One of my favorite books is “Rock N’ Roll And The Cleveland Connection” by Deanna R. Adams. Published in 2002 by the Kent State University Press, at over 600 pages it is THE definitive account of the Cleveland music scene from the 1950s through the end of the 20th century. I am the proud owner of a copy autographed by the author a few years ago after a presentation on the history of local music at the Twinsburg Public Library. If you are a hardcore fan of any era of the Northcoast music scene, it really is a must read, but especially if you want a brief introduction to the period that this blog and project will cover. Deanna highlights several of the most prominent bands that existed at some point between 1985 to the early 2000s including The Adults, Breaker, Shok Paris, Death of Samantha, New Salem Witch Hunters, Hostile Amish, Jehova Waitresses and Odd Girl Out.
For the most part, my intention is to not spend much time on ground already covered by Deanna’s book with the exception of Jehova Waitresses and Odd Girl Out (two of my favs of the 90s so I’m calling author’s prerogative). Instead, the starting point for this project is twofold. The first strategy is to focus on many of the bands and artists featured on the Jim Clevo Presentations and Cleveland Music Group compilations CDs released from 1987 through 1997. While there were a number of other compilations of Cleveland music released in the late 80s and 90s, I am fortunate to have all of the JCP and CMG releases in my collection as well as many of the LPs, cassettes and CDs released by a number of those bands. This means (hopefully) some really great artists and bands that didn’t have the prominence that the bands Deanna wrote about did will get their place in the sun here.
The second strategy relies on a modern resource. Thanks to the power of social media, I have been able to reconnect with many of the musicians I know, admire and consider friends from those fun days. I hope many of them will be willing to sit down with me and tell their stories as well as put me in contact with other musicians from that time in order for me to develop an even more accurate and detailed history. I’m sure that adhering to both of these strategies will take me down several rabbit holes, but then again, that’s what’s fun about projects like this – you can write the beginning without exactly knowing where you’ll stick the landing. As always, if you are reading this and have a suggestion or something to contribute, please feel free to email me with it at firstname.lastname@example.org.