Band of the Week: Skin & Bones

Meet the Band: Wael Barsoum (guitar/vocals), Will Morris (drums/panflute), Jeff Zika (guitar/vocals) and White Chocolate (bass/vocals)

Party Like It's 1999: When the band first formed in the late '90s, singer-guitarist Wael Barsoum was an orthopedics resident at the Cleveland Clinic. "We were sitting around on a Friday night and started playing," says Barsoum, who has been in bands since his high school days at the University School. The guys recruited a dermatologist and christened themselves Skin & Bones. "The biggest challenge was coming up with a name. It worked out okay."

Hip-hop Friendly: The group has plenty of classic rock tunes in its repertoire but it recently expanded to include alternative rock hits and has delved into hip-hop too. "We do some Eminem and Vanilla Ice and Coolio," says Barsoum. "I do some rapping and our bassist does some. The other guitarist, Jeff Zika, is much better. He's a pretty good rapper. He can improvise. He's our rap artist."

Why You Should Hear Them: The band used to play original material but Barsoum says it doesn't go over so well with fans that prefer classic pop and rock tunes. "The truth of the matter is that people aren't coming to hear our musical genius," he says. "They're coming out because they have had a long week and they want to blow off some stuff. We're not going to leave our day jobs and become rock stars. We just enjoy watching people have a good time. We do put our own spin on a lot of songs. We meld songs together. We use lyrics from one song and the melody from another."

Where You Can Hear Them:

Where You Can See Them: Skin & Bones performs as part of Doc-A-Palooza, a benefit for the Cleveland Clinic's Employee Hardship Fund, at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 13, at House of Blues.

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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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