new feature in which we ask an Ohio-based artist, music enthusiast, etc. to tell us about a few bands (past or present) from the state of Ohio that deserve some love. Our first installment comes courtesy of Jerry Dannemiller, guitarist/singer in Moviola and director of marketing and communications at the Wexner Center in Columbus. (Not to mention a past contributor to NPR, Magnet and a host of other publications.)

blank_schatzBlank Schatz; photo by Jay Brown

Blank Schatz (Findlay, Ohio, early 1980s): When punk rock was still something weird and foreign and only happened in big cities, the brothers Butler were kicking out the jams in my hometown of Findlay like it was the Lower East Side. I saw them only a couple times in high school and then in Columbus opening for the likes of Live Skull and (a very early) Flaming Lips. Musically, they fell somewhere in the neighborhood of Die Kruezen or a more earnest Black Flag. It hasn’t aged all that incredibly well, but back then, in the desolate environs of northwest Ohio, it was music to my green ears.

wolverton_brothersWolverton Brothers

Wolverton Brothers (Cincinnati, late 80s, still active): My admiration for the Wolvertons—as people and as artists—knows no bounds, if you haven’t heard them, you would do yourself well to scrounge up any of their six records. Part Anglo-80s skronk-surf, Beefheart-ish mushmouth, and high-speed boom-chicka-boom, Tim, Billy, Todd, and Jay are the rarest of entities: raw, unaffected by trend, and original to a fault.

Keep reading for more. Continue reading