"It's in the vein of the originals," frontman Mike Pierce says of The Time Has Come. "It's definitely '60s-style rock and roll. Everybody's saying, 'Your story's as good as the music.'"
Back in '66, the Alarm Clocks recorded a 45 called "Yeah." They sold some copies at high school dances and battles of the bands, where they'd cover favorites by the Kinks and Yardbirds. The single didn't take off, and the group broke up in 1967. Copies of the single circulated for years, and "Yeah" became a choice cover on the garage-rock circuit -- popular for its fierce, fun, screamed vocals. In 1983, Crypt Records' Back From the Grave featured both tunes alongside other nuggets.
In 2000, New York's Norton Records released Yeah, a CD that compiled the single and unreleased covers from the same sessions. Still, the band remained an underground secret. Even Pierce didn't know about the reissues and had all but forgotten about his former group by 2005. Then Tom Fallon, a Euclid guitarist who helped get the band on the Grave comp, tracked the members down and persuaded the group to reunite for a reunion show by the Choir, the group that prefigured the Raspberries. With Fallon supplementing the original trio, several well-received sets at festivals led to the new record.
The band has a deal with Norton for two more albums. Pierce says he's written 26 more songs, and the band plans to record its second reunion disc in early 2007, followed by festival shows.
* Cleveland's Telarc Records has received 14 Grammy nominations, including Best Contemporary Jazz Album (Mike Stern's Who Let the Cats Out?), Best Traditional Blues Album (Tab Benoit's Brother to the Blues), and Best Contemporary World Music Album (Ladysmith Black Mambazo's Long Walk to Freedom). Grammys will be awarded Sunday, February 11.
* After a three-year layoff, the Jeffrey Allens have risen from the dead. The ska ensemble will play Akron's Orange Street (951 N. Main Street) Thursday, December 28. "We just want to have fun," says singer Chris Cummings.
* Diana Tyler wrote the original Christmas song "He's Joseph" found on Best of Friends, the new Christmas mini-album by Christian country-bluegrass girl-group J3. Tyler has more downloadable holiday tunes at www.dianatyler.com
* The Rock Hall is running a Christmas music exhibit, with tunes and memorabilia from Louis Armstrong to Band Aid.
* Ripper Watch: Metal mag Hit Parader has ranked Tim "Ripper" Owens -- whose résumé includes glass-shattering vocals for Beyond Fear, Iced Earth, and Judas Priest -- among Heavy Metal's All-Time Top 100 Vocalists. Owens landed at No. 97, ahead of Buckcherry's Joshua Todd and Quiet Riot's Kevin DuBrow. Following a European tour, Owens has returned to the States and begun work on Iced Earth's next LP. "It is sounding killer, he says. "A lot of balls to it."
* Find breaking music news and an interview with Keelhaul drummer Will Scharf at www.clevescene.com/blogs.