Music » Makin' the Scene

Jammin' Again

The Midwest's first jam band reunites at the Grog Shop.

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Voting for change: R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe and - Bruce Springsteen, October 2 at Gund Arena. - WALTER  NOVAK
  • Walter Novak
  • Voting for change: R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe and Bruce Springsteen, October 2 at Gund Arena.
The Cleveland jam band Oroboros, which earned national acclaim over an 18-year career, will reunite for an October 16 show at the Grog Shop (2785 Euclid Heights Boulevard, Cleveland Heights).

"When we started, we were modeled on the Grateful Dead, like a family," says Jim Miller, who now fronts the jammin' blues outfit the JiMiller Band. "We all lived in a big house on Rushleigh Road. And we were a real anomaly for Cleveland at the time -- this was the height of the skinny-ties period."

Started in 1980, the band rotated lineups around three distinct cores of players. When the neo-hippie movement took off in the late '80s and '90s, so did Oroboros (pronounced "Ah-rob-a-russ").

"At the time, there was only us, Phish, and Max Creek. We had a really good run from '88 to '94. Elektra was talking to us, but they signed Phish instead. By 1994, I was feeling really crispy, and I started thinking about moving on."

The band broke up in 1998, its members splintering into groups including Dream Circuit, Carlos Jones and the P.L.U.S. Band, and the Michael Rotman Trio.

Talk of a reunion surfaced early this year, when members from overlapping lineups met at the funeral of founding Oroboros guitarist-songwriter Bill Cogan, who had died in a car accident.

The Grog Shop show will feature sets by Dream Circuit, the Michael Rotman Trio, and the JiMiller Band. Members of all the bands will make guest appearances, reprising Oroboros material and favorites from the Grateful Dead, culminating in a two-hour jam session.

· House of Blues Cleveland will open Friday, November 19, with a two-night stand by Bob Weir's RatDog and the Neville Brothers. The 1,000-capacity music hall/nightclub/restaurant will be at 308 Euclid Avenue, across from Pickwick & Frolic. It's expected to be a cornerstone of the East Fourth Street Project, which aims to revitalize Euclid as a destination district. Other upcoming shows include Marilyn Manson, Ministry, Al Green, Edwin McCain, Lewis Black, Better Than Ezra, Dierks Bentley, Alkaline Trio, and George Thorogood (see concert listings for details).

· Rikets, the melodic metal band fronted by Scott Rose (ex-Bedroom Allstars, Erase the Grey), has signed with L.A.-based Corporate Punishment Records, an independent label co-owned by former Chimaira manager Thom Haezart. Rikets' six-song EP Anything for the Devil drops on the internet November 23, with retail distribution to follow in 2005.

· Cleveland singer-songwriter Brian Straw will perform Friday, October 8, at the Beachland Tavern (15711 Waterloo Road), his final area show before moving to New York City. "I don't really want to say goodbye to Cleveland," says Straw, who will continue to collaborate with Kent post-rock instrumentalists the Six Parts Seven. "The community of like-minded individuals I've surrounded myself with here is what makes Cleveland for me."

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