Makin' the Scene

Boodah's Toothbrush singer Jake Simms thought he landed in Mayberry when the band descended on Newton Falls to record at Tune Town studios. "Aliens could have flown out our butts and we would have been less suspicious," he says.

The funk band trades heavily in alien imagery. Simms says he grew up in a house where galactic funk monsters like P-Funk provided the dinner music. And most of the guys in the band hail from small towns around Northeast Ohio, where they often felt like outsiders. "I think we went with space funk because we've always been alienated," Simms says.

Boodah's Toothbrush took almost a year to finish its new CD, Shipwrecked on Planet Earth. The band went into the studio complete neophytes. "It was like driving a bus with no wheels, a drunk driver, and no gas in the tank," Simms says. But under engineer Mike Talanca's steady hand, Boodah's Toothbrush was able to capture the sound of a band confident in its young, funky self.

Together two years, Boodah's Toothbrush has had a number of lineup changes. Simms counts three bass players, two drummers, and multiple horn players who have come and gone. Singer Ayisha Lacey, who appears on the record, has also left; Simms says the band is looking for a brassy female vocalist who can tolerate long van rides with a bunch of dudes to take her place. He's philosophical about the turnover. As someone once told him, "If you're having problems with people, you've got to get them out of the way and keep going, or you'll go down the drain with them."

The band's CD release party is Wednesday, February 24, at Screwy Louie's in Kent; Axis opens.

Longtime Agora Marketing Director Johan, the last remaining employee to work at the old Agora, is leaving PromoWest. "I've had a fantastic time working at the Agora, but the music business has changed dramatically in the last few years, and I thought it was time for me to make a change," he said in a press release Monday.

Johan (full name: Linas Johansonas) promoted shows at the Agora for fifteen years. Not to date him or anything, but the first concert he worked was the Plasmatics. Among his most cherished rock and roll memories, Johan lists meeting David Bowie, touring with Humble Pie as a roadie, working with Henry LoConti Sr. and Plain Dealer icon Jane Scott, and whisking Meat Loaf from the airport to the Nautica Stage when the jiggling singer's plane was late.

Johan's last day is February 27. His duties will be handled by Jen Walker, who works in PromoWest's Columbus office.

Jacor Communications is bringing in one of its own to be the new program director at WMMS/100.7-FM. Tony Tilford, the PD at WKQQ, a rock station in Lexington, Kentucky, starts the job March 1. Operations Manager Greg Ausham has been the acting program director at the Buzzard.

"If someone told me ten years ago I'd be the program director of 'MMS, I'd probably still be laughing," says Tilford, 35. He grew up in Newport, Kentucky, and has worked at WKQQ for thirteen years, which is a lifetime in radio. Tilford says the Buzzard might have lost its focus under its previous owner, but "It's becoming a great rock and roll station again."

Though he hosts the afternoon drive show in Lexington, Tilford won't be on the air in Cleveland, at least not at first. Rest easy, classic rock heads; Tilford doesn't sound ready to mothball Toys in the Attic or Cat Scratch Fever. "Good rock and roll music is good rock and roll music, whether it was recorded in '69, '79, or '99."

Alternative Press Senior Editor Jason Pettigrew will watch proudly when Fifty Tons of Black Terror brings its malevolent garage rock to the Grog Shop February 28 with Groop Dogdrill. In 1996, Pettigrew and his wife flew to London and checked Fifty Tons out. A year later, he put out a six-song CD by the band on his Lakewood-based Carcrashh Records label. Back then, the band was known as Penthouse. The disc, titled Recks, cobbled together the band's British singles.

Just as Pettigrew was readying the release of Recks, Penthouse was negotiating a deal with the Los Angeles-based World Domination label. Apparently, the literary scholars at Penthouse magazine got wind of the band and cried copyright infringement. Skittish Bob Guccione would bring down the legal hammer, World Domination didn't put out the record, and the band changed its name.

Fifty Tons eventually signed to Beggars Banquet, and is now touring in support of Demeter. Even if Fifty Tons goes "completely ultra mega big time," Pettigrew hesitates to think he's sitting on a treasure. "It's taken me this long to move a hundred copies." Recks, offending band name and all, is available locally, and it comes recommended.

Leave Northeast Ohio, sign a record deal. So it went for former Akron resident Rob Shreve, who moved to Jacksonville, Florida, almost two years ago. When he lived in Akron, Shreve played in Full Tilt and Liquid Park, but neither group was able to make much headway. "I played the bars for so long, people get sick of seeing your face," Shreve says.

In Florida, the 33-year-old put together an alternative band called G.D.I.. Shreve says Solutions Records, a label in Philadelphia, inked the band to a four-album deal. Power should be available in the spring.

At one point in his life, Shreve never thought he'd play music again. In 1990, shortly after he switched from guitar to bass, an industrial accident cost Shreve the third and fourth digits on his left hand. "I just thought it was all over," he says. "After a year of rehab and a year of feeling sorry for myself, I started to play guitar again."

Shouting Mountain was nominated in six categories, including Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Artist/Group, for the Native American Music Awards. The ceremony will be held June 19 at the Foxwoods Reserve Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut.

Michael Belkin of Belkin Productions was named Promoter of the Year by Pollstar magazine. The honor is named for the late, legendary promoter Bill Graham.

A Cleveland Fire Department benefit for the Muscular Dystrophy Association will double as a CD release party for punk-popsters the Unknown. Still Unknown, the Unknown's third full-length CD, features a rough but peppy version of the theme to Three's Company. The Regal Beagle wasn't available, so the Unknown, Under the Tree, and Ruff Road will play the Phantasy Nite Club on Saturday, February 20. Each band features at least one member of the CFD, so watch where you extinguish your Kools.

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