Category Archives: 2010s

Scam bands revisited

animals 1-18-70

In 2014, I spotted the ad above and wrote an entry about the absurdity of it all. It turns out to be a very cool story involving a shady Michigan company, members of ZZ Top and the preying on of innocent rock fans who had no access to the level of information we do today.

Buzzfeed published the whole saga of this bizarre episode in rock history yesterday.  Here’s an excerpt detailing what happened to the fake Animals just about two months after the Youngstown gig:

Backlash from the bands whose identities it had effectively stolen ballooned to the point where Delta could no longer keep up its charade. The beginning of the end came when a fake version of the Animals created by Delta were confronted at a performance by the founder of the actual Animals, Eric Burdon. According to an article in the May 28, 1970, issue of Rolling Stone by Ben Fong-Torres, Burdon had shown up to the show with a baseball bat. Tom Hocott remembers getting a phone call from one of the fake Animals recounting this same story. “Eric Burdon and a bunch of bikers chased them around and threatened them,” he says. Burdon was contacted for this story; his wife Marianna responded with an email saying, “I asked Eric if he has any recollections of the incident you mentioned, but he doesn’t really.”

For more on this amazing tale, read Daniel Ralston’s excellent article:

https://www.buzzfeed.com/danielralston/the-true-story-of-the-fake-zombies-the-strangest-con-in-rock?utm_term=.yx7M29vKx#.hsM8eVjwY

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41 years, 9 months, 30 days

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On Friday it was announced that Kiss would be coming to the Covelli Centre for a show on Aug. 26. If the show goes off as planned, it will mark the first show for the band in Youngstown since Oct. 27, 1974. That will be 41 years, nine months and 30 days since the last show in the city. I don’t know who keeps such records in rock ‘n’ roll, but that has to be in the discussion some sort of record for time between two performances in one city.

Another New York band with just two original members completed a 35-year, one-month and 23-day gap on July 29, 2011 when the New York Dolls did an opening gig for Poison and Motley Crue at the Covelli Centre. The Dolls had previously played Youngstown on June 6, 1976.

The Kiss show will be held one day after Gene Simmons celebrates his 67th birthday. Since Kiss is coming off a show in Toledo on Aug. 24, it’s a high possibility that Gene will be celebrating his birthday in Youngstown or somewhere nearby.

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Dead Boys, speaker salesmen

A 1977 performance by the Dead Boys at CBGBs is being used as the cornerstone of a new commercial spot for Sonos wireless speakers. It’s a short clip of “Sonic Reducer” taken from footage filmed for CBS’s 60 Minutes in the hey-day of punk. The show was later released on DVD as Live at CBGB’s 1977.

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It’s all over now

I headed over to Cedar’s on Wednesday afternoon, January 30th, 2013 to see if the bar was still open. Published reports had it closing today, but it was a ghost town when I showed up. Not sure if it opened later or last night was it, but I saw no real signs of life. RIP Cedar’s at 23 North Hazel, Youngstown, Ohio. You will be missed.

The open light is no longer on at Cedars on Hazel St. in Youngstown.

The OPEN sign is no longer on at Cedar’s on Hazel St. in Youngstown.

The closed Cedar's Cafe and patio area will soon be a memory.

The closed Cedar’s Cafe and patio area will soon be a memory.

The gate to the patio area of Cedar's was wide open on Wednesday afternoon. A few beer bottles and cups were scattered about.

The gate to the patio area of Cedar’s was wide open on Wednesday afternoon. A few beer bottles and cups were scattered about.

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Closing time at Cedar’s

This blog generally deals with things from the past, but tonight it has been revealed that one of Youngstown’s longest standing rock venues will close shortly to make way for a yuppie burger joint and some apartments. Here’s what the Vindy had to report today:

Cedar’s Lounge, the legendary rock’n’roll bar with a reputation that extends beyond the region, is being forced out of the location where it’s been for 37 years.

The new owner of the Gallagher Building, which houses Cedar’s, said Friday that the bar will not be permitted to stay.

“Cedar’s will not stay there,” said Dominic Gatta III. “With all the upgrades [it needs], including a new stairwell, new sanitary, bringing the building up to code and everything else, it does not fit my vision for the building.”

Gatta, who bought the Gallagher building for $192,500 in September, has plans to gut the entire first floor of the building.

The first floor is slated to become a high-end burger restaurant and a separate wine/coffee bar. The second floor will house commercial offices, while the third and fourth will be transformed into apartments.

The good news is the bar’s owners are planning on seeking refuge elsewhere in Youngstown, so we’ll see how this plays out. In any case, it’s quite sad to a cultural gem of the city disappear.

goo goo dolls 91

Note: Apparently Jan. 30, 2013 is the final day of the club at its current location. It will reopen at a Steel Street location soon.

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Elton John fills Covelli to the rafters

Billed as the biggest act to visit here by some local pundits, Elton John’s performance on May 1, 2010 at the Covelli Centre had a lot of rock fans drooling over the potential of the 5-year-old arena to draw big name talent. While he’s clearly a huge name associated with rock, you can look over the list of shows on this site and see that Sir Elton fits comfortably among the many stars who have performed here over the years.

The demand for this show was clearly there as the concert sold out in less than five minutes in March. John, the old pro, fillled the setlist with plenty of hits and gave the people a show worthy of the high ticket prices paid.

WHAT THE SHOW SOUNDED LIKE: It was professionally recorded and made commercially available for sale after the show (mp3s, CDs). I don’t believe the option to purchase the show still exists, but someone has put the tracks on YouTube (one of the songs is posted above).

 

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Third Eye Blind for the YSU crowd

Even though Third Eye Blind enjoyed its greatest success some 13 years before its April 29, 2010 show at the Beeghly Center, YSU’s Penguin Productions welcomed the band with open arms in continuing a tradition of rock ‘n’ roll at the university.

WHAT THE SHOW LOOKED LIKE: In the YouTube era, no show goes uncovered.

Thanks to former Penguin Productions member Ryan K. for sending the poster along.

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Welcome to our jungle

When you think about it, a lot of things had to happen for Guns N’ Roses to end up playing the Covelli Centre on December 7, 2011. GNR was one of the biggest rock acts in the world in the early ’90s. Despite a reputation for Axl’s pouting on stage and the band’s inability to keep a punctual schedule, they managed to play stadiums without much trouble at their peak. Even after losing key members Slash, Duff McKagan, Izzy Stradlin and Matt Sorum, the band was still able to perform in large arenas upon its return in 2001. It took nearly a decade of uneven performances and prima donna behavior by Axl to erode the fanbase enough that smaller arenas were popping up on the tour itinerary in 2011.

For all intents and purposes, the Covelli Centre show had every indication of being a debacle. This wasn’t like Elton John coming around in 2010. John could do a smaller tour because he was at a point in a career where the big gigs didn’t really matter that much. GNR probably couldn’t fill large arenas in Pittsburgh and Cleveland anymore was the sad reality. Going on at midnight will do that to your more seasoned fanbase.

At the start of the tour, a video surfaced of Axl Rose and the band playing to a large crowd in Brazil. Clad in a bright yellow raincoat, Rose looked more ridiculous than usual. The torrential rain made the band sound like a muddy mess. Arenas in the cities on the US tour leg were crossing their fingers just like in the past. A funny thing happened, though. The band became proficient in developing regular starting times (around 11 p.m.) and played consistently long sets without any flack or outbursts from Rose.

Most people had no idea who the new characters in the band were. When the lights went down and the activity on stage came alive that all changed. Clearly this was a professional outfit which was well rehearsed and ready to deliver a full album-like sound. The three-pronged guitar assault of Bumblefoot, DJ Ashba and Richard Fortis gave people in the crowd plenty to look at when they weren’t paying attention to Axl. Bass player Tommy Stinson gave a nod to his punk roots in The Replacements with a cover of the Dead Boys’ “Sonic Reducer”. There was even a nice little dig at Pearl Jam’s woeful attempts at covering the punk classic thrown in for good measure. Alas most in the crowd has no idea who the Dead Boys were or who the hell Stiv Bators was. Longtime member Dizzy Reed added the right accents on the keyboards and drummer Frank Ferrer was spot-on in his drumming abilities.

The most shocking thing was that Axl Rose actually looked like he was enjoying himself. There still was that aura of danger surrounding the band, but these men looked focused on the job. They weren’t in any hurry to bang a bus full of groupies or get the next hit of heroin. They sounded tight and went above and beyond what was expected of them nearly 25 years after they began. I must say as the night went on the band got better. I never understood the late start times before, but when it was after 1 a.m. and the band was chucking through “Night Train” it suddenly hit me that this stuff sounded way better at this hour.

Axl gave a quick nod to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame at the end of the show. Earlier in the day the band received word from the HOF that they would be inducted. It was a nice gesture, but at the same time you could feel the pressure of a reunion starting to build. On Saturday in Cleveland we will find out if something comes together. Seeing how the band operates now, I will say that Axl doesn’t need the hassles of playing with people he does not get along with. I think he may show up for the proceedings at the last minute (along with Dizzy Reed), but I also think he’s a man who would want some sort of rehearsal before attempting to play with guys he hasn’t shared the stage with in two decades. To me, he’s not even the biggest question mark. That would be Steven Adler. He has been a heartbeat away from drug overdose for quite some time now. I’m not even sure if he could handle a song or two under intense pressure. The old band has a right to worry about him making an absolute ass out of himself.

Stay tuned.

WHAT THE SHOW SOUNDED LIKE: YouTube has plenty of videos from it. There’s also an excellent fan audio recording of the show floating around. Check the fan message boards.

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