I woke up today knowing it was going to be a good day. No I was not dreaming about being Ice Cube and yes I did not work today. I woke up this morning with a full agenda in line planned for a busy fun day.
With a few hours before we were to pick Matt up in Lakewood I decided it would be a good idea to walk my dogs to get some energy out of them while my wife went to the gym. My dogs may be little but I am certain that they would be good sled dogs as they dragged me all over my neighborhood. I did not fall once but had a ton of close calls. Gotta love snow covered sidewalks!
Getting home before my wife did I thought it would be a good idea to add some music to the iTunes and delete some that I didn’t listen to any longer. The only problem with this is that I forgot to charge my iPhone (more on that in a bit).
As soon as my wife came home we headed out to a couple of stores and then to Pulp for a healthy lunch. Pulp rules. We shared a smoothie to die for and also a very healthy tuna wrap. It was the perfect little snack.
With time flying we headed to Cleveland to pick up Matt and then cruise over to the Rock Hall. I opted out on taking my camera with me since I know you can not take pictures inside the Rock Hall but I wish I would have reconsidered as Cleveland was very photogenic today. I had my iPhone with me and was able to take a couple of pics but since I was so involved in iTunes in the morning and forgot to charge my iPhone I had a very low battery… Craptastic. I was able to take a couple of photos of our adventure but not nearly as many as I wanted to.
We entered the Rock Hall and took a few hours to admire all the memorabilia inside the unique building. I was most pumped to see the 70’s/80’s punk rock as well as the 90’s grunge/rock collection gallery. Seeing the marionettes from the Alice In Chains “I Stay Away” video was awesome as well as seeing rock art posters of some gigs I actually attended in the 90’s. I can honestly say it was a blast from the past.
One exhibit we spent some time at was the WMMS40th Anniversary Exhibit. Having listened to the Cleveland rock and roll station WMMS while growing up I got a kick out of all the memorabilia that was featured as well as the very entertaining video full of footage of the DJs from the 80’s (anyone know if it is available for purchase?). There were also abundances of fliers, t-shirts, ticket stubs, fan mail, and even a box of WMMS cereal. Yes, there are people out there who hold on to cereal boxes, right Matt?
Now I have been privileged to have been to the Rock Hall a few times in my life and then some. I mean after all I do live near Cleveland, it should be a place I hit up seeing I am a music fanatic right? I also have the pleasure of befriending some great folk. Without these friends I would never have been able to have done some of the things I have done at the Rock Hall.
I have visited the museum previously for the featured exhibits as well as had caught live shows the Rock Hall threw. I had VIP access (thanks to a wonderful friend) to the 2002 Scene Awards and hung out with Lo Fidelity Allstars outside the service entrance afterwards on a picnic table. I even caught a Q&A with Marky Ramone a few years back, that was amazing. So what happened next was unexpected as I thought I had done everything possible at the Rock Hall.
As we entered the final portion of the museum, the Marty Stuart collection (click HERE for pics courtesy of the Rock Hall) we passed the Alan Freed Studio, a Sirius Radio studio used by DJs for coast to coast broadcast. I have peered into the windows of the studio before wishing I could be in there to get a better look. While looking in the window I see out of the corner of my eye Matt waving at the DJ and the DJ waving back.
All I could think in my head was “WTF”?
Now Matt is what I like to call a very friendly guy unless it is 2am in Maryland and he is having trouble ordering a cheeseburger from Sheetz (I love you Matt, haha). The DJ walks to the door to say hi to Matt and invites us in. Looks like one of my wishes came true. Turns out that unknowingly Matt happened to be good friends with the mystery DJ.
The DJ introduced herself to my wife and I as Dusty Street, the host of Sirius Radio’s Classic Vinylradio program. Having heard that channel many times I knew of her. Now what I did not realize was that she is a pretty big deal in the radio world. She was hilarious and made my day just hanging out with her while she did her thing. I could not help but think to myself how many rock stars sat in the very same seats my wife and I sat in. We said our goodbyes and continued our tour.
After a successful visit to the Rock Hall we headed out to Lakewood to grab some good eats at Melt. Have you ever been to Melt? Well if you love bread and cheese (and beer for all you drinkers out there), Melt is one of the greatest little restaurants in the Cleveland area. Think gourmet grilled cheese sandwich. My wife ordered a grilled PB&J sandwich of sorts while I had a crab cake grilled cheese. Matt had some meat sandwich of sorts. He strives on trying something different each time. The sandwiches were huge and delicious and mine is currently still lingering in my stomach…
Our pal who I now call RADam met up with us as he works down the street from Melt. We paid our tab and ventured down the street to the sweet smelling, never crowded, Exchange (no we could not ever fire you the day after J-Day). After finding nothing we headed next door to Phoenix Coffee where we wrapped up our evening with some hot beverages. Our conversations were vulgar and classic at the same time. The barista was extremely entertaining and the idea of four friends just hanging out laughing and having a good time was the best way to enjoy life.
It was good day, hell, it was a GREAT day. No use for an A.K. and plenty of memories thanks to good times and great friends. This was the perfect way to start out 2009.
As soon as I got home I could not help myself but to watch this video:
So I am a little late on this post… I have been so busy with work and just life in general and have not had a moment to sit down until this now.
A couple Saturday’s back I was invited to check out Filter at Cleveland’s Hard Rock Café thanks to Big Machine Media. Little did I know, I was invited to a more intimate setting with proceeds being donated to the Cleveland Food Bank. It was also the world famous rock n’ roll restaurant’s ten year anniversary since it first opened it’s doors in Cleveland.
Just a quick note and tip for that matter… If you want a free Rolex, all you need to do is work at the Hard Rock Café for ten years. It’s no joke; a bunch of hard working employees were recognized for their decade of service before the show with an expensive timepiece. Just before the show started, a handful of dedicated workers at the Hard Rock Café were all presented with a fancy Rolex. It was nice to see such an award/thank you handed out, but who am I kidding…on with the show!!!
With the venue usually operating as a restaurant, it was no surprise that there was not much room for people to gather around the stage. Meeting up with Matt from AddictedToVinyl.com, we chose to stand our ground by the stage with our backs to the security gate that protected the large soundboard. Not the best place to be standing for picture taking, but I did my best to capture the evening.
Opening act Electric Touch from Austin, TX hit the stage for a set that I really was wishing could have been sped up. The rock act, reminding me of all sorts of acts from the Strokes to the Rolling Stones (the lead singer looked like Elijah Wood with Mick Jagger like moves), blew through their songs with high energy but really did not do much for myself or the rest of the crowd for that matter. Even if the lead signer had an English accent and two of the musicians were twins, their pop rock sound did not sit well with many who anticipated Filter. I am sure this will not the the last time I hear about Electric Touch though, with their self titled Electric Touch hitting shelves over the summer the poppy rock act should be gaining some attention…just not mine.
Cleveland’s Filter took to the stage that very well may have been the smallest stage they have ever performed on. That was the least of the industrial/hard rock’s worries though as they delivered an amazing performance to the very lucky crowd opening with “Welcome To The Fold” off of the band’s second release Title of Record. The current line-up all looked great and appeared to be having a great time. Lead signer Richard Patrick was full of smiles and energy that really lead the band through the eleven song set.
My highlight of the evening was when the band broke into “(Can’t You) Trip Like I Do”, a song that was actually created by Filter and electronic music duo The Crystal Method found on Spawn: The Album (1997 Film). I immediately sang along from start to finish is it is one of my favorite tracks by Filter. It sounded amazing live.
It was fun to people watch while the band continued to play. There were lots of fans there who clearly have been fans of Filter during their 13 year career. Having grown up, well most of them, some even brought their kids to the show. At one time Richard Patrick stopped in between songs to ask how old a certain young fan was. She let everyone know via microphone she was only nine years old.
The band continued through their set and performed “Hey Man, Nice Shot” the bands first commercial hit. Everyone sang along to the track pumping their fists in the air. It was indeed a very interactive evening. After the song ended the band left the stage with all, if not every, fan begging for more.
With a brief pause the band returned to the stage for their adoring fans and broke into “The Take” off the band’s 2008 release Anthems for the Damned. From there the band played “Take A Picture”, one of their other mainstream hits. After the last note was struck and the mic was put down, the band gave out sincere thank yous to everyone in the house. With a quick bow and many handshakes and hi-fives the band exited and called it a night.
I admit this was the first time seeing the band live. For some reason I thought I saw Filter live back in the day at a festival in the 90’s but apparently I was wrong (sorry Matt, I have no idea who I was thinking of) I found out after the show by rifling through my huge stack of ticket stubs and then went so far as to research the number of times Filter played Cleveland.
It was a great experience. Minus a couple of folk who clearly had too many pre-game drinks, most of the fans were really excited to be there and, like myself, really enjoyed their Saturday evening. After the show staff from FYE were selling the band’s latest release Anthems for the Damned for twelve bucks.
What I didn’t know was that if you bought a CD, the band would sign it for you. I picked up copy as I had not heard the politically charged album yet and needed something to listen to on the drive home. After making my purchase I was handed the CD and given a wristband and pointed where to stand in line if I wanted my CD signed. Since I was the only person standing there I decided to start the line and get the CD signed. After I chatted with the band briefly I turned around to make way to the parking deck and discovered that the line had grown quite large. Good timing on my part.
Thanks to my music loving guru Matt, who spoke about the show as well on his site AddictedToVinyl.com, I was able to score the entire set list:
Welcome To The Fold
(Can’t You) Trip Like I Do
It’s Gonna Kill Me
So I Quit
Hey Man Nice Shot
Out of all the places I could have been born, I was born in Cleveland, OH. Some may find it difficult or depressing to grow up in a suburb of a dying steel manufacturing city but I myself consider it fortunate. I like where I am from and even though I sometimes wish to live life elsewhere I think, in fact I know, I would miss the city of Cleveland.
Realistically I am admitting that Solon was the city I was born and raised. I grew up in that city and while doing so I saw change. By the year 2000 the population doubled and Solon turned more upper class, a bracket I never fit in. Restaurants and stores were built on land that once housed the city’s first school or marshland. New schools had to be built to house all the children that were brought in to the city. It was change I did not agree with.
One change I dealt with was new neighbors. I watched the forest next to my parents property turn in to a upper class haven full of rude arrogant people I never called neighbors. How arrogant? Let’s just say one of the features of this high rolling development were man made ponds in which one of the new residents saw it as a jet ski racetrack… The successful ass also allowed his kids to destroy my folks property and would frequently dump his yard waste. I never rebelled at him as much as I wanted to but I was happy to hear he had to leave that house for breaking the law. What a jerk.
The good thing about Solon is that I had made amazing friends, many of which I still am friends with today. My neighbors growing up put up with parties my brother and I threw. Growing up was great as a kid but when I turned into a teenager and Dunkin Donuts kicked us out of their parking lot or we wanted to see a show Cleveland was just a short drive away.
Solon was a great city to grow up in. Next to a great school system, there were awesome shops including the one of most missed music shops ever, Disc Den (rip). When I was a kid that was the place to go. Mike at Disc Den ran a great shop but could not afford to move on with sales dropping due to corporately run book stores that sold music as well (yes, I worked there, but in my defense I was a barista!!!).
Important people came from Solon as well. Mike Cartellone, once the drummer of Damn Yankees and now current drummer of Lynyrd Skynyrd, was from Solon and he even played football with me when I was just a little tyke. There were even some pro football players born in the city including Kim Herring who was a few grades above me.
So why did I even mention I am Cleveland and where am I going with this? You might be wondering why I just told you my life story and I know it was not that good so let’s continue…
When you grow up you meet friends and lose friends, it’s a life long process. Luckily my close friends happened to like music and hanging out. As soon as I was old enough I started going to Cleveland to see shows. I can not even tell you how many shows I have been to in my life time but I can tell you most of the most memorable took place in the mid to late 90’s, right about the time when I was a raging punk rocker.
Cleveland has some great music venues. I can write all day about the shows I have seen. Bands that were nothing and are huge now I got to see as they hardly had anyone in the crowd cheering for them. Venues that have shut down or moved to the other side of town, been there.
I really don’t feel like writing about all that right now.
I want to talk about two things that recently happened to me that remind me why I like Cleveland so much:
First off…. The Cleveland Browns. I am a Brownie for life and win or lose will always support the team. I recently witnessed the Browns spank the Giants Monday Night Football style. It was a great experience. Even if almost everyone there was drunk and belligerent well before the game even started it was fun.
My brother and I got a pair of tickets so we decided to truck down early to tailgate. As we made way to the community lot we passed the Great Lakes Science Center and the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame Museum. I got to see Johnny Cash‘s tour bus parked in front of the Rock Hall and after checking to see if it was unlocked (I wanted to go on a joyride) we continued to a parking lot about a mile away from the Cleveland Browns stadium.
Tailgating was a treat alone with some folk starting their partying ritual at 9:00am, almost 12 hours before kick off. By the time my brother and I met up with some friends at the community lot around 6:30pm there were people falling over drunk but smiling on the way down. Everyone was decked out in Browns attire and DJs for a day were doing their best to play requests. Food was being consumed and everytime a brave Giants fan walked past crowds of folk would stop during mid beer bong to point and call that fan an a$$h@le. It was funny to see so many people get into it. It was the first time I engaged in tailgating and it certainly will not be the last.
The game itself was even more insane. Yelling and screaming and more drinking. I can honestly say the Browns have the greatest fans ever. We sat pretty far up but it didn’t matter. All the fans around me, many season ticket holders, were great to cheer along with as the Browns beat the Giants 35 to 14.
Another reason I like Cleveland so much… Last Friday’s trip to meet Derek Hess.
I’ve already interviewed the man himself but this past Friday I had the pleasure of meeting him in person.
Along with my wonderful wife, my friends Matt and Adam joined us to a book store in Tremont, a historic neighborhood just outside of downtown Cleveland. We all went to Visible Voice Books where I get to meet Derek Hess and author Kent Smith who both came together and wrote Please God Save Us. Both gentlemen were very kind and autographed my book that Matt purchased for me (thanks pal!). Kent Smith even asked to get a photo of us all where I look like a complete retard in it (see below for proof)! Once I read the book a few times over I will be sure to post something on here about it. If you are a fan of Derek Hess and wish to venture into his politically charged art, you need this book.
After Visible Voice books we went to nearby Lakewood and had dinner at a local bar. The name escapes me at this time but we dined outside at the patio. Even though it was a tad on the chilly side there were gas powered outdoor heaters that kept us warm.
We all sat around and chatted as we ate our meals. While hanging out, I could not help but think how much I have enjoyed Cleveland all these years. It seems like there is always something to do when you you venture in the city. There is also more still to be done and I know there will be many more trips to that wonderful city.
Like I said I could talk all day about Cleveland but just not today. I am sure other folk from Cleveland can agree it is a hell of a city with a lot to offer.
This was my story, for now. Here’s some other photos I took with my crappy camera (except the 1st, that was taken w/ Kent Smith’s camera):
It’s about time the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame has their induction ceremony in good ol’ Cleveland, Ohio. Seriously, why is it always in NYC when the museum is in Cleveland? It’s about time the rock n’ roll capitol holds one of the most important event of the year!
This year there are a few bands I have enjoyed throughout my life that are being nominated as possible inductees including Metallica, The Stooges, and Run-DMC. Tickets will be made available to the public for the first time ever and you can bet your sweet you-know-what I am going to try and be there.
Five of these nine nominees will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The inductees will be announced in January 2009. Ballots will be sent to more than 500 voters, who will select artists to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the 24th Annual Induction Ceremony on April 4 at historic Public Hall in Cleveland. For the first time, tickets to the ceremony will be made available to the public. Advance ticket sales for the events will be made available to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum members and then to the public.
For more information check out the official Rock Hall press release.