Join the Cleveland Scene Press Club. Because No News is Bad News.

Vacancy Filled 

Cleveland punkers replace drummer, go multimedia.

Alive and moping: The Cure's Robert Smith, at - Blossom, August 4. - WALTER  NOVAK
  • Walter Novak
  • Alive and moping: The Cure's Robert Smith, at Blossom, August 4.
Cle-punkers the Vacancies have added drummer Angelo Merendino, replacing Sean Watkins. Merendino has spent the last two years in Cleveland after touring with Nashville rockabilly groups. The skinsman has a jazz background, but prefers to hit hard. Bassist Jeff Kovatch says that Merendino's learning curve was short.

"He's a photographer, and he'd been shooting pictures of us for a while," Kovatch explains. "We auditioned other drummers, and he casually mentioned that he'd like to try out. He came to the audition and ripped the whole CD without a flaw, so he was in."

The Vacancies will hold a release party for their first DVD September 9 at Peabody's (2083 East 21st Street). The untitled video EP will feature cuts for two tracks from the band's current demo. Directed by John Turk, the live-wire "Rise Up" features grainy, black-and-white footage from a show at the Pirate's Cove. "Radio Revolution," directed by Chris Wiegand, is a bright concept clip laid out, à la American Splendor, like a comic book. Both videos will eventually be available on

"With the addition of a second guitar player, we have more of a technical edge," says Kovatch. "Bo [Bowersmith] gives it a more lyrical, melodic quality, but it's still no-nonsense, rock-and-roll punk."

· It's going around: Cleveland-based heavyweights Chimaira have replaced recently added pummeler Richard Evensand with Kevin Talley, formerly of thrashers Misery Index and Dying Fetus. Evensand left Sweden's Soilwork in January for the opportunity to tour with the internationally hot Chimaira. He joined them in Cleveland, practicing for the band's co-headlining slot with Machine Head on Roadrunner Records' Road Rage tour, which launched last week at the Odeon.

Chimaira's label, Roadrunner Records, attributed the split to problems with Evensand's visa.

Talley came with impeccable references -- Slayer guitarist Kerry King recommended him.

· Acerbic funnyman David Cross (Arrested Development, Mr. Show) is directing the first clip from the Black Keys' forthcoming Rubber Factory album. The video for "10 A.M. Automatic" was produced by Harvey Gold, who played in Tin Huey with Keys drummer Patrick Carney's Uncle Ralph. The Keys will play the Beachland Ballroom October 9 and 10.

· 18-year-old singer-songwriter Will Bowen has signed a publishing deal with Pure Tone Music Publishing, a New Jersey-based publishing division of Pure Tone Music, which is run by former Arista and Epic records executive Pete Ganbarg.

· Cleveland's newest punk club is homeless. Organizers of the Jam rented the former location of metal record store Extreme Musick, in Lakewood's Phantasy complex -- home to the Symposium, Phantasy, and Chamber nightclubs -- with plans to open a DIY, no-alcohol, all-ages punk pit and practice space at the end of July. The project's masterminds had scheduled nationally touring underground bands, including California's Lifelong Tragedy. But the spot's ownership pulled the plug when they realized that the performances would be open to the public. The Jam's organizers have rescheduled some shows for the nearby 10-34 Club and hope to find another space soon.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.

Latest in Makin' the Scene

More by D.X. Ferris

Read the Digital Print Issue

September 23, 2020

View more issues

Most Popular

No recently-read stories.

Visit the archives…


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


Staff Pick Events

  • Open Turntable Tuesday @ The Winchester

    • Tuesdays