Notes of questions were scattered around the table as the clock slowly ticked its way to noon.
Once the clock reached the 12, a silent buzzing signaled the interview’s prompt start. With an allotted 15-minute time frame, pleasantries were quickly given out before it was time to start asking questions.
Mat Kerekes, the lead vocalist of Toledo and Michigan-based punk act Citizen, is as laid back as one can be the day before starting a 20-date trek across North America. In fact, the upcoming tour wasn’t even at the forefront of his mind, rather, something else entirely.
“I’m building a bird cage right now,” he offered with a laugh.
The ice was pretty much broken after the simple explanation of his plans for his last day home, and soon enough, he eased his way into talking about his work with Citizen and his solo career, how he finds a way to differentiate the two, his writing process and his love of recording music.
Rewinding back to December of last year, Kerekes announced his decision to sign to Black Cement Records to release an album for his solo work.
Shortly after the freshly inked deal, he dropped his first single off of the sophomore release, which marked fans’ first taste of new solo music from the singer since his debut album, 2016’s Luna & The Wild Blue Everything.
Unfortunately, there’s not a whole lot of information regarding the forthcoming effort, aside from the fact that it’s due out sometime this year. While information is pretty limited, it seems the air of mystery surrounding the second LP is something that Kerekes doesn’t mind continuing.
“Expect the unexpected! You know, I always just try to do something new. I play with a band called Citizen, and I feel like our albums always kind of drastically change.” Kerekes said.“[For this solo record], I learned how to play piano, so I always try to push myself, and that’s what you can expect, I guess, and if that’s not enough, then whatever (laughs)!”
All jokes aside, Kerekes quickly went on to explain that he had always wanted to learn how to play the piano, and this record seemed like a good place to start. But, he noted, that feeling of inspiration didn’t happen until after he started listening to artists like David Bowie and the other “stuff my dad likes.”
After seeing and hearing all of the things that these older bands were able to accomplish during their careers, things that he didn’t know how to do, it made him want to learn.
That will to learn some of those techniques soon translated into the making of his album, which he found helped add a new element to some of the tracks that he’ll be sharing on the latest release.
“Writing a song on piano feels so much different than guitar. I can play the same chords, in the same rhythm on the piano as I do on the guitar, but it’ll feel like a completely different song,” Kerekes said. “So, I wrote a lot of these songs on the piano first, and I feel like that creates a different element.”
As for the writing of this record, and any of his work, Kerekes has found that not forcing himself to write is usually the best, and most organic, option for him to come up with songs that he’ll use for any of his given projects.
He explained that he’s not one of those songwriters that have 100 songs just sitting in the bank to be used at a later time. Instead, he writes his songs to use them right then and there, so any of the B-Sides he has are already mixed, mastered and ready to be released for later use.
“For the solo stuff, over time, I’ll just have enough songs, you know? Luna was never planned. I was just doing all these demos that couldn’t be Citizen songs, and my manager was like, ‘hey, like you should just put out a solo record,’ and I was like, ‘oh sure,’” Kerekes said. “Usually, I would just write and record something in my house, post it instantly and then move on. [But now, it’s changed to where I’ll wait until I have some songs, so] I guess the solo stuff is like a collection of songs over time rather than with Citizen, where you’ve got to do a record [immediately].”
Of course, the process switches up after every record, whether that be for Citizen or for his solo endeavors.
“I think the process is changing now. I don’t want to sound dark, because it’s not dark when I say this, but I think everybody in Citizen is exhausted, especially from last year. We just did so much,” Kerekes said. “I think everybody’s really into the idea of not having to cram. We don’t have any studio time set up and we don’t have any plans. There’s no deadline for anything. We’re just kind of going with the flow, and, you know, it feels pretty good.”
When he is in the mood to start the writing process, he usually just starts fiddling around with whatever instrument he’s got with him at the time, and then he begins to mess with the melodies.
He stresses that the process is different for every release, but he’s found that the most general way for him is to write if he’s feeling it and then start building from there.
Of course, the writing behind the process is only half the battle. In addition to writing on his own time, Kerekes has found an interest in recording his own music, which he explains has helped him when it comes to getting songs written.
“[For Citizen], all of our records so far [have been recorded] with Will Yip. Before we go in there, I’ll just demo out the songs. So, we usually have the record finished, or close to finished before we go in. And I would say that’s thanks to me recording, which is cool. So, I’ll just record [a melody I’m working on real quick] and just build the rest of the song around it. It’s all super relaxed, and there’s no pressure. So, yeah, having access to all this recording stuff and knowing how to do it, how to play and just being alone is the best-case scenario for me.”
The method to his writing and recording madness shows that he’s no stranger to writing a song or two. In fact, he’s got four Citizen records, two solo albums and a whole slew of singles under his belt.
While his impressive catalog of tracks shows that Kerekes has not only been writing songs for quite some time and that he’s perfected the craft of doing so, it also captures something else entirely: a sense of growth.
“I’ve purposely strayed away from the whole really being direct thing. I mean for one, I just don’t think it ages well. When I listen to really old, pre-Luna solo stuff, it’s just so crybaby, you know? I was young and emotional, and with Citizen, you listen to Youthand it’s just so [overly emotional], and in reality, when I think about the things I’m singing about and the situations I was in, [it made me realize that] I was part of the problem too,” Kerekes said.
He continues on by saying, “I didn’t even know [some situations I was in] was a problem, but as you grow older, you’re like, ‘oh man, like I was, I was a huge jerk,’ When I hear those old songs, I’m like, ‘man, it doesn’t feel right to me.’ Because I lived it and I wrote it, I’m happy that it connects with other people, but at this point in my life, I feel a lot more, introspective…I’m not old by any means, but I’m older, and I feel like I have a better grip on life.”
Kerekes’ newfound sense of self, and all the growth he’s done in the past few years, has made him look at how he writes in a different way. He explains that what he’s looking at when he’s writing lyrics has changed from personal to an outsider’s point of view.
“So, when I write lyrics now, I’m usually not writing from my point of view. I think it’s important to grow, and if I just kept being a whiny crybaby and blaming everybody else for all these problems, would I just [have to] write the same songs over and over again? What would happen? So, they just don’t age well.”
Kerekes’ recently dropped a song titled “Hawthorne,” which exemplifies all of the growth and introspection Kerekes talked about in the interview.
“It’s a new song I did,” Kerekes said. “It’s about looking back and realizing the hurt you’re causing somebody. [It’s about] looking at that person, seeing them doing the best they can, trying to be as positive as they can be and also trying to support you, while you’re the source to this person’s pain, you know? So it’s really about pushing and being triumphant through this loneliness that I’m causing you.”
With his growth and development in the music industry over the past couple of years, he has noticed that when working with Citizen, there can sometimes be an overlap in their sound, and it’s not something the guys want.
With that in mind, there have been challenges to ensure that Citizen’s sound is not compromised in the process of Kerekes finding his own voice in the genre.
“That’s kind of been a problem lately. Citizen is due to write a new record, so I’ve been messing around and then I’ll write something and bring it to the guys and they’re like, ‘ah, that sounds like you should just do this,’” Kerekes said.
However, Kerekes is pretty confident that he will be able to keep the two sounds separate.
“Usually, I feel like Citizen is more of a mood, you know? It’s moody and a bit aggressive, whereas the vibe of my solo stuff, I’d say it’s bittersweet—if I were to describe the new [solo] record in one word, it would be bittersweet— and nothing about Citizen is that way. Stuff obviously bleeds in here or there, but I feel like we do a pretty good job of keeping it separate,” Kerekes said.
While the band and Kerekes do a good job at ensuring that things don’t bleed into one another, it can be difficult not to notice the differences between Kerekes’ solo endeavors to his time with Citizen.
The differences between the two are something that even Kerekes himself has noticed.
Whether it’s the mood of the music or the vibe he gets from playing shows, there’s a distinct difference in the style and atmospheres associated with both, especially when it comes to playing shows.
“Citizen feeds off the energy of the crowd a lot, and I think that’s the big difference; I’m not going to be doing that. I’ve played solo shows before, and they are a lot of fun because it’s different, and I’m just there to play and have fun playing. And I mean, I like playing guitar. I’m not very good at it, but I like playing. You’re just there to listen. You’re not there to crowd surf or scream. You’re there to just kind of be there. And if you like the songs, you’re there because you like the songs, you know? And I think that’s a cool dynamic,” Kerekes said.
He continued on, saying, “I love Citizen shows, but this is just different. It’s a different vibe and the people there are just there to enjoy the music and not jump around, which I’m not dissing on, I like that, you know, but it’s cool to mix it up.”
As of right now, Kerekes upcoming solo record is set to be released later this year, and until then, he’s focusing on spending his time on touring.
“I guess I’m just taking it one step at a time. Once this record is out, I’ll figure out the next move and just play it by ear, you know?” Kerekes said.
Kerekes is currently on the road with Jetty Bones and Jacob Sigman, who are providing support for his solo tour.
In addition to this latest headlining run, he will also be getting ready to tour with Citizen on their co-headlining run with Knuckle Puck this May.
Sat with his back to the hustle and bustle of Lakewood on a cool Tuesday afternoon, Harrison Mills, a first-year Master of Legal studies student at Cleveland State University, patiently sat at a table inside of the equally happening Root Café waiting for his meal.
His laptop, which is decorated with stickers from various punk bands scattered over the front, was left sitting off to the side, the work he was once doing soon forgotten as his order arrived at the table.
With his meal now at the table and the afternoon crowds coming and going from the café calming down, Mills soon jumped into a 40-minute conversation about work, school and what all of that means when it comes to being in his band, The Grievance Club.
Starting off his schooling at Kent State University, Mills worked on getting his bachelor’s degree in criminology and deviant behavior with a minor in applied conflict management. The major, while not something he’s dreamed of doing since childhood, was something that he found best suited his interests.
Having always expressed a natural inclination towards social politics and justice, in addition to his love of crime shows like “Criminal Minds” and “SVU,” he knew that he would eventually want to work doing something along those lines.
Upon graduating with his degree from Kent, he was left at a crossroads trying to decide where to go from there. While he didn’t have a burning desire to continue his studies by going to grad school, he soon realized that the field he wanted to go into — victim assistance — would require him to either go into a master’s program or get a certificate of some sort.
Opting for the master’s program, he began looking for programs that would help with the type of career he wanted to get into while also being close. With an idea of what he didn’t want to do with his major, which he maintains was helpful, he set out looking for programs that fit into his growing list of needs.
“I came across the master of legal studies program, and reading about it, it really stood out to me,” Mills said. “[I realized] I could get a foundation in law, that I think would be beneficial from the victim assistance point of view, but still have the flexibility and part-time schedule that actual law school wouldn’t allow.”
So, with all the boxes checked, Mills applied for the program and got in soon after. Fast forward to today, his first semester at the university has proven to be somewhat manageable. While the workload hasn’t been too difficult, that doesn’t mean finding ways to balance his workload and his other endeavors have been easy.
Juggling school and work is a difficult task for anyone, but Mills has another responsibility that keeps him pretty busy during the week. Not only does he deal with the typical duties of a college student, he’s also lending his vocals and playing the guitar for a local melodic punk band, The Grievance Club.
The first incarnation of the band began somewhere around 2010 when he was a sophomore in high school. As the years went on, with a few lineup changes along the way, the band soon finalized their lineup, became a recently touring band and figured out all of the small details that people don’t tell you about when starting a band.
Comprised of Mills, Kevin Cappy on bass and vocals, Steve Perrino on guitar and Dan Roberts on drums, the quartet has all found ways of making their personal lives work with their responsibilities in the band.
“We’ve been active for long enough where I think we’re kind of used to it, and we’ve built our schedules around [band-related things],” Mills said. “We’ve all had to learn and adapt in order to be able to balance it. But I’m proud of the way that we’ve managed to that so far.”
So far, their time management has been pretty efficient. As Mills notes, the band officially started touring sometime last year, and with 2018, they’ve been scheduling a few shows here and there.
Before the year is officially over, the band scheduled a few one-off dates with a Chicago-based alternative punk act, Out The Car Window, set for later this month. Additionally, they’ve also got a few local shows at Lakewood’s retro bowling alley slash concert venue, Mahall’s.
While this year has been more tour-centric than years past, that doesn’t mean the band hasn’t been focusing on writing. With two EPs under their belt, including 2016’s “Being of Sound Body & Unsound Mind” and this past June’s “Hive,” the band has been hard at work getting more music out there.
While they just released their newest EP, that doesn’t mean they haven’t thought of what’s to come. Operating on a pretty “easygoing sense of organization,” the band completed their latest effort last year before beginning the writing process all over again for what Mills hopes to be a full-length debut.
Having six or seven songs already completed, the group has been hard at work making that unspoken, yet eventually spoken, goal a reality. Until then, they have been touring around the area and getting a better sense of the music scene that’s present in Cleveland.
Coming from Solon, Mills believes that the music community in the area was in large part thanks to the band’s current guitarist Perrino’s consistent involvement. The group has had an interesting relationship being in their area’s punk and alternative music scene.
Between Perrino being in multiple bands at a time and kickstarting the tradition of library shows. Thanks to his past job at the library, the scene that was created in Solon made Mills, and a few other people, realize that being in a band could be a reality.
“[Steve] kind of helped start this tradition of having library shows two or three times a year, and that kind of helped to establish somewhat of a music scene in Solon,” Mills said. “So I think in terms of me, and for a lot of other people, I think that kind of showed us that we could actually start a band and have like an outlet where we lived to use it.”
While the group has ventured into a much larger music scene by diving into the Cleveland area, they’ve seemingly stuck with their roots by maintaining their strict work ethics while also finding people in the area who are as passionate about the things they’re creating.
Whether it’s playing shows at a venue that they feel comfortable in or seeing other groups, who are trying to do the same things, start to achieve their goals, Mills notes that the Cleveland music scene has been a welcoming environment for the group, and their friends, to integrate themselves in.
“We are really grateful to be involved in the Cleveland and Lakewood music community in any capacity,” Mills said. “Right now, we’re in a place where we feel like we really click and have chemistry with the people we know, and we kind of have a little more control over who we play with and who we associate ourselves with, which, is just a really good feeling.”
Answering the phone with a cool “hello” and a quick introduction, Jason “Rowdy” Cope of the southern rock band The Steel Woods, soon eased his way into a 15-minute conversation about his band’s history and the story of how their latest album came to be.
Describing the band’s sound as a “classic rock band that’s just not classic,” Cope explained that the band prides themselves on producing music that’s a cool mix of 70s style country and rock. So, as he went on to share, their music can be a middle man of two country and rock mainstays: Waylon Jennings and Led Zeppelin. A curious mix, sure, but the band has been able to make it work.
The group formed a handful of years ago after a one-off show brought current vocalist Wes Bayliss and Cope together. The duo played the show together, and after that fateful night, the two would get together whenever the other wasn’t busy, and they would do the one thing that helped strengthen their newly formed bound: fish.
“We spent probably five days a week out at this little fishing hole, me and Wes. And it just was really fast getting to know each other. If you’re going to do this thing, it can be one of those deals where it turns into the next 30 years of your life. You have to be able to get along with the other 22 hours of the day offstage,” Cope said. “So, we did a lot of that before we pulled the acoustic guitars out and started writing. Then, about month and a half into doing all that fishing and stuff, we started bringing our fishing poles and our acoustic guitars with us.”
Fishing, while a semi-unconventional way to ensure a unity amongst members of a band, was something that allowed the two to better know each other. Being in bands for most of his life, Cope knew what potential struggles could come from not being on the same page. While unconventional, it helped them better lay the foundation of the band.
Fast forward from the fateful gig and those fishing trips, The Steel Woods has released two studio albums, 2017’s debut “Straw In The Wind” and their most recent effort, 2019’s “Old News.”
As with most, the band’s sophomore release has seen the band evolve into a stronger unit than what they had off their debut release. Cope notes that there are a few reasons for the evolution, specifically in the way they decided to record the album and their personal growth as musicians.
The band went back to Cope’s hometown of Asheville, North Carolina to record the album at a studio called Echo Mountain. While there, the band experimented with how they produced the record, which, as he went onto explain, meant that they were playing in the same room together at the same time.
So, instead of going a more traditional route of laying drums, then bass and so on and so forth, the group tried to cut it all at once in the hopes of capturing a live feeling.
However, cutting the album for a live feel isn’t the only difference you’ll notice when spinning the band’s sophomore record. Cope explained that they also went through a period of growth as well, which helped them better write and produce the newest release.
“I can only speak for me personally, I’m constantly trying to be a better writer. You always want to make a record better than the last one; you always want to make the greatest artistic statement,” Cope said. “I guess with this [record], the evolution of [from] the first one, is a lot of [that first record was] just me and Wes, the singer, [whereas] this one, it’s very much all four of us playing our instruments.”
That personal growth can be shown in the band’s latest release, “Old News,” which came out on Jan. 18 via Thirty Tigers.
The album uncovers themes that can only be taken from today’s headlines and throws it back into the audience’s face with lyrics that deal with things such as morality, hope and finding common ground.
While it’s not entirely a political album, that doesn’t mean the band shies away from talking about difficult topics that the country is currently dealing with.
“I guess the concept of the song ‘Old News,’ which is the title track of the record, is based around [the fact that] I feel like there’s a missing concept of debate in this country. I believe no matter what side of the fence you’re on, you can still find a common ground of being American and getting along,” Cope said. “I saw a lot of people seem to be throwing stones at each other lately instead of really like listening to one side and listening to another. But I just think we all have some sort of common ground to find peace about…even if you ultimately come to a disagreement on a thing, it can be done.”
He continued on by saying:
“I think it’s more about the current climate, and it’s not [about] picking a side. It’s really stepping back in an artistic perspective, like, there’s no sense in for this country to have a civil war over politics for crying out loud. It just doesn’t seem like people are actually having conversations and listening. It’s almost like you label the other side and then that’s the enemy. And I just don’t like that. We’re all neighbors; if something real bad went down, I promise you we’re on the same team. There’s an element to finding that.”
Throughout their storied career as a band, one of the most prominent things that can be said about the Nashville-based group is the fact that they’re “weekend warriors,” which essentially means that they’re on the road quite a bit. As Cope further explains, touring is one of the best ways for the band to get their name out there.
The group is an independent band, so they don’t have the backing of a major label to help them with the business side of running a band. While it’s been difficult, that hasn’t stopped them from going into the trenches and taking a real punk “do it yourself” approach.
Whether it’s the filming of their own music videos, designing their merchandise, making the music and promoting it or letting their road warrior mentality shine, they’ve been able to gain quite the following since their formation. While they do a lot by themselves, Cope attributes their success to two things: the power of the internet and touring.
“Well fortunately and unfortunately, we are an independent band, [which means that we don’t have] a major label deal or anything like that. So, we do everything ourselves,” Cope said. “[Touring] is the most real format that we can get our thing out to people…Our generation has never been more [more in tune with technology.] So, we figured that’s where it’s at nowadays. [By touring], we eliminate the middleman by taking our product straight to the people.”
The Steel Woods are currently doing a headlining run in support of their latest album, “Old News.” For a full list of cities and dates, you can go here!
For more information about The Steel Woods, you can visit the band’s website or you can go to the band’s Facebook page or their Twitter. Additionally, you can listen to either of the band’s albums on their Spotify! You can do so by going here.
On July 24, reports began rushing in that Demi Lovato was found unconscious in her home. It was later reported by “Rolling Stone Magazine” that the singer was treated with Narcan, which is an emergency treatment used for narcotic overdoses, before she was taken to the hospital for further treatment. Once there, it was reported that Lovato suffered an apparent overdose due to fentanyl-laced Oxycodone.
Fast forward to August of this year, We Came As Romans, a Michigan-based metalcore act, suffered the tragic loss of their clean vocalist Kyle Pavone, due to an accidental overdose.
Then, just a few weeks later, it was reported that Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller died of an apparent overdose in his San Fernando Valley home.
Of course, these are just a few of many cases related to the overdose epidemic that has been a prominent issue for the United States. In fact, it’s been reported by the Centers For Disease Control (CDC) that overdoses have been on the rise in the United States in the past couple of years.
As the CDC notes, over the course of 1999 to 2016, more than 630,000 people have died from a drug overdose. While the numbers are high with drug overdoses in general, the CDC has found a growing number in opioid-related overdoses.
According to a report from the CDC, 66 percent of the 63,600 people who died of an overdose in 2016 could be linked with opioids, which are a group of drugs that were originally created for treating pain.
With the growing number of drug overdose-related deaths on the rise nationwide, it’s been noted by Denise Keary, the Health and Wellness Coordinator at Cleveland State University, that the school is currently in the initial stages of creating programs and resources for those struggling with substance abuse and addiction.
“We are still in the initial stages, but we have a couple of things in place right now,” Keary said. “We have the peer education program, [which has] peer educators that students can talk to [when in need]. We also have our counseling center [that students] can get involved with.”
In addition to the peer educators group and the counseling center, she also mentioned that the school has also created a support team called the “Substance Abuse, Prevention and Pathways to Recovery” team.
It’s a fairly new group on campus, but Keary maintains that they’ve already been working on educating students about what addiction is and how to end the stigma surrounding addiction.
They hope to eventually move into a more preventive area.
While the university is currently taking steps to help those who are struggling with addiction, Keary notes that students who understand the signs and symptoms of addiction can also be a great help when it comes to assisting a fellow student in need.
“It’s understanding all of those elements that are out there. Substance misuse and prevention is similar for all different types of substance, [meaning] you’re looking at the same type of symptoms for alcohol misuse as you might be looking at prescription drug misuse,” Keary said. “The same symptoms the person might be displaying for you and for the same reasons. It’s just a matter of being able to identify what those are.”
As for what those signs may be, Keary shared that a big factor in knowing if someone may be struggling with addiction is the changes in their behavior. Whether those changes be their eating and sleeping habits to things like how they are presenting themselves and if they are keeping isolated.
While knowing what the signs are, it’s only half the battle in the grand scheme of things. Knowing the right things to say to someone who might be fighting an addiction and getting them help is even more pressing.
“Sometimes it’s just a brief intervention to go up to them and say, ‘Hey, I noticed you haven’t been in class, is there anything I can help you with.’ It could be that simple, but then you have to understand how you’re going to take that next step with them,” Keary said. “[It’s all a matter of finding out] where are they in this process, if they decide to talk to you.”
Keary explained that there are different levels for determining what the next steps should be. Relating it to a stop light, a green light could be something as small as that person just needs to talk. A yellow means they probably need a referral to the counseling center, and a red means they are displaying some signs of hurting themselves or hurting somebody else.
While these signs can be difficult to gauge, knowing the right places to get them help and simply asking how someone is doing can have a lasting impact on those who are dealing with an addiction.
“I think the conversation that has started is good, [but] we have a long way to go when we’re talking about reducing the stigma with addiction and mental health,” Keary said. “Every one of us is going through something. Nobody should ever feel alone in what they’re going through, and now the doors are open, the conversation is open and we’re trying to create [an open environment] at Cleveland State.”
Resources For Students:
ON-CAMPUS RESOURCES STUDENTS CAN TAKE ADVANTAGE OF:
Recovery Resources work closely with Cleveland State to provide “prevention education, treatment, and recovery services for individuals impacted by mental illness and/or addiction.”
For further information:
216.431.4131, option 3 (for referral)
3950 Chester Ave, Cleveland, OH 44114
Health & Wellness
The Cleveland State Health and Wellness Center is a resource for students to receive varying degrees of medical attention. At the center, students can get their flu shots, prescriptions, various lab services, and see a primary care physician, with just a visit.
The Center for Innovation in Medical Professions is located in Room 205.
For further information:
The Cleveland State Counseling Center is a resource for students, faculty and staff to receive academic, career and personal counseling.
The Counseling Center has office hours Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments can also be made from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
For further information:
1836 Euclid Avenue
EVENTS HAPPENING ON CAMPUS:
Empowered Bystander training:
Empowered Bystander training will give students the opportunity to learn how to properly help someone who may be in situations like sexual violence, mental health, and/or addiction.
The training will be held on Thursday, Sept. 27 in RW 202 from 11:30 – 12:30.
Students must register on Orgsync before attending the event. One can do so by vitising:
Healthy Mind. Healthy You.
This event was created in order to reduce the stigma of substance use and addiction. Speakers include Vince Caraffi from the Cuyahoga County Board of Health and community members in recovery as they give their insight and further information on the myths, stigmas and facts on various substance abuse disorders.
The event will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 24 in IM 114 from 12:00 – 1:00.
Students must register on Orgsync before
attending the event. One can do so by vitising:
Certified Peer Educator training:
For students interested in providing a “supportive, safe and healthy campus,” they can join Cleveland State’s H.Y.P.E. team for their fall training sessions on becoming a certified Peer Educator.
The training will be held on Tuesday, Oct. 9 from 8:30 to 5:00 with lunch provided.
Students must register on Orgsync before attending the event. One can do so by vitising:
For further information, contact:
NON-UNIVERSITY RESOURCES AVAILABLE:
Heroin Project Dawn – 216.623.6888
Heroin Hotline – 216.778.5677
Suicide Prevention – 216.623.6888
Drug and Alcohol Abuse – 1.800.587.4232
Mobile Crisis Team of Cleveland – 216.623.6888
HIV Confidential Testing – 216.400.7939
2018 is officially coming to an end, and that means that your timelines are definitely getting bogged down with all of those "year in review" posts. With that being said, who am I to not add to the timeline clutter with my own version of a year in review?!
If one thing is certain, 2018 was a year that was seemingly chopped full of new music to get our hands on. While this list doesn't begin to dive into all of the best albums this year had to offer, it does feature 18 of my favorites...because I know that's something you totally care about, right?!
In any case, here are some of the albums that got a few spins from me in 2018. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did (and still do!)
Hot mulligan - pilot
Super Whatevr - Never Nothing
Barely Civil - We Can Live Here Forever
The Sonder Bombs - Modern Female Rockstar
Alkaline Trio - Is This Thing Cursed?
Homesafe - One
Gatherers - WE Are Alive Beyond Prepared
Drug Church - Cheer
Belmont - Belmont
Twenty One Pilots - Trench
The Story So Far - Proper Dose
Tiny Moving Parts - Swell
Clear Eyes Fanzine - Season One, Episodes 1 - 6
Charmer - Charmer
The Wonder Years - Sister Cities
Joyce Manor - Million Dollars to kill me
the 1975 - a brief inquiry to online relationships
Ariana grande - Sweetner
For some of us, finding the right song as an introduction to a new band can be a pretty daunting task, so I decided to compile a list of 10 songs that are the perfect intro tunes to some new bands.
Up first, the Lansing Michigan punks Hot Mulligan.
With the band's unique blend of poignant lyrics and howling vocals, their sound is something different to what you'll find most bands doing in the scene today, making Hot Mulligan the perfect band to add to your playlist.
The band has rapidly taken the underground punk scene by storm and it's easy to see why. Their latest full-length effort Pilot, is easily one of the best pop-punk albums released this year, and better yet, they have a whole slew of EPs and a few singles that make their catalogue a dream come true for any punk kid looking for some angst-ridden lyrics and aggressive guitars.
So, without further ado, here's 10 songs from Hot Mulligan that you should check out...
1. "The Soundtrack To A Missing Slamdunk"
The boys in Hot Mulligan have a pretty extensive list of music from their few EPs and full-length debut, and this track is one of the best introductions to the band that I personally could think of. Marking the second single from their latest effort, 'Pilot,' it's a track that showcases the band's signature brand of punk.
With its infectious and easy-to-scream lyrics, the song is practically a pop-punk anthem (you know, of the Good Charlotte kind.) The track has biting vocals from both the band's vocalists, Chris Freeman and Tades Sanville, and a steady backing beat, making this track one of the shining stars of 'Pilot.'
The track has a pretty distinctive sound, and while the band is still fairly up-and-coming, the song helps set the tone that these guys are doing something different to what any of the bands are doing in the scene right now. It's the perfect song for a first-time listener to get acquainted with this band's catchy brand of pop-punk.
If there's one song that pops-up pretty often when searching through Hot Mulligan's songs, "Dary" is one that comes up quite often, and for good reason. The song is a fairly easy track that packs a major punch...literally, go to a Hot Mulligan show to see the crowd's reaction when they play this song, my body still hasn't recovered from being front row (and that was days ago!)
Not only does this track have some pretty relatable lyrics, it also has a catchy melodramatic chorus perfect for screaming out the heartbreak of loving someone who is just using you for their own selfish gains.
3. "Wes Dault Can't Find The Madison Falcon"
The song, like most of this band's songs, is well-written and lyrically, it's an incredibly catchy song that you'll be screaming the lyrics to after a listen or two. The lyrics themselves make this track impressive, but once you pair it with the song's heavy guitar riffs and aggressive drum beats, you'll find that this song is the perfect punk anthem you've been dying to find.
While the backing to Sanville and Freeman's vocals are pretty upbeat, the band still kept it fairly simple to showcase the vocals of the track, which gives listeners the chance to listen to the duo deliver some pretty angsty lines. Between Sanville's raspy and lively take on most of the track and Freeman's backing, it's a song that showcases just how well the two blend vocally.
The track is a perfect blend of everything that works in Hot Mulligan, and it just keeps getting better after every listen.
4. "I’m Turning To O - Positive”
Much like one of the songs you'll find a bit further down on this list, "I'm Turning To O-Positive," is one of the songs you'll find that was created in the band's early stages.
While it's a bit of an older track, it's a fairly dynamic song that sounds like it could be something the band just recently put out. The guitars and drums paired with the howling vocals of both Freeman and Sanville make for a really captivating and engaging song.
It's a sing-along track that still conveys a strong and emotional undertone; making it the perfect song to show that this band can not only write a catchy track but deliver it in a way that still showcases just how raw the emotions of the lyrics are.
Album: Honest And Cunning
5. “How Do You Know It’s Not Armadillo Shells?”
The four-piece threw listeners for a loop when dropping this vocal heavy song. It's easily a different sound than the rest of the album, and while it stands out for its vocal-heavy delivery and toned down instrumentals, it still fits the mould of the band's catchy and lyrically-driven sound.
With Sanville's raspy and dynamic vocals, paired with the experimental keys and rhythms, it makes for this track to be one of the most catchy and diverse in the band's entire catalogue. While it's different, it still keeps that classic HM flair, you know, with the interesting song name and roaring delivery of the lyrics.
This track is a clear definition of what it means to be a punk in today's scene. The band took a risk in the track and it clearly paid off.
6. “I Replied To Tyler With Three Blue Cars”
This song is truly a masterpiece.
It's a gritty song that delivers a punch, between the band's raw delivery of the vocals and the hard-hitting lyrics, it's hard not to feel some sort of way after listening to it.
While it's more on the slower side of things, that doesn't stop it from being one of the rawest songs that can get any crowd of 20-somethings going. It's easy to feel the pain and discontent of the band due to the angst-driven lyrics and screaming vocals, and you'll want to yell the lyrics right with along with them.
7. "Visited Salmon, I Mean Transit Balcony "
I debated throwing this song in this list, but it's just so good I couldn't pass it up when creating this list. The song is one of the band's earliest, and while you may find it not as mature sounding as something you might find in later Hot Mulligan songs, it's a track that really helped establish the band's pop mixed with punk and a little emo sound.
The song is fairly lively, with its upbeat pace and biting vocals, and it is one of those songs you can't help but scream the lyrics to.
8. "Deluxe Capacitor"
Before I give you my spiel about this wonderful track, I'd like to mention that the band also has re-energized, upbeat, take on the song, which you can listen to here.
Anyways, back to the acoustic version of the song...taking the time to slow things down, the band dropped this acoustic track that showcases that they are a band that can wear many hats, not just the upbeat emo punks that we've grown accustomed to throughout their catalogue.
The acoustic take on the song not only gives the band's vocalists Chris Freeman and Tades Sanville the opportunity to put their powerhouse vocals to the forefront of the song, it also allows the listener the time to really digest some of the lyrics, showing that not only does this band put out some fantastic songs, they also take pride in putting out deep lyrical content.
9. "All You Wanted By Michelle Branch"
You'll be surprised to find that this song isn't a cover of Michelle Branch's 2001 release "All You Wanted," but that doesn't mean you shouldn't check out this song (though I'm sure we all wouldn't mind seeing the guys tackle a real-deal cover of the song.)
The track is a lyrically-driven breakup anthem that the Lansing band has an arsenal of. The poignant track may be heavy, but that hasn't stopped the band from providing heavy guitar-driven riffs to make the sad song a vibe-worthy sing-along.
You'll want to add this song to your playlist (and yes, I hate myself for including this last line...)
One of the band's earlier songs, "Legen" is on the band's split record with Everyone Leaves. Since the song was featured on a record with another group, the band really focused in on what makes them unique.
Keeping their signature brand of pop mixed with a little emo, the little over a minute track is a fast-paced punk song that is raw and chopped full of emotion. With its gritty vocals and guitar heavy backing, you'll find that the quick song is one of the gems hidden in the band's catalogue.
It can be pretty hard finding the right songs to listen to when you first discover a band, but these 10 songs are the perfect introduction to Hot Mulligan!
Do you agree with my list? Let me know in the comments below!
This story was originally published in The Odyssey. You can read it here.
People may have said they were monkeying around, but that didn’t stop The Monkees from becoming one of television’s most influential shows of their time.
Debuting in September 1966, The Monkees were first created to capitalize off the success of Beatlemania, as reported by AV Club. In order to replicate the massive success of the Beatles, producers Bob Rafelson and Bert Schneider, decided to create the American version of the fab-four and they did so in the way of throwing together a group of four strangers that somehow managed to hit it off, making the show and the fictionalized band a force to be reckoned with during the tail end of the 1960s.
When it first came into fruition, the producers of the show knew they wanted four “insane” boys around the ages of 17 to 21 to act in a television series about a band trying to make it into the music industry, all the while documenting their hilarious misadventures along the way to becoming rock stars. With an ad that drew in a crowd of 400 plus boys to try out for the role, it eventually became an even split between actors and musicians when the final four were chosen. History.com cites that the show’s producers didn’t look at the musical or acting talent of the guys auditioning, rather they wanted four boys who could play themselves and after going through a whole mess of people, they finally settled on Davy, Micky, Peter and Mike.
Davy Jones and Micky Dolenz (who, might I add, is the current love of my life) started the band with more acting under their belts while Peter Tork and Mike Nesmith were the band’s musicians. The four may have came from varying backgrounds, yet that didn’t stop them from creating hilarious episodes every week adding trippy music video mid-show performances during each episode. That success didn’t stop just from the show either, the boys also managed to win two Emmy awards for the show, get three #1 hits on the Billboard Hot 100, outsell The Beatles and The Rolling Stones during their peak and they also, not to mention, have been able to steal the hearts of teen girls everywhere…50 years and counting.
Their success outside and inside the show cannot be argued with, yet there are some people who take problems with the “made for television” band. After the first season of the show, the band couldn’t have expected their success to take a hit. Unfortunately, The Monkees did face some controversy that still somewhat follows them to this day and that happened when news broke out that the band didn’t play their own instruments, nor did they write their own music. Labeling them as imposters and looking down at the massive success they managed to receive during their first year, the guys decided to officially take their show on the road, touring to show that they could be the real deal.
Throwing in one more season of the show and a movie called “Head” into the mix of Monkee madness, the band still has a legacy after all of these years. There’s countless reasons why the band were successful, and influential to the television industry, yet four things that really made The Monkees important was their appeal to the counterculture, the incorporation of music videos, the show’s narrative style, the story and their after episode segments.
For The Monkees, appealing to a younger crowd was definitely the way to go when they first debuted in 1966. The seeds of the hippie counterculture were just starting to make its appearance and having four long haired men playing rock and roll was just the right recipe for girls to fall in love and parents to hate every second of it. The added factor that the show featured no adult figures to stop the boys from pursuing whatever their next crazy antic, also added to their appeal. The timing, the boys themselves and the added factor of no adults helped appeal to the counterculture because it was a show that they could call their own, which is something parents probably didn’t like too much.
The show also played with narrative style. Each episode of the show, as Rosanne Welch points out in her book “Why The Monkees Mattered,” kept the viewers guessing because the show played with a variety of styles. The genre of each episode ranged from rom-coms to surrealist parodies, and it’s due to this that all 58 episodes were different from the next; if something happened in one episode, it was never mentioned in the next week’s show. The show also tried their hand at breaking the fourth wall, which isn’t something that many television creators like doing. Whether it be Micky walking off set to talk to the writers or Davy asking for his line, the show made sure the fans could realize that this isn’t your typical show.
Narratively speaking, the show was unlike anything that people have ever seen before, but that’s not the only thing that The Monkees’ creators did to set them a part from the rest. The show’s story, while not coherent, told the story of four guys just trying to make it into the music industry. It showed their struggles as a band and it had them in situations where they just had to make do and figure it out. It, in a way, helped people see just how much of a real life struggle it could be for musicians to make it big. Yes, while some of the crazy situations they faced wouldn’t be something all bands would deal with, it still helped future bands see that it’s okay to struggle in the cut throat world of music.
One of the most interesting things that the band did during their time on television is after episode segments where fans could get a look into the lives of the actual Mike, Micky, Davy and Peter. While they didn’t happen too often, if an episode ran short the guys would sit down and talk about wide range of topics – some fluff and some actual real-deal questions that gave their political views a chance to take the stage. The most documented and easily found after episode segment being the one where Micky talked about the Sunset riots, uh, demonstrations, saying that journalists only called them riots because riot is a four letter word. It was these types of after segment episodes where fans could really see where the boys were coming from and it gave them a further insight into them as people and not just their character on the show.
The most important out of all of these was the fact that the band practically created music videos, well, early music videos anyways. During each episode of the show, the guys would incorporate some music video-esque segment where they would play their biggest singles at the time. While some related to the episode at hand, others didn’t, yet it was something to look forward to during each episode. It was these music performances filled episodes that helped plant the seeds to what music videos would eventually become.
While the show started off as an idea to recreate the hype of The Beatles, nobody could imagine just how important The Monkees would be during their career. It’s been a little over 50 years since the boys debuted on the small screen and since then they’ve paved the way for other bands to try their hand at the ever evolving music industry. They may have faced some major backlash during their time as a band, but hey hey they’re The Monkees, after all.
Answering the phone with a quick hello, the bubbly duo of Ashley Blasko and Missy Long quickly ease their way into a 20-minute conversation about their indie rock act the Willow Tree.
The group formed a handful of years ago with Long and another person. About a year into the band's formation, Long met Blasko through church, and the pair hasn't looked back since.
After their fateful meeting in the church, the two didn't actually start playing music together until a little while later. According to Blasko, the first time the two sang together was in the church bathroom's shower pods while on a mission trip.
"I was humming to myself in the most makeshift little shower thing you've ever seen, and I hear in the one next to me a harmonizing hum. I'm like 'wow,' and then we started singing," Blasko said. "[After that,] she [Long] was like 'oh, that was you singing in there,' and I was like 'yeah, that was you singing in there too,' and then we actually played a song from the talent show on that mission trip and the rest just went from there."
After that initial performance, where Long noticed that Blasko was not only musically talented but that the two meshed really well, the pair soon began working on the Willow Tree as a newly put together duo.
Now a group for roughly six years, the two have been sure to keep the band something that blends their own style. Between the music they take inspiration from to the actual name of the band itself, both Blasko and Long have made sure that the band is an accurate representation of each of them.
The name, that Long came up with right from the start, was inspired by a science fiction, sort of "Beauty And The Beast"-inspired short story by Ursula Wills-Jones called "The Wicker Husband."
The book follows a magical sorcerer who makes a husband for a woman that isn't well-liked in her village. Creating the husband out of the bark of a willow tree, the town's people start to notice that the husband has caused the woman to become more beautiful and confident.
Wondering why he treats her so kind, the sorcerer explains that the reason for the husband's kindness is because he made him out of the bark of a willow tree, which is "the kindest and pliable tree," known to man. Finding the idea of this whimsical tale interesting, Long decided to name the band after the story.
"I thought it was an interesting concept and I feel like it was well rooted with us as far as a band," Long said. "As people, we just want to be kind to others, and through being friends with Ashley for so long, I know we've always tried to get along with each other and the people we meet. But I also feel like we're very strong individuals, like the willow tree being strong and pliable, and that's kind of who we are as people and I thought the message [from the story] was cool [and fit our band.]"
Story originally appeared on The Odyssey. You can see it here.