The Heart of Rock & Roll Isn't in Cleveland: An Open Letter About Lame Music Venues That Don't Like Rock

Dear Editors of Scene -

What's up guys! This is Lou "Loogie" Galbencia writing in about something that's been plaguing me like the plague and my eczema - the totally unprofessional behavior of the Beachland Tavern and their sucky policies towards bands.

As a professional guitarist, vocalist and merch/logo designer for over 30 bands in the last 20 years, I think I have some knowledge about what it takes to perform with all your balls. And it seems like the "Fat Cats" at the Beachland have those balls in their heads, not between their legs. (Where balls normally are.)

My band Fear Trajectory has been rocking asses for the past three months. We have a hybrid sound of KISS, Rammstien, AC/DC and the intro music to any WWE wrestler - in short, anything that pumps up a crowd and makes you feel something electric in your soul...and between your legs (your balls).

If you've ever watched those bands play live, you know there is a piece of stage craft that's a staple to any of their concerts: pyrotechnics. Can you imagine Ace Frehley bringing the hammer down on the first riff of "Rock and Roll All Night And Party Every Day" and NOT see 20-foot flames shoot up to the heavens? Maybe you CAN imagine it, but I don't want to live in that imaginary world.

Pyros = Rock, and no scientist would disagree. And not to put too fine a point on it, but the "Beach Bums" at the Beachland are NO scientists.

Fear Trajectory was slated to play in a "who's who" lineup of eight local acts last Tuesday night. It was to be the highly anticipated local kick-off date before a regional tour of bars across Dayton. Instead we were stopped dead in our tracks before we even started.

I knew they were going to make it tough for us when our roadie (my co-worker at the hearing aid factory, Kyle) started setting up our fog machines, laser projectors, and Sparksmaker 5000 cannons on the stage before the show started. Someone from the venue started spouting off baloney about how there "wasn't room on the stage" and "needing permits for that kind of thing."

Let me address these issues separately.

First off, we are not stage hogs. I had told all the other bands that night, repeatedly, that if they wanted to make use of our stage effects, to go ahead and go nuts with them. Fear Trajectory believes in sharing with the rest of the music family. In fact, we have shared a drum kit with every band we've ever gone on stage with. We've never even bought a drum kit -- we just ask whomever we're playing with to let us use theirs. It always works out, because it's a family, and families don't want their opening acts to sound like some dumb artsy space opera with no drums.

Secondly, permits? I didn't know I was talking to a city inspector! (Sarcasm alert! When I initiated a surprise "complaint meeting" later that night in the manager's office, I didn't see any city inspector certificates hanging on the wall.) Besides, my ex-brother-in-law was a volunteer fireman, and when I described our stage show to him he said it sounded "fine." I think he MIGHT know better than a bar manager about fire codes, but what do I know? (Sarcasm again.)

So when we took the stage at 7:30, I figured that we could meet in the middle. As we started in on our opening number (the take-no-prisoners political rocker "SCAMerica") I had Kyle run onstage holding the Sparksmaker 5000 in his arms -- not taking up any of their precious "stage room," to be clear -- and fire a couple rounds of awesome, party-starting sparks into the air.

Now look, I was as surprised as anyone that a ceiling could catch fire that easily. But whose fault is this? If you have an establishment with ceilings THAT low, don't you think that maybe you would make some effort to make it fire-proof? Since when do sparks start fires? It's a by-product of fire, not fire!

Well, try telling that to the owners and volunteer firemen who were all over us like stink on poop. (Including my ex-brother-in-law who showed up with the firemen and who VERY conveniently "didn't ever remember" saying it sounded "fine." That's literal family for you. Not even as giving as the music family.)

Short story long, we are now banned from the Beachland. In reality, we gave them a wake-up call about their dangerous facility. They say otherwise.

Please let this be a warning to other bands who are just trying to give the fans their money's worth stage-show-wise, that this venue will royally screw you over.

Please let this also serve as a wanted ad for a new bassist, since Mikey, Fear Trajectory's FORMER bassist, effectively quit the band when he called me "an idiot" after the show.

Rock on Cleveland. Love, Loogie.

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