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: