Colin John Band Signs

Akron blues rockers go national.

Neil Hamburger Beachland Ballroom, 15711 Waterloo Road 9 p.m. Thursday, May 19; $8; 216-383-1124
Seen May 10, at the Agora: Garbage's Shirley Manson - and a rapt fan (top). - Walter  Novak
Seen May 10, at the Agora: Garbage's Shirley Manson and a rapt fan (top).
Akron's Colin John Band has signed to Graboy Records, a California-based independent label distributed nationally through Fontana Distribution, an arm of Universal Records.

"I like their music," says Graboy President Jeff Grabow, an industry veteran with long runs at Virgin and Warner Bros., who has also managed such artists as the late New York Dolls guitarist Johnny Thunders. "I get the albums in the right stores. The artist does what he has to do -- tour. And then it's up to the public. I want to hit that person in their 40s or 50s who likes old Foghat, who will like Colin John, if they know it's out."

Graboy Records' roster includes such up-and-coming blues artists and warhorses as Foghat and Blue Cheer. Grabow says the label plans to release 40 albums over the next year.

"We're a small label," says Graboy. "I don't need to sell a million copies. Major labels ship a million copies, and most of them are returned. I need my bands to sell 20,000 copies. I think that Colin could do that in the Midwest alone."

Acousticland Lady, John's latest album, will be released nationally on Tuesday, May 31, in a one-album deal with an option for a second. The band will play Fox 8's morning show Friday, May 20, followed by a show that night at Fat Fish Blue (21 Prospect Avenue). Wilbert's (812 Huron Road) will host a CD-release party on Friday, June 17. The band plays California's Monterey Blues Festival on June 26.

"I'm glad that we have a record that will be available for a wider audience now," says John. "I'll be happy if we can crack a few new markets and make some new fans in the U.S."

· Sappy Bell, Cleveland's rock-punk-metal standout, has parted ways with its management company, Cleveland's Hardcore Marketing. The band is currently shopping a three-song demo -- which was mixed by Logan Mader (Machine Head, Soulfly) -- through its attorney. Interested manager candidates can contact the band at

· The roots rockers of Rosavelt are still planning to issue their fourth album this fall, but in the meantime, they'll drop a disc that was almost released as their third LP. The unreleased album, Goodbye Rollercoaster, was originally recorded before 2004's The Story of Gasoline and will be available only regionally. (More details at

· Quote of the Week: In the latest issue of Rolling Stone, former Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant singles out Akron's Black Keys as one of his favorites. "I'd love to play bass for them for a bit," he says in an interview. In other news, the Keys have joined the lineup of this summer's Zooma tour, featuring Trey Anastasio, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, Jurassic 5, and others. The fest will hit Blossom on Wednesday, July 17.

· Mushroomhead has set a July 26 release for its first DVD, Mushroomhead: Volume I. The disc will feature the videos for "Sun Doesn't Rise," "Solitaire/Unraveling," "Along the Way," and "Eternal," plus live footage, offstage clips, and new videos. The band plans to have its next album ready for a fall release. "The new stuff is coming along really strong," says programmer Steve "Skinny" Felton. "One of the songs is dark -- we've done dark stuff before, but this is like slit-your-wrists-in-the-bathtub dark."

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