Band of the Week: Otep

Band of the Week: Otep
Photo by PR Brown

MEET THE BAND: Otep Shamaya (vocals), Ari Mihalopoulos (guitar), Justin Kier (drums), Andrew Barnes (bass)

A NEW TARGET: When Otep first formed in Los Angeles in 2000, Shamaya took aim at George W. Bush, during the time he was in office. On the band's new album, Kult 45, she's now directed her attention to President Trump. "He's just a wannabe bully," says Shamaya. "He's one of those people who talks a bunch of shit. He's a trust fund baby. He's never been in a fight. His hands are softer than a baby's foot. He never served in the military. He got deferrals. He was okay with allowing someone else to defend his country on his behalf. It shows you what kind of a hideous character this person is. I don't called him President Trump. I call him Resident Trump. He just resides in the White House. He wasn't elected. He lost the popular vote."

RAW POWER: For Kult 45, the band uses several of the instruments it used on its very first album. The group also self-produced the album. "For this album, it's personal," says Shamaya. "Our guitarist is the son of an immigrant. Under the Trump administration, his father would've probably never made it here, and we probably wouldn't have made all this wonderful music together. We wanted to keep the overall sound organic and warm."

WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM: "We play a mixture of old and new songs on this tour," Shamaya says, adding that Kult 45 comes out the day of the Cleveland show. She effectively raps on Rage Against the Machine tracks such as "Halt Right" and "Molotov," tunes that feature beefy guitar riffs and heavy percussion. "Fans have only heard the two singles we've released, but they really respond well when I ask them if they want to hear more songs from the new album." Shamaya says the fans who have been coming to the shows seem "very empowered." "Four million young people will be able to vote in November," she says. "Since Congress can't control that orange colostomy bag who daily commits treason against the country, it's up to the American people to do that. Protecting our democracy and exercising our right to vote is very important."


WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: Otep performs with the Battle, Eyes for Humanity and Nekronik at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, July 27, at the Odeon.

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Jeff Niesel

Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].
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