Posts Tagged ‘Orrville Ohio’

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‘Big Time’ Rock N Roll In A Small Town Pt. 2

August 6, 2012

Back in the 1960’s Wayne County, Ohio was your typical Midwestern rural/farming community. Amish buggies dotted the outlying areas (and even in the towns & cities.. And still do!). And you wouldn’t think a mellow-appearing rural-type county would have many, if any, rock & roll culture back then, but it did, especially the Wooster & Orrville communities.

Back in the 60’s Orrville hosted various sock hops and dances with local bands, and on occasion bigger named bands like Terry Knight & The Pack came to town, usually before or after an Upbeat TV Show taping in Cleveland. In 1979 Kim Simmonds’s Savoy Brown performed at Wayne County Speedway.

But Wooster, Ohio, the county seat of Wayne County, was at times a hotbed of live appearances during the 60’s and into the 1980’s. With plenty of local bands springing up in the wake of Beatlemania in the area, like JD and the Malibus, The Streys, Me & The Guys, The Repercussions, Spoonjobs, Olivers, Blue Steel, Blue Prynts as well as bands from neighboring counties like the Es-Shades from Ashland and Music Explosion from Mansfield.

                       The Spoonjobs, a band from Wooster, OH

Those bands, and others, brought the teenagers in to local venues, like school gyms, the Wooster Armory and the YMCA. But bigger named regional and national acts performed during the 60’s at both the YMCA and Wooster Armory. Bands like the Amboy Dukes with Ted Nugent, the James Gang with Joe Walsh, Glass Harp, The Outsiders, Terry Knight & The Pack, Damnation of Adam Blessing and the Bob Seger System, among others.

                                    Amboy Dukes w/ Ted Nugent

(Club 42, The Ranch (El Rancho Grande) in Wooster, The Dugout in Ashland, and the Mixer in Bucyrus were other venues that local & regional bands performed at.)

                                                        James Gang

Once the 70’s hit the powers that be at the College of Wooster loosened up and started bringing in national acts open to the public. I was able to catch a couple of these and the performances and venues on-campus like the Timken Gym & Lowry Center were outstanding. I can recall Vanilla Fudge playing there and a little later on Sly & The Family Stone, Spirit (saw that one!), Styx (saw that one, too) and Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express during the early years of the 70’s.

Brian Auger’s Oblivion Express

I remember wanting to see Emerson, Lake & Palmer (with opening act Dr. Hook & The Medicine Show) on April 9, 1972 but the Old Man dragged the family to Colorado just in time to miss it. However, as I later discovered the next several months or so of listening to more of their music, I never could get myself to get into ELP. Still can’t. Also passed on the Charlie Daniels Band.


One College of Wooster show I caught, at the last minute and thanks to my cousin Sue, was Ike & Tina Turner and the Ikettes on June 30, 1972. Between the band, Tina and the Ikettes, it made up for missing out on Sly & The Family Stone.


On May 13, 1974, the Beach Boys played and a friend talked me into going with dates. Went expecting to be bored, but it was a pretty good show and they were on.

My cousin got a handful of tickets for the November 3, 1974 Souther-Hillman-Furay concert. She wanted to see them because Richie Furay had just left Poco, a band we saw at the Akron Civic Theatre. Was surprised when on stage was former Derek & The Dominoes member Jim Gordon and Al Perkins and Paul Harris were in Stephan Stills’ Manassas. Livingston Taylor was the support act.

                                          Souther – Hillman – Furay

In February 1980 the Michael Stanley band, on top in northeast Ohio and surrounding regions, played at the College of Wooster’s Timken Gym to a jam packed crowd and a roof-raising performance. My kid sister, who was there, brought it up in conversation just a few days ago. The last show I attended
was David Johansen on April 22, 1983. Ronald Koal & The Trillionaires were the support act.

In the late 70’s the Wooster Theatre, originally known as the Lyric Theatre,  became the Schine’s Theater and renamed Wooster Theatre under the Shrine chain. After closing it sat dormant for a considerable length of time before local investors Henry & Chell Bishop purchased the property in 1976 put Henry Bishop in the Manager’s position.

Bishop managed to give it a facelift by renovating the restrooms, main offices, improved lighting, carpeting, painting and other improved amenities. Bishop, who also held down a full time job at White Jewelry, began showing films, offering $1 movie nights. The Bishop’s closed won the theatre in 1981 due to declining attenance but the following year leased it to Alice Schafrath who reinvented the theatre as the Theatrical Lounge and eventually brought in live entertainment, not the least of which were appearances by nationally known acts.

Theatrical Lounge

With a bar installed the Theatrical Lounge began offering a variety of entertainment, with local & regional bands like The Godz, White Horse, McGuffy Lane, Norman Nardini & The Tigers,  Link, Raising Cain, country performer Lacy J. Dalton, Diamondback,  the Chippendale’s and, of all things, Caesar The Bear, a wrestling bear that would take on all locals for a potential cash prize. One of the top names brought in was Nazareth. It eventually closed in 1988 and in 1999 the building was demolished.

You can read ‘Big Time’ Rock N Roll In A Small Town Pt.1 by clicking HERE.

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OHIO BAND ‘TAKEN IN VAIN’ EXPLODING

March 27, 2012

A young band that are making waves and creating a rapidly expanding fan base have exploded onto the music scene. Taken In Vain, a metal band consisting of members from Orrville and Smithville, Ohio are well on their way with interest and concert and club appearances.
 
Taken In Vain was formed in 2010 and by 2011 settled into the current solid line-up of Andrew Diehl, 24, on rhythm guitar; Chase Christie, 18, on lead guitar; David Wilson, 21, on vocals and Kameron Jenkins, 17, on drums.
 
Since that time they are amassing concert and club appearances, have released an original song online and are currently working on an EP release and booking more appearances. They have also begun to issue band merchandise and have two new T-Shirts available.
 
So how would one categorize Taken In Vain’s music? “Loud, aggressive, dark, melodic, heavy, fast, intricate, harmonized,” explained David Wilson, lead vocalist. “With so many sub-genres out there, we find it hard to identify, so we just call it metal. We draw influences from all over the place in the rock and metal world and beyond.”
 
“Although some of us listen to and play much heavier stuff sometimes, you’ll typically hear us range all the way from acoustic rock to thrash metal, industrial to metalcore. In a live setting, we’re still establishing our niche but like our music, we’re loud, aggressive, and in your face. Most of all, we just want to get everyone moving and having a good time!”

The band’s first professional gig was at the MXTP venue in Grand Rapids, MI that was met with great success. “The show went phenomenally,” commented David Wilson, lead vocalist. “We were very tight and even had natural stage presence according to those in attendance.” Since then they’ve played elsewhere, including Lakewood, OH and are currently booking upcoming concerts and appearances.
 
Some of their upcoming appearances include Saturday April 7 beginning at 7:00 PM at the Lamplighters Social Club in Wooster, OH. Appearing with Taken In Vain will be Demi Darkhart & the Beast of Bailey Downs, Worth The Wait, The World Inside of Me, A Filthee Sound and more. Advance tickets are available at $12.00, $15.00 at the door.
 
Other upcoming appearances will be Friday April 13 at the Orbit Room in Grand Rapids, MI at 6:00 PM. Appearing with Taken In Vain will be STRUC/TURES , Lakeland, Eyes of Anthea, Divided They Fall, Oceans Over Earth and Hand of Uziel. Tickets are $10.00 in advance and $15.00 at the door.

On Friday June 22 Taken In Vain will be performing at Peabody’s in Cleveland, OH starting at 6:00 PM. Also appearing will be Modern Day Escape, Dr. Acula, From Atlantis and other bands to be announced. Tickets are $10.00 advance and $12.00 day of show.
 
Advance tickets for these shows are available through the band’s website.
 
The band currently has one song available online, “Self-Destruct” that can be downloaded for only $.50 from the band’s online music store at: http://takeninvain.bandcamp.com “We also have video footage of that song and four others from our January 14th performance at MXTP in Grand Rapids,” said Wilson.
 
The band is currently in negotiations for several other appearances in Ohio and Michigan and a ‘Mini-Tour’ is a possibility being worked on. For bookings, to order advance tickets and to stay up-to-date on Taken In Vain’s activities, upcoming gigs, merchandise and recordings visit their website at: www.takeninvain.com

(c)2012 Doc Lehman/Bangagong!

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THE VISITORS ARE ‘….Just Visiting’

October 29, 2011

A new recently released CD by north central Ohio band The Visitors has made people stand up and take notice. Titled ‘…Just Visiting’, it’s another first class effort from a band that first began releasing recordings back in 1987. That debut was well received due to the fact that two of the songs placed second and fifth in the Cleveland Songwriters Guild. With ‘….Just Visiting’ the band, a collaborative musical project headed up by two long time seasoned pros Chris Conway and Ed ‘Eddie Mars’ Marthey, the duo and musical partners have served up another hot dish of musical delights.
 
The new recording offers a reworked and updated version of Marthey’s potent Philosophy 101 and a bevy of all new material that includes collaborations with such luminaries as Jon David, Ben Parris, Tony Tristano and Rufus Johnson. The new CD also features covers from jazz legends Jaco Pastorius and Billy Cobham. 
 
The Visitors include, aside from the aforementioned Conway & Marthey, Ben Powers, Chris Edwards, Jon David, Ben Parris, Matt Corey, Rod Reisman, Jim Richley, Dan Murphy and Patrick Wagner.
 
You can’t nail this talented band down by one specific genre, you’d have to classify them as Rock, Pop, Jazz & Funk.
 
“I’m am very satisfied with the musicianship, the writing, production, and overall sound of the album,” commented Conway, who plays Bass (electric & acoustic), Guitar (electric & acoustic), Vocals, Drum Sequencing & Midi. He is also a Producer and Engineer for Hit Machine Studio in Orrville, Ohio. “There are more than 20 very talented artists from Canton, Akron, Cleveland, Youngstown, and Rochester, New York.  Some of them are recording artists and national performers in their own right.  I would especially like to send a shout out to producer, drummer, and keyboardist Ben Parris of Nemesis Records/Maskaraid Group.”

Keyboardist Ed Marthey concurs with Conway’s assessment. “I am actually surprised at how the new CD came out,” offered Marthey. “There are world class performances by musicians more than good enough to be making a living at it. The recording quality is top-flight too. It was recorded in a room the size of a postage stamp, but sounds like we rented Caribou for six months.”
 
Conway was also quick to point out Marthey’s invaluable aid in the project. “Ed has considerable contributions to the album,” stated Conway. “He wrote one of the songs, Philosophy 101, and played keyboards on several other songs.  His contribution was crucial to the finished product.”

Marthey also gave Conway high marks. The two have known each other nearly their whole lives and have played together at various times over the course of four decades. “Chris is an amazing talent, and we work together well,” Marthey flatly stated. “We started recording together in 1985. Our process involves a lot of back-and-forth interaction, and by that I mean arguing. I think it’s because our tastes differ so much that we write such good music.”
 
The Visitors’ new CD, ‘…Just Visiting’ are available at Contax, by calling 330-682-1156, Facebook messaging, or emailing Conway (chrisconway@orrvilletax.com)      .  Also digital downloads are available on Amazon, iTunes, Rhapsody, Napster and several others.
 
On another front, The Visitors will be playing an annual gig in November that Conway has been instrumental in for 15 years, the annual Concert & Jam Session in Orrville, OH featuring The Visitors along with The Usual Suspects & the Josh Snyder Band in concert with an all-out jam session.  For many people this one of the most anticipated music events each year in the north central Ohio region.


“I can’t even describe how excited I am about the concert on the (November) 23rd,” proclaimed Conway. “I’ll have the same basic band that appeared at the Rib Fest plus guest artists, ‘The Unusual Suspects’.  This show has the potential of being one of the best concerts Orrville has ever seen.”
 
“Anyone who has been to one of our Party/Jams will say that it’s something they look forward to all year- it’s the perfect mix of carry-in dinner, wild party, and live, local, kickass music, both prepared & otherwise,” enthused Marthey. “Linda & Lohn Kraft and Chris & Theresa Conway have been organizing these for about 15 years, and they’ve been held at the Sportsmans’ Club, the Orrville VFW and at private residences. We even threw one at the Apple Creek legion, at Jamie’s & my wedding reception.”
 
So what can those attending expect that night? “Expect a powerhouse 11-piece band playing some of the greatest music from the 70’s, 80’s, and select favorites off of the new CD,” responded Conway. “There will be dancing and amazing musical talent for those who just like to listen.  And let’s not forget the talents of the Josh Snyder Band.”


“People attending the party/jam can expect excellent food, a crowd of their friends, two bands that will cause damage to the bedrock beneath the VFW, and bunches of special guests,” revealed Marthey. “The Visitors will rock almost the same lineup we had for the Orrville Rib & Music Fest, but with a song list almost twice as big & funky. Too, anyone who hasn’t heard the new Josh Snyder Band CD will be pleasantly surprised by the development of this truly great band. I think they have big things in their future.”

“One other person who should be mentioned as a tireless contributor to all the Party/Jams so far is sound engineer Jim Snyder- he also ran sound for the 35 OHS reunion,” stated Marthey. “The boy good.”
 
Marthey also had an invitation to extend. “Musicians, bring your axes!” stated Marthey. “After the sets by us & JSB, we will be opening up the stage to players. Bring your ‘A’ game y’all!”
 
The Visitors/Josh Snyder Band concert will be held on Wednesday November 23 at the Veterans of Foreign Wars located at 430 W. Market Street in Orrville, OH. Tickets are only $10.00 each and available by contacting Contax (www.orrvilletax.com), or on-site at Gary’s Drive Thru, Mrs. J’s and Crown Investments.

For more info visit:

CHRIS CONWAY

ED (EDDIE MARS) MARTHEY

JOSH SNYDER BAND

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UPCOMING ‘EDDIE MARS’ GIGS

In addition to Chris Conway & The Visitors, Ed Marthey also plays in the bands Liquid Sky and Outlaws I & I as well as solo gigs. Here is Marthey’s upcoming schedule of gigs:
 
November 3……. Montavino’s – Wooster, OH……………Solo
November 11….. The Mix – Cleveland Hts., OH …………Outlaws I & I
November 12 …. Montavino’s – Wooster, OH ……………Solo
November 18 …. Wing Warehouse – Cleveland, OH ….. Outlaws I & I
November 23 …. Orrville VFW – Orrville, OH …………… The Visitors
November 26 …. Grog Shop – Cleveland, OH …………… Outlaws I & I

Outlaws I & IOUTLAWS I & I

(c)2011 Doc Lehman

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EDDIE MARS: Ohio 70’s Bands

May 16, 2011

BACK TO THE FUTURE: EDDIE MARS RETURNS HOME

By DOC LEHMAN

NOTE: Click on thumbnails to enlarge!

So here’s the scenario. You grow up in the rock ‘n roll era of the 1960’s & 1970’s with ‘the gift’, a gift of musical talent and you utilize that gift, that passion to become a professional musician, a dream that many had during that time period when everyone wanted to be a rock star. And now, today, all these years later, 35 years later to be exact, not only are you still a working professional but after immersing yourself in all the musical programs offered during your high school years of the 70’s, you are about to return to play for your former classmates. Such is the case of keyboardist Ed ‘Eddie Mars’ Marthey of the small town of Orrville, OH, known far and wide for Smucker’s jelly and (in)famous basketball coach Bobby Knight.

Marthey, a seasoned pro who’s pretty much seen and done it all, is going to do what more than one has thought about over the years, bring his band, Liquid Sky, to play for his former classmates for the 35th class reunion, in this case the Orrville High School (OHS) Class of 1976’s 35th reunion that will be held September 16-17 this year.

Ed Marthey hammering the keys in high school.

“I am totally psyched about playing our reunion,” stated Ed Marthey recently, one of Orrville’s successful and highly talented musical sons. “Playing gigs are about the only thing in this world that don’t make me anxious. I don’t get stage fright. The scariest parts of any club show for me are A) the restroom, and B) getting paid at the end of the night. This is not just another gig, but I have so much confidence in these guys’ ability to rock a place inside-out, playing the gig is the least of my worries.”

Having attended high school with Marthey and watching him perform, especially back in the days of the 70’s and 80’s, it’s always been clear that he has the knowledge, talent and aptitude for all things musicial. His tastes in music, even back then, were varied. He has a true appreciation and vast knowledge for the art. Even back in the 60’s and 70’s I knew that Orrville had produced a lot of many talented musicians, several who went on to become professionals like Ron Jarvis, Jack Schantz, Randy Coole, Marthey and others. Must be something in the water, or maybe in the jelly!

When the 35th Orrville High School Class of 1976 Reunion committee starting planning the reunion for later on this year it was decided that instead of pre-programmed music the reunion should feature what we all grew up with, namely live music. Attending rock concerts and buying albums and 8-Track tapes was the norm back then. Live music flourished then whether it meant attending concerts in Akron, Canton andClevelandto the high school gym to local watering holes and other rented venues. I remember attending more than one concert in farmer’s fields!

Ed "Alice Bowie' Marthey

So it was decided that a live band would be appropriate. After all, we grew up with live music so, at this stage of our lives we might as well rock it one more time before all the rocking we do is in rocking chairs!

And if you’re going to hire a band to play, why not hire a professional one that features a member of your own graduating class? Hence, Liquid Sky, Marthey’s current band based in Akron will be spotlighted at the reunion in September. It seems appropriate.

Liquid Sky is a group of five very talented men who have crafted a show which has something for everyone, particularly those who want to rock. The band specializes in music that most other rock-n-roll bands don’t usually play while keeping it highly danceable. In short, they are rock without apology.

“It feels good!” exclaimed keyboardist Ed Marthey of Liquid Sky, of the prospect of playing in front of his former classmates. “I really think our class will have the funnest reunion ever. We’re the rock ‘n roll generation, the kids today are still listening to music from our time! And we’re playing it and not just the songs every cover band plays, but because of the combined talents of these musicians we can perform songs that will totally rock the joint to smithereens.”

Ed Marthey during his CONTRABAND days

Liquid Sky consists of Marthey, Ben Powers, Brad Johnson, Bruce Lindamood and Chip Maggio.

“This is the most talented bunch of guys I’ve ever worked with,” continued Marthey. “Our bass player is Ben Powers, who is the current drummer for the P-Funk All Stars (formerly Funkadelic) and our singer, Brad Johnson, amazed everyone at the most recent party/jam at the Sportsmen’s Cabin last November by belting out ‘Over the Hills & Far Away’ and ‘The Ocean’ by Led Zeppelin. This band started out as a Dream Theater tribute band, then began to learn big nasty rock songs from the ’70s & ’80s. We do some Yes, some Journey, a bunch of Zeppelin, some Genesis,Styx, Floyd, Rush, Foreigner, Golden Earring, Living Colour.”

“Regarding live music versus someone’s ipod loaded with bubblegum and country, there will be no comparison. I’ve missed some reunions because I knew there would be taped music and probably music that I hate. I’m hoping everyone in our class still alive will show up and groove with us, because I truly believe that this will be our best reunion ever!”

During high school Marthey played and participated in all the musicial entities offered by the school, learning musical technique, theory and exploring the musical worlds of not only rock ‘n roll but classical music, jazz, the list goes on. His tastes are wide and varied and he knows what he likes. And doesn’t. And he has never been afraid to express his opinions.

He may not remember but I can recall once telling him about the virtues of one of my all time favorite bands, Mott The Hoople back then, and Ian Hunter when he went solo after Mott split. Marthey would have none of that as I recall him stating they were average at best. I was shocked and dismayed! Marthey liked bands like Yes, I liked Mott The Hoople. But even though they still remain one of my all time favorites, one couldn’t help but respect what Marthey had to say because he had the training, knowledge and gift of being able to play music. Any type of music.

Ed Marthey (far left) & Roger 'Mouse' Greegor laying it down

Other than fiddling around with a bass guitar and being in a short-lived rock band called the Poorboys (with a tip of the hat to John Fogerty) in junior high at John R.Lea Intermediate School, the only musical talent I have ever had was playing a jukebox. And try finding one of those these days!

“Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Keith Emerson, Rick Wakeman, Bob Dylan, Jimi Hendricks,” were the names Marthey offered when asked who had inspired him outside of high school. He was also quick to point out the fellow musicians, his peers, who inspired him in high school.  “Jack Schantz, Chris Conway, Mouse Greegor, Randy Coole.”

Marthey also retains many special memories of the OHS music programs he was involved in.

“Every year on the last day of summer marching band pracitice, one team of us would grab band director Don Carpenter, walk him up to the pool and throw him in,” recalled Marthey. “While another crack team of commandos would break into his VW van and push it somewhere several blocks away and hide it. One time they wedged it between two trees.”

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“My favorite teacher: the late Perry Hosmer, our jazz band director and teacher of music history and music theory. He inspired generations of OHS musicians with his knowledge, humor & stories. He once played in the Kay Kaiser band in the ’40s.”

Contraband

As was pretty much the case at every high school around the country during the 70’s Marthey was in his share of bands with fellow Orrville and Wayne County musicians, of which there was an enormous talent pool at the time.

“In 1973 I joined Magwich Applebee, a band that practiced on (Bob) Shiflett’s front porch on Crown Hill Road in Orrville,” remembered Marthey. “Bob Shiflett on rhythm guitar, Marty Wilson on drums, Steve Hanna on bass, and Jerry Kirven and a drifter/hippie from out of town named Detroit Buchanan on dual lead guitars, and Johnny Kirvin singing. Oh yeah, Bob Weygant ran around in a sparkly shirt and played tamborine. We played Orr Park after the fireworks in ’73 until about 1:00 AM on the main diamond to a huge crowd.”

“Magwich Applebee was around for a couple years. We played several times at that crazy bar inMassillon, and of course a bunch of parties. I think it broke up when lead guitarist Detroit Buchanan took off drifting again. He had ass-length hair, one pair of holy jeans, and a psychedelically painted Gibson SG with strings so old they were rusty. He was very charismatic and fun to hang out with.”

Contraband

“We also played a few times at Kimpean’s Cafe inMassillon. By that time Billy Hendricks was on drums. I think Billy and I were 16 and they let us drink there. Billy would order about nine kinds of booze in the same glass and one night mid-song he turned around and puked a torrent of red stuff all over our cases. That place was a trip, complete with real prostitutes.”

“I think the next band that actually played gigs was The Winged Spaniel Threat. Later on it became Contraband which that was ’78 – ’79. It was a horn band that did lots of weird stuff like ‘Frankenstein’, ‘Time’ by Floyd, Brian Auger, ‘Earache My Eye’ by Cheech and Chong, ‘I’m The Slime’ by Zappa. We played Columb’s, the Red Baron, Sportsmen’s Cabin, a bunch of parties. Mike Sommers on guitar, Henry Bevins on bass,  Mouse Greegor on drums, Dean Lambert on trumpet, Danny Sauers & Steve Barkey on saxes.”

From then on Marthey was in a succession of bands, nearly everyone remembered to this day by those who appreciated live music.

CONTRABAND in action!

“The next band I was in started in ’79, Transit, with Billy on drums, Phil Dalessandro on guitar, Vinnie Carpenter on bass and the late Dean Lambert on lead vocals,” revealed Marthey. “We played at Columb’s, Wilmot Tavern, bunches of parties. We did Floyd, Hendrix, Tull, Jeff Beck, and a lot of obscure songs by Free, Spooky Tooth, Nils Lofgren. This band actually played Caskey’s for your brother’s birthday party, a B.O.T. production!”

Caskey’s Family Campground & RecreationCenteris where the OHS Class of ’76 35th reunion will take place.

“In ’80 I joined up with Rick Ciconnetti, Matt Chastain, Henry Bevins and a female lead singer whose name i can almost remember, we were called Crossfire,” Marthey continued. “We did Genesis, Yes, Tubes, Police, Lover Boy, Men At Work, and even ‘Blinded By Science’ by Thomas Dolby. We played the Theatrical inWoostera few times, some roadhouse down by Loudonville called something like the Wagon Wheel, parties of course, and some clubs I can’t quite remember!”

“From ’81 – ’83 I managed Groucho’s in Orrville and wasn’t in any bands. In ’84 Ron Jarvis came by the bar one night and mentioned that the reggae band he was in needed a keyboard player. I auditioned a few days later and got the gig. We rehearsed in Bob the Conga Player’s basement in Shaker. I often stayed for days with two of the guys just off Coventry. We decided to call the band First Light, and for the next 14 years it was a full-time job.”

“Carlos Jones, now of the PLUS Band, sang lead and wrote most of the songs, probably upwards of 100 in all. Chopper played guitar & bass; Gino Long played bass & guitar; Bob Caruso on congas & percussion; and Rod Reisman (now with the Prayer Warriors & Outlaws I&I) on drums. At first we had a trumpet player named Steve Maurer, when he left we hired Rob Williams, now of the Afro-Cleveland Orchestra & Ernie Krivda Trio, on saxes & flute.”

With First Light Marthey was living the dream as a musician, playing gigs at high profile establishments all over northeastOhio, going on the road and making recordings.

 

“We played an average of 250 dates a year, mostly on the road,” explained Marthey. “We played from Michigan down toSouth Carolina and over to the East Coast from the Carolinas up toMaine. In Cleveland our home base was Peabody’s in Cleveland Heights and we held the attendance record at Peabody’s DownUnder in the Flats for years. Until we broke it again. We did Tommy’s inRocky River, Quinn’s Live on the extreme east side, Cheers, Hank’s and The Phantasy inLakewood.”

“In the Flats we played Biggie’s The Basement, Fagan’s, Downunder, Splash, the Nautica, Shooters and a lot of colleges. We were big in Bowling Green, Athens, Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton, Ann Arbor, East Lansing, Kalamazoo and so many other places I can’t remember.”

The band also played gigs with some national and internationally known bands and performers. The list is impressive to say the least.

“We opened for The Clash, The Wailers, Eek-A-Mouse, Augustus Pablo, Steel Pulse, Taylor Dayne, Meatloaf, Ziggy Marley, Yellowman,Third World, Aswad, Al Stewart, Donovan, Toots & The Maytals, Burning Spear and others,” said Marthey.

Ed 'Eddie Mars' Marthey

The band also spent considerable time in the studio.

“We did five recordings,” stated Marthey. “A vinyl EP called ‘Musical Uprising’ in ’85, a CD titled ‘Meltdown!’ in ’87. We also recorded and released two cassette albums, ‘The Official Bootleg’ and ‘Live At The Empire. In ’94 we released ‘Groove Telepathy’, which had two songs of mine on it and I designed the cover.”

“We broke up in ’98. During this time I was also writing and performing songs with Chris Conway in the Visitors. We played OrrPark on July 4 a few times, Rehm Pavilion and some other places and parties.”

One of Marthey’s fondest memories of that time was when the band opened for The Clash at Cleveland Public Hall.

Marthey then pursued a solo career as well.

“I began to play solo after that,” said Marthey. “I’d been playing weddings since high school.”

In fact, he played at  my brother’s first wedding.

“I had a regular Saturday night gig at the Clarion River Lodge inCook Forest,Pennsylvaniafor over a year,” continued Marthey. “I also played Woogel’s in Woosterand the Starboard Side in Orrville.”

“I moved to Boulder with my then-wife for six years starting in 2000, right after I recorded my first solo CD, ‘Springtime On Mars’. I played solo, worked in three different bands, and had a job at Kinko’s out there.”

“We moved back here in ’06, and I was immediately beseiged with offers to join bands. I got my solo sets up and running and began playing at the Montavino in Wooster regularly.”

Lost Highway

“Soon after that I joined Lost Highwaywith Chris Conway on bass, Mojo Edwards on guitar, Ben Powers on drums and George Bersch on lead vocals, harp & acoustic. We didn’t play very often because we were all so busy. The last time that band played out was last August (2010) at the Orrville Rib Cookoff.

“When Mojo left the band, Ben said he was in a great prog band that needed keyboards. I joined (Liquid Sky) after one rehearsal. Ben Powers on bass, Bruce Lindamood on guitar, Chip Maggio on drums, and Brad Johnson on lead vocals. We’ve rehearsed for a year and a half, and the crowd at the Tap House loves us. We’re talking with an agent now, with the intent to break into Cleveland & beyond.”

For the past year or two, Marthey has been a busy man on a mission.

“Last winter i got a call from Gino Long, from First Light, with an offer to play with him and Chopper in a reggae/rock band called Outlaws I & I  featuring Butch Buchanan on lead vocals and Spanky Carter on drums,” explained Marthey. “We’ve played clubs all over Cleveland. Recently Spanky left and we put in Rod Reisman of First Light on drums. Recently we did our first show with Rod, and it was so slammin’ I thought the Maple Grove would implode. Our next gig is May 28 at some club inMadisonand May 30 at WhiskeyIsland, the club, not the island!”

Recently Marthey made a musical connection with yet another Orrville talent, a generation younger, but an exceptional talent.

“About three months ago I got a call from Gretchen Pleuss to play in her band,” commented Marthey. “I jumped at the opportunity. She writes her own songs and has a strikingly beautiful voice. We’ve rehearsed twice a week since then , and recorded a demo. We had some bookings, but yesterday Gretchen called a meeting and put the band on hiatus while she figures out what she wants to do in life. She’s 20 and just finished school. Hopefully before too long we’ll take up again. Until then she’s playing solo, with me doing duets with her occasionally.”

“Which brings us right up to today. The Visitors are getting back together, we’ll play the Orr Rib-off an August 12. Chris is releasing a new Visitors recording soon. The first since the cassette album we recorded in ’87. I’m doing the CD cover for that and there is a host of unbelievably good players contributing their talents on it.”

So in addition to the busy schedule of gigs with current band Liquid Sky, Marthey has a full plate of gigs that will keep him busy this year. He joined Liquid Sky a year and a half ago and hasn’t looked back. “Like I said, this is the most talented bunch of guys I’ve ever worked with.”

The Orrville High School Class of 1976 will be holding their 35th Class of ’76 Reunion on September 16-17, 2011. The activities will kick off on Friday evening September 16 at Orrville High School prior to the annual Homecoming Football game for a tailgate party and will continue on Saturday September 17 with an all day and evening gathering at Caskey’s Campground & Recreation Center located northeast of Orrville where OHS Class of ’76 alum Ed Marthey & Liquid Sky will be performing.

For more information on Liquid Sky visit their Facebook page at: LIQUID SKY

For more information on the OHS Class of ’76 35th Reunion visit the reunion website at: OHS Class of ’76 Reunion

NOTE: LIQUID SKY will be performing at Ripper Owens’ The Tap House in Akron on June 11, 2011!

(c) 2011 Bangagong/Doc Lehman

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Power To The People, Baby!

October 22, 2008
We were front page news!

We were front page news!

Seeing that Free John Sinclair Rally poster (below) made me think back to a time in high school when many of us, as the hippie activism days began to wane, would get all worked up over perceived injustices. 36 years ago this month (October 1972) a large group of students at Orrville (Ohio) High School (myself included) got fed up with the strict dress code that was enforced at that time. Girls had to wear dresses or skirts, no pants and certainly no jeans. Boys could not have their hair over their collars. You get the picture.

 

After several of the girls made polite inquires about allowing girls to at least wear pantsuits was denied, one girl, Debbie L., showed up one day in a pair of jeans only to be confronted by the assistant principal. That resulted in Debbie being told by the assistant principal to go home. Word spread quickly throughout the school to all of us ‘hippie-types’ and emotions became heated. At the same time the black kids at the high school wanted a black girl chosen for the homecoming court (believe me, there were plenty of beautiful black girls at OHS then!). Things all came to a head that October day and a walk out (referred to as a ‘riot’ by administrators… it wasn’t) occurred.

 

Between the two issues that bubbled up that day, and with ‘unofficial coordination’ and inspiration by several young ladies at school (like Cindy M., Debbie L., Kay S., Vicky C., and Gail W., primarily) approximately 60 of us walked out of school and staged a protest in the city park next to the high school. Word quickly made it to the Wayne County Joint Vocational School and many of the Orrville students there left school and came back to town and joined us. Even the local media showed up.

We’ll let my pal, Cindy M., (Cid-Mor) explain, as she was one of the ‘ringleaders’ who had the guts to help initiate things:

 

“Debbie L., had worn a pair of blue jeans to school and the assistant principal had pulled Deb’s long hair and told her to go change. Well, the rebels that we were, it pissed us off and staged a ‘riot’. Many of us left the school building and went to the pavilion at the park. I guess the ‘joint’ (Wayne County Joint Vocational School) got wind of it and they left school, too. Pretty soon we had a lot of kids there.”

 

“Well, at that time there was also something else happening at the high school. It was football season and homecoming time. The black kids wanted a black girl on the homecoming court. Well, why not? Seemed it was just a popularity contest as the ‘smart’ rich kids were always on it. Well, they (the black kids) walked out too. In the end we got to wear jeans but they stopped having homecoming after that.”

 

The next day school administrators met and suspended most of us that participated for four days. Eventually the student council and administrators met, read our ‘demands’ and alterations were made to the dress code. Girls could wear jeans and the guys could grow their hair a bit longer. So, thanks to the initial efforts of Cindy M., Debbie L., Kay S., Vicky C., and Gail W., students at OHS got to dress and look like kids everywhere else.

 

The bad part of it was homecoming being cancelled from that point on because school officials feared a ‘race riot’ which was ludicrous because at that time in particular almost all of the black and white kids got along great. Hell, they all grew up together and any issues were usually personality driven, not race driven. Remember, there was still the buzz of peace, love & understanding in the air at that time and we were all ‘brothers and sisters’.

 

As for consequences at home, my parents weren’t too happy but I was never ‘punished’. Caught some hell for a few minutes but that was about it. Cindy M.’s parents never found out at the time. As she explains:

.

“I got up and acted like I went to school along with some buds and one of my friends stayed home and of course in the mail came the suspension notices for our parents. My friend got in my mailbox and got mine before my parents could see it. What a great friend (Kay S.)! My parents never knew until about 10 years ago (laughing)!”

 

By the time I got out of high school four years later I believe I may have had the longest hair in the high school and everyone pretty much wore what we wanted.

In the words of my pal Cindy M: “What a long strange trip it’s been….”

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Favorite Books Of My Youth Pt. 5

October 13, 2008

When word came out that this book, Ian Hunter’s Diary Of A Rock And Roll Star (titled Reflections Of A Rock And Roll Star here in the States), would be published in 1974 I literally haunted books stores, record stores and head shops for several months until I finally came across a copy either at (faulty memory here) Camelot Music in Akron or Arsenic & Old Lace in Akron. I read it several times over the ensuing months and next several years and it took a proud slot in my library at the time.

The book was originally published in 1974 and Ian Hunter chronicles Mott The Hoople’s November-December 1972 tour of the United States right after All The Young Dudes LP was released. It’s an inside look at touring and the rock ‘n roll lifestyle in 1972 and Hunter…ahem…rolls away the stone and leaves everything exposed that entails life on the rock ‘n roll road. It was critically acclaimed.

Unfortunately by the end of the decade it was gone, loaned to an acquaintance to never be seen again despite having loaned it to over a dozen people in the preceding years (Mott The Hoople were big time in Orrville, OH back then, especially from 1972-1975).

But one day in the winter of 1996 the wife and I stopped in Canton, OH at the Quonset Hut store and as I’m walking down an isle of CD’s there in a big display is a reissue (import) of Diary Of A Rock And Roll Star! I had no idea they reissued it but I immediately purchased it! Even today, it is among my other books and is still shrink wrapped! I haven’t even opened it in 12 years!

That is going to change in the next week or so, as soon as I find a spare evening I’m going to open it up and read it once again, for the first time in nearly 30 years. I think I was afraid to peel open the shrink-wrap and read it for fear it would be lost again. But I’m willing to chance it….!
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A Blast From The Past

September 22, 2008

A ‘vintage’ flyer for the rock band SMOKE N ASH, a 70’s rock band based in the Orrville-Canal Fulton, Ohio area. Courtesy Cid-Mor. See the previous entry on SMOKE N ASH for more details on the band.

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