“The Rose is without an explanation; She blooms, because She blooms”. – Angelus Silesius
Although hailing from Akron, Ohio, In Fear of Roses was a main fixture on the Cleveland music scene in the mid 1980s to early 1990s. The band, Ernie Smith (rhythm guitars/vocals, Tracy Ramer (lead guitar), Bob Szeles (drums & percussion), Gerard Dominick (bass) and Georgi Hudson Smith (keyboards/vocals) brought a powerful new wave and world sound blend to Northeast Ohio. IFOR released one cassette, an EP titled Relation Shifts which was recorded in the home of Tin Huey’s Mark Price aka Bushflow Recording Studios and released in 1985. Additionally, they released a full length vinyl LP, Beat the Drum, on Herb Jackson Records in 1988. For the remainder of their existence, IFOR appeared on several compilations including Another Listen Is In Order (1989), The Killer Blow (1990), Clearing The Air (1991), Cleveland Music Group CDs 1 & 2 (1992) and both volumes of Northcoast Buzzard Tracks (1991 & 1993). The band received much support from Jim Clevo who managed them for a period of time and IFOR played a number of cool and high profile gigs including opening for the Gin Blossoms at Kent State University. In Fear of Roses definitely brought a new wave vibe (think Talking Heads) to the scene but with a little dirt and growl courtesy of Ernie’s vocals, the tight rhythm section of Dominick and Szeles, and Tracy Ramer’s ferocious lead guitar. When the band turned the lead vocal mike over to Georgi Smith, her smooth voice, eerily reminiscent of fellow Akronite, Chrissie Hynde, took the band a little towards the pop side.
A couple of things to check out after taking a listen to Beat the Drum (linked above) – here’s a video posted on Vimeo of In Fear of Roses recording “Living In A Movie World” in the studio. The video was posted by none other than Ernie Smith himself who is the owner of Skelly Films, an award winning, independent film group based in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. He recently shot a video for “Mercy Marie,” the first single off of the new Jehova Waitresses album, Route 5. Go check out the other cool films and photos from Ernie.