Category Archives: Got Local?

Interview: The Northeast Ohio Rock ‘n’ Roller Girls

It’s been a while since I have done an interview here on BHP but I thought I would make it up all you readers out there by creating a super interview.  I have been wanting to do this for a while now and thank the fine women who make up the Northeast Ohio Rock ‘n’ Roller Girls.

Seeing women of all shapes and sizes skate as a pack on a oval track is indeed something that everyone needs to see.  With music playing, announcers calling out the match, and the fans cheering their team the bout is just as entertaining as any other sport out there.

Just in case you have no clue what I am talking about, I speak of roller derby.  Specifically women’s indoor flat track.

If you have not heard of roller derby you are missing out.  Maybe you live under a rock or just don’t get out much but roller derby is a pretty big deal.  Don’t agree?  Check it out live at least once, I promise you will think differently.

Not only do the girls skate their hearts out all season long but they also get involved with charity and local organizations.  Honestly, out of all of the sporting events I have been to in my life I have never seen the wholeheartedness that is seen during a roller derby bout.  When you go to a match you are also going to a fundraiser of sorts with the money collected from the raffle tickets and beer sales sold by the roller derby grils during and after the bouts.

Last October I attended a roller derby match at the Summit County Fairgrounds.  The bout was between the Northeast Ohio Rock ‘n’ Roller Girls and the Buffalo, NY Assault City Roller Girls.  Along with a nice sized crowd, I cheered the home team on to a victory.  It was actually the final bout of the season so not only was it a pretty important win for the team but also a start to a well deserved break.

For those of you who do not think roller derby is a sport you really need to reconsider.  The girls wear helmets just like football players do, elbow and knee pads like pro skaterboarders wear, and mouth guards (do you see what I am going here?).  To top that,  their playing grounds are flat concrete surfaces where they compete to score points by pushing, blocking, and shoving the opposing team.

I watched girls fall hard on to the concrete that night only for them to get back up and jump back in the game.  A couple of them took falls so hard I don’t think I would have gotten up myself but they were in it to win it and brushed themselves off and jumped back in the game.  It was an exciting event with the fans going crazy and both teams trying their hardest for a win.  When all was said and done the final whistle was blown and the Rock n Roller Girls finished their final bout of the year with a victory.

So who are these girls?  Some are moms and wives, some are students, and many carry successful full time jobs.  They are people just like us and they do not hide their secret of roller derby status like they belong in Fight Club.  They are good people with families and friends with their own lives outside of the rink.

Regardless of what their day gig is or how they live their lives, they all are part of a sport where practice is mandatory and teamwork is key.  When the team comes together they become their own supportive family not only helping one another but also helping the community.

Recently I had the privilege to get some questions answered by a slew of the wonderful girls of the Northeast Ohio Rock & Roller Girls as well as a couple of their referees.  Instead of interviewing one team member I decided to interview as many as I could.  Be prepared, this is a long read…

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Got Local? – Cleveland’s Unsparing Sea

So indie rock is cool right?  Well I think so…  What about folk music?  That seems to be hitting the ears of many as of late.  Now imagine an indie folk rock band or a folk indie band that rocks or how about a rock folk indie band.  Yes this has been covered before but there is something about Cleveland’s Unsparing Sea that really hits me when I think of indie rock mixed with folk music.  Recently the band released their sophomore album entitled In The Diamond Caverns, an album full of a mix of both genres of music that was ever so tasteful to my ears.

Opening track “Sandpaper/Sadpaper” started off the CD as if one was entering the world of dreamland with inviting harps and hypnotizing cello playing temping you for a taste of what was going to come.  Originally I thought of this song as an intro but after the slightest pause the song jumped into this orgy of music with plucking and blowing (banjos and horns you perverts).

Maybe it’s the way lead singer J.R. sang along with the cello and saw (yes, saw) in “Wolves At A Wedding” but my attention perked up a tad.  The song is beautiful yet gloomy and is the kind of song someone can either profess their love to someone or devise a planned Dexter-like attack to the unsuspecting villain.  The song actually premiered on the band’s previous EP In The Crystal Canyon.

“The Diamond Caverns” is a less gloomy track and carry lyrics speaking of a savior left to be determined.  I absolutely loved the combination of the drumming and strings midway through the song.  “Sleight Of Hand” carried a more lullaby sound that continued the attractive cello with what sounded like an upright bass being gently plucked.

My choice cut on the album without a doubt is “Sing Devil Sing” as it really brought out the twang with banjo playing but kept an indie sound vocally but then out of nowhere came this Spanish trumpet playing that just brought the song together perfectly. Ryan Kelly’s drumming really makes “Fires, Attics, Etc.” a lively track to listen to.  The song is perhaps the most upbeat on the album and clearly shows this band has many sides of emotion.

Granted I had only been treated to a sample of tracks off of The Crystal Canyon I can tell you I am hooked and want more.  I was lucky enough to catch Unsparing Sea play the Music Saves 5 Year Store-A-Versary a few months back and was floored by their live performance.  It was my very first taste of a talented local act truly unique to neighboring bands.  If things go my way there might be a copy of the CD in my stocking on Jesus Day morning.

Better yet the band is scheduled to play a show on Dec. 23rd at the Beachland Ballroom‘s Yulesville Pre-Holiday Bash!  The show starts at 9pm and there is going to be a slew of bands there including Unsparing Sea.  Looks to be a fun time. Having seen Unsparing Sea live before I can tell you they are an act not to be missed.

If you are interested in purchasing this awesome Cleveland band’s material you should head over to their website.

DOWNLOAD THIS! – Unsparing Sea – “Sing Devil Sing”
DOWNLOAD THIS! – Unsparing Sea – ‘Diamond Caverns”

What?  You want more?  No problem: