Friends and students of Greg Stiles will play a benefit for his family on Thursday, March 11, at the Beachland Ballroom (15711 Waterloo Rd.). Stiles, who owned Heights Guitars in Cleveland Heights and sang for the Crooked River Fire Brigade, passed away suddenly in February, just weeks after he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He would have turned 61 this month.
"He was the center of a music community," says Mifune guitarist Jacob Fader, a Heights Guitars employee who's organizing the event. "He brought a lot of people together. You didn't get the full scope of how many lives he touched until the funeral."
Stiles' February funeral at Beachland Presbyterian Church was one of the church's largest events ever. It drew clients and students who knew him from 38 years as a teacher at Cleveland School of the Arts and 20 years as the owner of his shop.
Heights Guitars, located at 2128 Lee Road, just off Cedar Road, is temporarily closed. It specialized in vintage and custom instruments. Customers visited from as far away as Japan. Stiles was also an ace repairman whose speed matched his skill.
The show will feature the Whiskey Daredevils, Mifune, Living Stereo, and a group of Stiles' students playing as Shakka Hasbury & Friends. Doors open at 8 p.m. All proceeds benefit his wife and four children.
The Happy Dog (5801 Detroit Ave.) has rebooted and has a new trio of bookers. Overseeing shows are partner Sean Kilbane, Clovers (formerly Other Girls) drummer Greg Boyd and HotChaCha frontwoman Jovana Batkovic. "It is now totally sweet to play the Dog," says Batkovic. "No more jammy-jam-jam crap."
The Suede Brothers play Nemeth's Lounge (40 N. State St., Painesville) on Saturday, March 13. They're opening for New York City's the Brought Low, whose new album, Third Record, plays like a collection of Tom Petty B-sides. The Suedes also have a third LP that should be ready for release by May. "The last album, we weren't completely happy with that batch of songs," says frontman/guitarist Dylan Francis. "I think we figured out how to write songs and keep them heavy and blues-based."
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