E.T. Comes Home

Cleveland all-stars to play reunion gig.

Omarion (above) and excited fans, at CSU - Wednesday, July 27. - Walter  Novak
Omarion (above) and excited fans, at CSU Wednesday, July 27.
The Case of E.T. Hooley ("E.T. Hooley" for short) will reunite for the first time in 30 years to play a show Sunday, August 7, at the Savannah (30676 Detroit Road, Westlake). The band only recorded demos, but members of the group went on to play with the James Gang, Hall & Oates, Rod Stewart, Christine McVie, Delbert McClinton, and Bonnie Raitt, among others.

In three distinct manifestations, E.T. Hooley operated from 1968 to 1974, and its roots run even deeper into Cleveland's musical history. Most of the band members have connections to legendary jazz guitarist Bill deArango's self-titled music shop. The store spawned generations of players that collectively were known as the "Cleveland guitar mafia."

Inspired by Jimi Hendrix and Led Zeppelin's heavy, psychedelic take on the blues, the band initially featured guitarist Donnie Baker, singer Chip Fitzgerald, guitarist Dale Peters, and bassist Richard Shack. Hooley became a Cleveland staple, headlining bars and opening for national acts at the Agora. Adding ex-Ted Nugent drummer Kenny Mills, the racially mixed lineup reshuffled and gave rock a greater emphasis. After a brief move to California, the group returned to Cleveland and soon broke up. Peters joined the James Gang; Shack followed later. Singer Fitzgerald's smooth baritone was the sole original element in the third lineup.

"Our music was very blues-based," says late-era guitarist Todd Sharp, now a solo artist, who went on to play with Hall & Oates, Delbert McClinton, and Rod Stewart. "We were along the lines of what the Allman Brothers were doing at the time. It was all about Chip Fitzgerald's voice and the guitar solo -- the longer the better."

Members periodically return to Cleveland to play for deArango. Last year, a funeral for a Hooley roadie made the band decide to have a family reunion while they still could. Players from all three phases and special guests will perform songs from the band's catalogue.

· Chris' Warped Records has closed. Former show promoter and Spudmonsters guitarist Chris Andrews founded the store in 1984, and in the pre-internet age, the Lakewood shop was Cleveland's best place to find punk, goth, psychedelia, garage, and metal albums. In the '80s, the store hosted in-store appearances by acts such as Metallica, Henry Rollins, and Poison. After the 1990s alternative boom, Andrews sold the store. Warped stayed ahead of the curve, but couldn't maintain foot traffic.

· In its heyday, it was a hub of the underground music scene in town," says Dave Swanson, who managed the store from 1983 to 1993. "There was no place else in town that was carrying a lot of the stuff we had. It was very much part of a nationwide community of like-minded music fans."

· The street date of Mushroomhead's new Volume 1 DVD has been pushed back to August 9.

· Fistula drummer Corey Bing has a new boulder-heavy side project, Ultra Lord. The band is recording with Don Depew (GBV, J. Mascis, Cowslingers); you can see it live with Rue and Debris on Friday, August 5, at the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Boulevard, Cleveland Heights).

· Chimaira's thrashtastic new self-titled LP will be unveiled at a listening party on Tuesday, August 9, at Rockstar (upstairs at Peabody's, 2083 E. 21st Street). The band is on tour and won't be present -- but its guitar solos will.