by Mike Breen
Cincinnati rockers to be featured on 'CBS This Morning' Nov. 29
Last month, several photos featuring the members of Cincinnati’s Wussy hanging out at the CBS studios in New York made their way to the band’s social media accounts. Turns out the band wasn’t just taking a studio tour; they were invited guests!Wussy filmed an in-studio session and were interviewed for a feature on the band that will appear on CBS This Morning Nov. 29. The date was revealed on this past Saturday’s CBS This Morning. It will be the band’s network television debut, the latest milestone for Wussy, which has seen its national profile continually rise gradually over the past several years. CBS This Morning’s Saturday edition has been doing weekly musician profiles for a while now on a segment called “Saturday Sessions.” The show has featured artists like The Head and the Heart, Trampled by Turtles, Delta Spirit, Gaslight Anthem and Counting Crows in recent months (British musicians Johnny Marr and James play the next two “Saturday Sessions,” respectively). Here are the Cincinnati natives of The National performing a session for the show earlier this year.
Wussy plays the new Woodward Theater on New Year's Eve.
by Charlie Harmon
Posted In: Music History
at 11:21 AM | Permalink
It’s 1791, and as William Woodward’s many siblings head out into the
world — some to sea, some to South Carolina — he decides to head into the vast
Northwest Territory to a little town that looks like hardly anything more than
an outpost. Little did he know that a little more than a decade later he would
be living in the Union state of Ohio, and that by a century later those woods
and fields would be covered with busy roads and pounding industry.
At this time, however, people lived in small townhouses with acres of
land to farm, and Woodward came as a surveyor to work with that land. In the
process, he began investing in real estate, got himself some land and settled
on a good sized plot near Fifth Street Market — now known as Fountain Square.
Hammering down coarse boards gathered from the flat boats that were
dismantled upon reaching Cincinnati, Woodward built a house in 1803. Years
later, in 1816, he upgraded, building the Woodward Mansion, a beautiful house of
brick and hand-carved woodwork. All around the northern side of that house he
fixed the problem of Cincinnati having no good fruit by starting a huge apple
orchard that would crank out around 500 barrels of cider a year (ever wonder
where Orchard Street in Over-the-Rhine got its name?).
Through his investments and business endeavors, Woodward gained
significant wealth, which he would then turn around and give back to the
community out of his love for others and his era-appropriate fear of God.
One of the major ways he gave back to the community still stands today —
in 1831 Woodward High School opened thanks to his efforts and donations.
Woodward High School was not only the first in the city, but the first high
school to exist west of the Allegheny Mountains.
When Woodward eventually grew old and passed away, his land and home was
given to his wife, who also passed it on when she died. Eventually, by the time
it was almost 100 years old in 1912, it was in the hands of a man named George
Kolb razed the house with the intention of building a theater in honor
of Woodward. Not simply a businessman without a care for the history of the
house, Kolb had a committee choose certain items from the mansion to be
preserved. The wooden mantel and the front door were given to Woodward High
School and, according to a news article at the time, the committee also saved a
cupboard, balustrade and a window Woodward had been known to look out from into
Once it was properly gutted of relics, the building was knocked to the
ground and on top was built the beaux art-style building we see today (though
the statues on either side of the door are replicas).
It was opened as a movie theater on June 18, 1913, in the days when film
was still a fresh and developing art form. To say silent film at that time was
redundant, because recorded — and especially synchronized — sound was a concept
beyond reality. For example, in 1917 you could have seen the then-new but now
lost film The Railroad Raiders.
The theater only lasted until 1933. While there are no records of why it
closed, most speculate that the Great Depression kept people from having a nice
night at the movies, causing the theater to go under.
By 1935 the building was again showing something, but this time it was used
cars under the name Andy Schain Inc. A newspaper ad from 1937 shows that you
could buy a ’36 Chevy Town Sedan for $525, a ’29 Chevy Coach for $60 and a ’31
Chevy Sports Roadster for the mindboggling price of $10. In other words, you
could’ve purchased that Coach for the amount you might spend at today’s
Woodward Theater in a night of heavy drinking with your spouse (or alone, if
you’re that hardcore).
Around this point is where the trail runs dry except for a few sad
drips. The used car shop closed sometime in the 1940s. While it’s hard to brush
the dust off and find evidence, apparently there was a Kroger in the building
in the 1950s. And jumping ahead to the ‘70s, it was a nightclub called Wanda
In 1990 Greg Starnes bought the building, using it as storage for his
antique shop further down Main Street until 1995, when he opened it as the
second location of Greg’s Antiques.
The end of Starnes’ tenure there is where Dan McCabe stepped in with his
partners Chris Schadler and Chris Varias to begin work on this old building
that has seen and heard it all.
It’s heard the silence of an early 20th century film; the passionate
debate between two 1930s jocks over the price of a hot ride; the chatting of
lovers shopping for lemons and mustached men cheering a band; the cooing of an
old lady over a doll that reminds her of her younger days; and most recently,
the buzzing of drills and booming of hammers.
Now once again the halls of this honorary building might listen to the
rumbling and rattling of Rock music, the soft crying of a mother watching her
daughter wed, or the perfectly timed joke of a comedian to the background of
rollicking laughter. Whatever it is, as time rolls on these walls won’t stop
The Woodward Theater opens to the public tonight. Read more about Main
Street’s newest music and events space here.
Plus news on Walk the Moon, Foxy Shazam and the second annual Guitars for Vets benefit
0 Comments · Wednesday, November 5, 2014
One of Cincinnati's most popular musicians, Ricky Nye, brings his Blues and Boogie Piano Summit back for its 15th year this weekend. Plus, Walk the Moon's new album, Talking is Hard, gets a release date, Foxy Shazam announce extended hiatus and Guitars for Vets presents its second annual benefit event Sunday.
by Nick Grever
Hours spent in the van, hours spent waiting for sound check in the venue, hours spent wandering European cities waiting for the venue to open, hours waiting for show time and hours spent waiting for the show to wrap up. All of this adds up to lots of free on our hands and not much to do with it. So what is a Rock & Roll band — and its merch and sound guy — to do with opportunity? Why, play Dibs of course.Dibs is one of those rare games that has no end point. No one wins at Dibs; it is played simply to pass time and help spice up the long stretches of mind numbing nothingness that touring sometimes produces. As a public service to other bands in this situation, I would like to provide you with the objectives and rules of Dibs, as I have observed them, so that you may also join in on this wondrous game.First, a few opening remarks on Dibs. One: this game may sound a little inappropriate at times. This fact is not lost on us. But after four hours of staring out of the window of a van and seeing not much more than trees, plains and gas stations, your brain starts to atrophy. Dibs helps bring it back to back to life. Two: if, while playing Dibs, you question your values or moral code at any time, don’t be alarmed — this only means that you are human.Now, on to the good stuff!Objective: The objective of Dibs is to see an attractive person and call dibs on said person. Being that this tour is comprised of five straight men that are either single or separated from their significant others for three weeks, this means that attractive women of all kinds are being dibsed with a speed and fury unrelenting. But if your preferences differ, feel free to switch it up. Dibs is a game for all.Now, the objective is easy enough to grasp, but like all great games of skill and wit, it is easy to learn and hard to master. Which is why we have set up several unofficial rules that I will now place into record.Rules:
A dibs-able person must be within eye contact. This means that I can’t call dibs on a girl that has gone around a corner or into a store and is no longer within my sight line. This rule works in conjunction with rule two.
A dibs must be made with a witness present. No dibs can be called while you are alone: the witness must be able to see said dibs, verify the dibsworthiness and (if you’re lucky) become upset that they didn’t see said dibsworthy subject first. Seeing your friend’s pain is almost as satisfying as the initial dibs and should be celebrated.
If a subject is dibsed, the decision cannot be reversed. This helps eliminate dibs calls made without full knowledge of the subject. There have been times where we’ve each made a dibs call early, only to regret the decision.
On rare occasions, a special call may be utilized. We’ve classified this as a dibs grenade but other nomenclature may be used as well. It allows a player to blanket dibs a group of subjects. For example, when we played at a venue full of women wearing spiked leather jackets with black hair and facial piercings, I threw my grenade like an MLB pitcher. (4a. This power must be used selectively and with great precision. All witnesses present must verify the usage of a dibs grenade and vetoes made by said witnesses render the grenade null and void. A cool down period is in effect for each player’s grenade, generally accepted as one in each town or venue. Larger grenades [such as a grenade meant for the entire venue, such as mine] have longer cool downs and should used sparingly.If a subject is dibsed and then re-dibsed by another player, the witness has the responsibility to back up the original dibsee on their right to the call. If two dibsees and their witnesses cannot come to a consensus, timelines should be discussed and consulted to ascertain the true dibsee.
And with that, you have the basics of Dibs. It is a game with a rich strategy behind it, a strategy that I will leave to you to discover. Due to its never-ending nature, it can keep you and your bandmates entertained for hours. Or at least until you’ve seen everyone who has walked through the door at the venue. Then it’s back to Tetris. Happy hunting!CityBeat contributor Nick Grever recently traveled Europe with Cincinnati Rock band Valley of the Sun and blogged about it for citybeat.com. His other dispatches can be found throughout the music blog.
by Nick Grever
I crowd surfed for the first time ever in Strasbourg, France. And I did it in a hot dog costume.Man, I can’t wait to tell my grandkids this story.
The hot dog spawned from a Facebook Messenger conversation before we even left. As we were preparing for the trip, the group bought me a glow in the dark skeleton onesie. It proved far too comfy and warm for it to be a nightly outfit in dirty, sweaty bars. I know this because I happily wore it around my house on several occasions.
Through the conversation it was eventually decided that I needed an Elvis outfit to wear during shows. I agreed and took a trip to a local Spirit Halloween in search of my tour uniform.
I was quickly disappointed.
Not only did they not have any Elvis costumes, the employee told me that the only place she knew that had one was a costume rental shop across town. The price put the costume way out of my price range. So I had to come up with something just as American (i.e. over the top and ridiculous). I browsed around, shot down the idea of a German beer girl costume — no one needs to see that much of my upper thigh — and stumbled across an area of cheap, lazy costumes. One of which was the hot dog suit. I snapped a picture, sent it to the boys and was met with joyous approval. I was still under my assigned budget so I picked up a Flavor Flav-sized dollar sign pendant and made my way to the register. Now, I was truly ready for Europe.
The hot dog costume has made an appearance a handful of times at shows, typically during the last song of the set or the encore. Sometimes I’ll put it on and rush to the front of the stage to get the guys to laugh and mess up. Being the consummate professionals that they are, they’ve never flubbed a song as far as I can tell.
But recently, they’ve been requesting the hot dog from stage, meaning I have to quickly dig it out, throw it on and run out to the crowd. They usually do so for their own amusement or to drive sales at the merch booth by proclaiming they have the würst merch guy in history. I never said that these guys were comedians …
Now, the majority of crowds just look confused by the sudden appearance of a hot dog at a Rock show but some get it and boy are their reactions spectacular. You haven’t lived until you’ve headbanged with two long hairs in a sweaty Halloween costume. But the crowd reaction in Strasbourg takes the cake.
The show was Punk Rock all the way — the sound was awful, the fans were packed in like sardines and the beer was flowing freely. The crowd had already spawned a crowd surfer, which is an admirable feat due to the fact that the venue is in a basement. Crowd surfing and grazing the ceiling of a club rarely go hand-in-hand. When the band called for the hot dog, I pushed through and found myself in an open pit in the center of the crowd. The final song started and I began my “dancing” and headbanging with the crowd. Pictures were taken, laughs were had, and I thought that was the end of it.
Then I saw the universal “You want to go up?” hand signal. Apparently crowd surfing crosses language barriers. Before I knew it, I was on top of the crowd trying to simultaneously avoid being dropped to the floor or bounced into the ceiling. It was awesome and scary and ridiculous and unbelievable all at the same time. If that’s not a great commercial for Spirit Halloween, I don’t know what is.
Now I really can’t wait for our Halloween show tonight. We plan on having a merch guy who’s all skin and bones, a blinged out bassist and the würst drummer you’ve ever seen.
Hey, I never said I was a comedian, either.
by Mike Breen
In this week’s CityBeat we review Patience, Child, the debut full-length from Cincinnati’s theatrical Progressive Pop madmen Injecting Strangers. Given some of the album’s playfully spooky tracks (including the two-part horror story “Nightmare Nancy”), it’s fitting that the band is celebrating the album’s release tonight at a free Halloween spectacular at Over-the-Rhine’s MOTR Pub. Nashville’s New Wave Rebellion opens the show at 10 p.m.
Here is a track from Patience, Child that would make a great addition to your Halloween mixtape. From the review: “‘Haunted Heavens’ also fits the (Halloween) vibe perfectly, with its sinister spoken-word passages and eerie choral background vocals. It’s like Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ filtered through Queen, Public Image Limited and The Nightmare Before Christmas and then re-filtered through a modern Indie Rock mindset.”
<a href="http://injectingstrangers.bandcamp.com/album/patience-child">Patience, Child by Injecting Strangers</a>
Read the full review here. And click here to download Patience, Child for free or a donation.
by Nick Grever
For the past two and a half weeks, Arnaud’s van has been home for five full-grown men. While we’ve been lucky enough to not have to spend the night in it at any time, we’ve done pretty much everything else. We’ve eaten in here, we’ve slept in here, we’ve emptied bladders (well, only one … Nick was desperate), it houses all of our possessions on this continent and we’ve had far too many inappropriate conversations in here. It has all the comforts of home … except for TV, Internet, showers, a kitchen or any sort of privacy. But then again, some of our non-moving accommodations don’t have any of those things either, so it’s fine.We even have our own “rooms.” Arnaud usually drives with Ryan copiloting. If you move one bench back, Nick sits in the farthest seat from the door so he can lean against the window to nap. The next seat is empty and holds our various jackets, water bottles, candy and other items a touring band needs. Next to that is me; my seat offers no real advantage other than the ability to get out fast at rest stops when the call of the wild can be heard. Aaron has claimed dominion over the back bench, but two of the seats hold two overnight bags and random stuff (mostly scarves that Aaron has bought along the trip).
The ride is rough; it seems like the shocks were an afterthought and you can feel every bump in the road. Turns make the van shift and roll and the seats don’t adjust from their full upright and locked position. This all adds up for a ride that isn’t very comfortable or relaxing. If you’re wondering how we can sleep in here under such conditions, all I can say is that touring Europe is a very tiring experience, no matter how fun it is.
Of course, the real reason we needed the van is to not just transport ourselves, but all of the band’s gear from show to show without the need for a trailer. And that, my friends, is an experience all it’s own. Arnaud and Nick have set up a system to load and unload the back of the van efficiently at each stop. While I play Tetris at shows, those two play Tetris in real life. Just take a look at this setup and tell me that isn’t almost artistic to see how much crap can be fit into such a small space.
This van has been a constant in our lives for almost a month now; while I can only speak for myself, I have to say that I will almost miss it when I get back home. While the ride might be rough, there was an element of comfort and familiarity in crawling into this thing as we headed towards our next show. And it’s the place where we all really bonded as a group — being stuck in a tin can with four other dudes for six hours will do that to you. It’s been a special spot for all of us.
But, man, I really wish the seats reclined.CityBeat contributor Nick Grever is currently traveling Europe on tour with Cincinnati Rock band Valley of the Sun. He will be blogging for citybeat.com regularly about the experience.
Gov’t Mule brings the music of Neil Young to life at special Mule-O-Ween show
0 Comments · Wednesday, October 29, 2014
On Oct. 28, the Classic Rock giants played their last-ever concert at
New York City’s Beacon Theater.
by Mike Breen
Successful Cincy rockers Foxy Shazam cancel all live dates, announce indefinite hiatus
On Monday, Cincinnati's Foxy Shazam, one of the Queen City's more successful musical exports in recent years (and one of the city's best ever live bands), announced on its Facebook page that it would be disbanding, effective immediately. The extremely hard-touring band has canceled all forthcoming shows, including a hometown New Year's Eve appearance at Oakley's 20th Century Theater. The band says the split will be for "an unknown amount of time" as the members spend some time with their families and other artistic endeavors. "We truly believe there is a future for Foxy Shazam, that our best art is yet to come," the message continues. "We don't know how long this will take but we plan on someday returning more powerful than ever."CityBeat has written many articles about Foxy over the years, including a 2010 cover story (read here). The band first caught our attention in 2005 after the self-released The Flamingo Trigger, which we reviewed and talked about with the group. Most recently, CityBeat chatted with the band about Gonzo, Foxy's first self-released album since Flamingo Trigger, which was produced by Steve Albini and came after a few releases with Warner Brothers Records and IRS Records. Hopefully they'll be back sooner than later. I don't like that one of my favorite Foxy tunes is now "ironic." (This still deserves to be co-opted by a local sports team … or better yet, the city's tourism board.)(Foxy in 2005 and in 2014:)
Veteran local group preps for ‘Blood Oranges in the Snow’ release and Christmas tour
Over the Rhine is releasing its third Christmas album, Blood Oranges in the Snow, on Nov. 4, but The New York Times’ website is offering an early listen through its “Press Play” website. Click here to listen.
The album, which follows previous “reality Christmas” efforts Snow Angels and The Darkest Night of the Year, is available now for pre-order here. Pre-orders of the CD will instantly receive a digital version of the album.
OTR’s Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist will do some acoustic dates after Blood Oranges’ release, beginning next week in Washington state. The duo’s “Acoustic Christmas” tour officially begins Dec. 5 in Virginia and culminates with OTR’s annual hometown holiday show at the Taft Theatre on Dec. 20. Tickets for the all-ages show can be purchased here or here.