Band of the Week: Ottawa

Meet the Band: Dale DeLong (vocals), Will Hopper (guitar), Tim Czajka (guitar), Chris Williams (bass), Steve Crobar (drums)

Previous Projects: Most of the band members used to play in the local indie-pop band the Royaltons. That group split up and the guys eventually gravitated back together to form Ottawa. "We kind of broke up, or just ended in cliché band fashion," says DeLong when asked about the Royaltons. "I got a call about 18 months ago from Tim who wanted to start a new project. Since that phone call, it's been straight momentum. It just seems like we're all on the same page and have the same goals. We were a lot younger then and we didn't know what hard work was. We thought we'd just get discovered walking around the mall or something. We realize now that we do have what it takes to be a touring band."

Influences: The band cites acts such as Portugal the Man and the Talking Heads as influences. As DeLong explains it, band members each have different influences. "Tim in particular is really into Wilco and My Morning Jacket and you can hear that in his riffs," he says. "Will is very '90s rock. He likes Oasis and some Motown stuff. I have no idea what Steve listens to. Chris is all over the place, from indie to classic rock. He likes Rush and King Crimson. I'm the most pop person. I'm a sucker for big songs. I love classic rock like Tom Petty and Fleetwood Mac. The first time I saw New Kids on the Block, I knew that's what I wanted to do."

Why You Should Hear Them: The band's new EP offers a nice distillation of its influence. "The Good Kind" has a bit of Black Keys-inspired garage blues and a real swagger to it as its beefy bass riff propels the track. "Lie to Me" starts slow and builds in intensity as DeLong sings, "I'm giving up on getting old." "There's a theme," says DeLong. "When we were in the Royaltons, I went through a partying phase. My dad used to tell me I wasn't going to live that long living like that. 'Lie to Me' is an evolution of the person I was at 23 to the person I am at 29."

Where You Can Hear Them:

Where You Can See Them: Ottawa performs with Midnight Passenger, Cities & Coasts, Johnny LaRock and Furface at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 5, at the Beachland Ballroom.

Like this story?
SCENE Supporters make it possible to tell the Cleveland stories you won’t find elsewhere.
Become a supporter today.

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].
Scroll to read more Local Music articles

Join Cleveland Scene Newsletters

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