On-again, off-again Cleveland hip-hop icons Bone Thugs-N-Harmony are back together. An August 6 show at the Agora is intended to be the launch of a 20-date national tour. All four members of the group's most recent lineup, including the very publicly dismissed Bizzy Bone, are on board for the reunion.
"It took a lot of work to get these four guys back together," says Desmond Cummings, the promoter who organized the regrouping. "It took about 800 miles of driving, from Madison, Wisconsin, to Columbus, Ohio. All of them are at their best when they're together."
The group formed in the early '90s, signed to Eazy-E's Ruthless Records, and made a splash with the 1994 EP Creepin on ah Come Up, which featured the smash single "Thuggish Ruggish Bone." More hits, misses, breakups, and reconciliations followed. The group most recently reunited in fall 2002, when a tour collapsed following Bizzy Bone's inebriated appearance at a New York show. Bizzy was bounced from the band several months later.
"We're calling it a reunion tour," says Wish Bone. "But we never really broke up. We're family. The last reunion tour, we were trying to get our thing together. Now that we're free from Ruthless Records, we can enjoy it instead of it being a job. It was too much to bear at the time. This time, we're free-headed."
Wish, still based in Cleveland, has been concentrating on a record label, Thug Line Records, with Krayzie Bone. The two are working on a Krayzie solo album, which is slated for fall release, with a Wish disc to follow. If the tour works out, Wish says, more albums will follow.
· Victory Flag, the promising-but-MIA old-school crossover band, has officially disbanded -- not that there was much to disband, says guitarist Greg Van Krol, the sole remaining original member. "It's all new members, so Victory Flag had to be laid to rest. Now we're going to be Red Right 88. Soundwise, we're gonna continue to do what we do: tooth-chipping thrash. Nuclear Assault, D.R.I., the Crumbsuckers." The band draws it new name from the play that ended the Browns' 1980 season and also from a scrapped album written by Flag's final lineup.
· Many Cleveland bands have made it to New York City, but few trips ended as badly as the Boatzz's visit earlier this month. The soul punks parked their van, full of equipment, on a city street and later saw it drive past them. The group, comprising members of Solo Flyer and 30 Lincoln, has scheduled two shows with which it hopes to fund new gear: July 22 at the Hi-Fi (11729 Detroit Avenue, Lakewood) and August 6 at the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Boulevard, Cleveland Heights).
· Akron Idol and Rock Wars V have been relocated and renamed, moving from Akron's Voodoo to Kent's Club Khameleon (626 N. Water Street). The contests have been rebranded as NEO Idol (to reflect the Northeast Ohioness of it all) and Rock Rumble. Idol auditions run Wednesday, August 4, 11, and 18, with the competition beginning August 25. Rock Rumble launches August 3. For details, visit www.clubkhameleon.com.
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