Dayton punk group the Migraines reunite, possibly for the last time

Published: Thursday, May 18, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

There’s a time and place for political correctness. Where exactly the parameters are shall likely be an eternal debate. But somewhere in between a lighthearted joke and going too far lies the music of The Migraines.

The punk band, which started in Ft. Wayne, Indiana in 1992, eventually became every bit as much a Dayton group. This Friday, Daytonians James Rouch (guitar), George Bradley (bass) and Nathan Bush (drums) will reunite with singer Shawn Browning for their 25th anniversary. It could be their last Dayton performance ever.

“I’m kind of getting the impression (Shawn) may be thinking about not doing any more. This may be it,” Rouch said.

“We’re all in other things. The band isn’t together anymore,” Bradley added. “This is just a fun nostalgia trip. These might literally be the last ever Migraines (shows). Who knows if we’ll do a 30th?”

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Bradley joined The Migraines right before the band’s second album was released in 1996, and eventually recruited Rouch and Bush as other members dropped off. It would be the start of many firsts for the then twentysomething musicians: first time playing out of Ohio, first time playing across the country, and even the first time playing with their heroes. 

“It was really weird to be up on stage and see Marky Ramone (The Ramones) and Jerry Only (Misfits) standing out there in the audience,” Bradley said.

Though The Migraines were serious about their music, their message was always with tongue planted firmly in cheek, while playfully adopting the classic Ramones model right down to the stage names. Songs like “P.C. Girl”, “She Bought New Boobs” and “Fraternity Boy” were meant to poke fun at what the band saw as silly in the ‘90s.

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“The Migraines were an irreverent, sophomoric, juvenile, silly, fun punk rock band,” Bradley explained. “Most of our catalog, if a new young band came out (with it) right now, they’d get so much flak. They’d be considered so offensive. What’s socially acceptable has changed. I’m glad we’re thinking about people’s feelings. But where do you draw the line?”

“Sometimes you’ve got to be like, let’s just have some fun. It doesn’t matter. It’s just a song! Laugh!” Rouch said.

The band slowly began to dissolve after Bradley left in 1999 to form the horror punk band The Jackalopes. Rouch, now of Dayton’s The Nuckles, stayed with the group for a short time  as The Migraines morphed into a straight rock band, before Browning changed the focus to Christian rock.

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“Shawn has always been the straight guy. He was never the wild tattoos, drunk, crazy guy. He was always the adult on the road. He was band dad,” Bradley remembered. 

But the members all remained friends and stayed in contact over the years, which led to a reunion show in 2012. Now, on what would have been Joey Ramone’s 66th birthday, they’re back to play what seems like the last series of shows in Dayton and Ft. Wayne, respectively. The group is also celebrating the recent release of every song they’ve ever recorded on their Bandcamp site.

“You get in a minivan full of equipment with four guys and go on the road for a month or two, they become family. You love them. Sometimes you hate them,” Rouch joked.

“The only reason we’re doing it is not only because of our love of the material, but of each other. These guys were my brothers,” Bradley said. 

Sometimes you can go back to your 20’s again -- if only for a few nights at a time.

WANT TO GO?

What: The Migraines 25th Anniversary Show with Legbone, Bribing Senators, The Give-Ups, FBS

Where: Rock Star Pro Arena, 1106 E. Third St., Dayton

When: Friday, May 19,  7 p.m. (doors)

Cost: $10 at door, $8 presale 

Dayton artists to recreate classic Talking Heads concert film for worthy cause

Published: Wednesday, April 12, 2017 @ 6:00 AM

It’s a daunting task to attempt to recreate a classic, regardless of the art form. But that’s what more than a dozen musicians will attempt to do this weekend at Oddbody’s Music Room in Riverside when they pay tribute to the Talking Heads concert film Stop Making Sense

Originally released in 1984, the Jonathan Demme-directed rock film captures the innovative Rock & Roll Hall of Famers over three nights while supporting their Speaking In Tongues album. 


Local executive producer Libby Ballengee, along with Dayton musician Patrick Himes, are shooting for the most authentic stage recreation possible with the This Must Be The Party! Talking Heads Tribute.

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“Musically, we’re trying to get it as close as humanly possible. Some of the sets and lights are a little out of our budget, because this is a fund-raiser,” Ballengee explained.

Proceeds for the show will benefit the Dayton Ballet Barre, an organization that supports the Dayton Ballet and its dancers. So, while the original was filmed on a budget of $1.2 million — raised by Talking Heads band members themselves — this event will have a considerably smaller bankroll. 


“Most of these arts fundraisers (have) really big ticket prices, and that’s great because they raise tons of money. But this particular one we’re trying to make affordable so the musicians’ friends can come, but also so people in different economic groups can help support the arts as well,” Ballengee added.

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The tribute idea sprung out of conversations Himes had with other musicians. Ballengee got wind of the notion, and it all snowballed from there.

“We had kind of just been discussing how much fun this would be to do. I think word got out that we were talking about that,” joked Himes.

So in January Himes began assembling musicians and conducting rehearsals while he and Ballengee plotted out how and where to make it all happen.

“It was pretty clear we wanted Oddbody’s, because they have the greatest PA and the biggest stage. We knew if we were going to try and get as close as possible to the original, we’d need room to work and have a powerful enough PA to make it work. (Oddbody’s) has always been cool about stuff like that,” Himes said.

While the band, which includes both local and out-of-town musicians, may be static, the part of Talking Heads singer and songwriter David Byrne will be handled by five different performers. The various takes on the enigmatic lead singer should be worth the ticket price alone.

“Jeff Opt (of Yellow Cab Tavern) said that’s been one of the ongoing issues — the energy level for one person to do David Byrne all night,” said Ballengee. “So (the part of) Byrne is going to rotate.”

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Given the holiday weekend, the show is scheduled to start at 9 p.m and end by 11:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased from Oddbody’s in advance or at the door the day of the show.

Ballengee also hinted that there could be a few surprises in store, with Dayton Ballet dancers also taking part.

“This is some of the (most fun) music to dance to, and we didn’t want to be in a venue that had seats that were going to make that difficult. So it’s kind of a dance party for the dancers.”

WANT TO GO?

What: This Must Be The Party! Talking Heads Tribute

Where: Oddbody’s, 5418 Burkhardt Rd., Riverside, 937-813-4272

When: Saturday, April 15, 8 p.m. (doors)

Cost: $15 presale/$20 at door. Purchase tickets here.

Dayton music fest is back, bigger and better than ever

Published: Thursday, March 02, 2017 @ 12:31 PM

Chicago's Haymarket Riot will bring their powerful set to this year's Not Much More Than Awesome Again Festival
Contributed

Anyone who’s ever tried to organize a music festival knows Murphy’s Law inside and out. Nearly a decade ago, Dayton musician Joe Anderl, picking up where the Much More Than Music Festival of the '90s left off, organized his Not Much More Than Awesome Festival. It was a one-shot deal — or so many would have thought.

Several months ago, Anderl decided to revisit his concept, bringing bands with punk and hardcore leanings back to town in the form of the Not Much More Than Awesome Again Festival.

He’s found the process much more of a relief than a hassle, using his contacts and old friendships to bring a harder-edged indie sound back to the area for a two-day, 13-band bill, at Yellow Cab Tavern in the Oregon District this weekend.

“The average age of the band members is a lot higher (than the first festival). It’s been fun. In dealing with more seasoned musicians, it becomes a lot easier,” Anderl said.

“People are real honest real quick.”The festival is a showcase of both local and regional bands who’s sounds are reminiscent of the Dischord Records-era groups that became far more influential than they ever were commercially viable. Anderl has put together an eclectic mix of bands for this edition.

“From the local side, I tried to make it a little bit different with who I booked with whom,” Anderl said. “Dayton is a finite community when it comes to indie rock. So I was trying to change it up in the mixture of who we play with.”

The very thought of bands like Haymarket Riot (Illinois), Kill Surf City (Indiana) and Yard Boss (Michigan) mixing with more experimental groups like Primitives (Columbus) and XL427 (Dayton) conjures up memories of punk and art-rock shows at Dayton’s long-departed, but fondly-remembered (mostly) Brookwood Hall. 

“It’s a little bit of a different flare to indie rock, especially from the out-of-town side. We wanted bands that have little bit more throwback to the mid -90s hardcore and punk scene — a bit more angularly aggressive — which I don’t think this town gets a lot of,” said Anderl.

Anderl’s choice of venue also brings back that Brookwood Hall feeling — only much better in every way.

“Yellow Cab is pretty much the closest we have to something (like Brookwood Hall), where it’s run in an old-school punk aesthetic, if you will. They’re real open to creative ideas (and) different things. The space is just friendly to booking an event. It still has that same sort of feel,” he said.

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Anderl’s band, The 1984 Draft, will close out both nights with two entirely different sets. You can find a complete listing of bands and performance times here.

“Mid-level to higher level indie bands — I think they’ll find, when they come to Dayton, it’s a really appreciative music scene and they’ll want to come back,” Anderl added.

WANT TO GO?

What: Not Much More Than Awesome Again Festival

Where: Yellow Cab Tavern, 700 E. 4th St., Dayton

When: March 3-4

Cost: $5 (Friday), $7 (Saturday)

Dayton band grows up with new album

Published: Wednesday, March 01, 2017 @ 11:07 AM

Wisdom and experience may change the focus of songwriting, but it doesn’t have to change the level of passion the musician has. That’s where Dayton’s Bribing Senators find themselves now in life and on their first full-length CD, Songs For A Disappearing Class. So last year, the band — then a trio — went into Patrick Himes’ Reel Love Recording Studios to record the album, but Bruce Hull (bass/vocals), Justin Roseberry (guitar/vocals) and Dave Pope (drums) were intent on taking their time in crafting it. 

“We didn’t want to rush anything or put out anything we weren’t absolutely happy with. That’s why we took a year to record it. We wanted to make sure everything was exactly what we wanted. We didn’t want to compromise anything,” Roseberry said.

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They found the right man for the job in Himes, who engineered the sessions and put the band through their paces to get the most out of them.

“He’ll make you do stuff more times than you think you need to do it, but he’ll fool you about it. But what he’s really doing is getting more takes he really likes,” Hull said.

“We came into this thinking our vocals might not be good enough to not use Auto-Tune. But Patrick was really able to coach us into harmonies that work,” Roseberry added.

The band had such a great rapport with Himes, they made him a full-fledged member of the group on guitar.

THE SONGS

Songs For A Disappearing Class shows both how the band members have matured as songwriters and in their personal lives. According to Bribing Senators, they never just sit down to write songs. The ideas come when they come, and often result in Hull and Roseberry trading those ideas through cell phone messages. A majority of the subject matter on the 10-song album deals with things that happen to many of us on the other side of 30. 

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Growing Up”, a song salvaged from a previously unreleased EP and re-recorded, details Roseberry watching his daughter mature, while “Graduation Day” covers his struggle to balance professional life and quality time with his family.

“You make sacrifices to do better for your kids,” Hull said. “That’s what it’s about. That’s what rock and roll is — it’s from the heart. It’s personal. It’s got emotion, feeling and passion.”

Life Without Fear” is Hull’s lesson to himself to move forward and let go of things that hampered him in the past, while he pushes for more love and understanding in “War Torn World.

Into Your Intuition” tugs at the heartstrings as a father tries to reassure his daughter through rough times.

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“Having not been a writer on the album, hearing them from an outsider’s standpoint, most of the songs are situational to (being) blue-collar, middle class situations. It’s about jobs. It’s about family. It’s about normal struggles that we all have,” Himes said.

OVERALL

All the band’s previous fears of vocal ineptitude are soundly put to rest on this release. Brilliant harmonies delivered from someplace deep down grace the album from front to back. The classic American post-punk hooks make the album very accessible, and the production is slick, but not too slick. 

Bribing Senators fans, old and new, will get their first chance to own a copy of Songs For A Disappearing Class on Friday, March 3 at Blind Bob’s (with The New Old Fashioned and Lovely) and again on Saturday, March 11, at Oscar’s Bar & Grill (with Move Home and The Blind Cavalry) in Vandalia. The band chose to have a CD release event at both venues because they consider both their “home”, so to speak. 

Pope says this document of his fellow band members’ lives has been every bit as entertaining to help create from inside the group as it is to listen outside of it.

“It’s about raising your daughters and finding your way in life. It kind of brings together where we are in life right now, growing up where we are in Dayton.” 

This Dayton music fest continues tradition of great acts

Published: Thursday, December 29, 2016 @ 6:00 AM

Mark McMillon wasn’t thinking about creating a long-running rock fest when he came up with the idea for HoliDayton, the 14th version of which will happen this Friday at Blind Bob’s at 430 E. Fifth St.. He just wanted to play a local show.

“To be honest, the first year we did it, it was like, ‘Let’s throw a festival at the end of the year.’ We didn’t really have any plans for it to be a thing like an annual event,” singer and guitarist for Dayton band The Story Changes  explained.

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McMillon, along with drummer Christopher “Poppy” Lee, typically spent every year on the road playing shows in venues of all sizes from coast to coast. So, when they came back to Dayton to be with family and friends, it only made sense to throw a big show together to perform in front of, and often times with, those same people.

“We knew lots of friends were in town from traveling. Dayton is one of those places where you never really get away too far, but everyone kind of moves away at some point and comes back for the holidays,” McMillon said.

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So they put together what became the HoliDayton festival, with two stages at the now closed Elbo’s and Chin’s bar and restaurant. Acoustic acts would perform in one room, with the louder groups performing in the other. McMillon said he modeled the event off another Dayton rock tradition.

”I always really admired what Jamy Holiday (Haunting Souls, Luxury Pushers) did with the Monster Hop (at Canal Street Tavern). I always thought that was a really cool Dayton thing. Growing up in the scene, that was something all of us could look forward to,” he said.

Ten acts, including Goodnight GoodnightJasper The Colossal and Me & Mountains will join The Story Changes for this year’s festival. The venue has changed and the format has been adjusted a bit, but there’s still two “stages”, with one band playing on the main stage and another playing on the floor level, similar to the old days of playing punk shows at bingo halls. 

“That’s kind of what it feels like. We tend to get the bands that have that cool, indie vibe that want to (play) the floor,” Lee said. 

HoliDayton’s reputation for good  lineups with solid turnouts has made the event a magnet for local bands. There’s no shortage of acts who want to be a part of the festival, though having to a be a grownup does get in the way at times.

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“It’s not as hard to get people that want to play,” Lee began. “It’s harder to get people that (have) their entire band is in town, because, as we’re getting older, they’ll have families and have to go out of town to be with the spouse’s family possibly.”

“This year, within five days, everyone got back to me right away,” McMillon added.

While some of the bands of HoliDayton may be getting a little older, the result has always been positive. Lee says that’s why bands and fans alike keep coming back.

“It has a brand now. Everybody kind of knows that it’s going to happen. It’s just a fun, big show.”

WANT TO GO?

What: HoliDayton

Where: Blind Bob’s, 430 E. Fifth St., Dayton

When: 8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 30

Cost: $7

More info: 937-938-6405 or www.blindbobs.com