It's been almost 20 years since Cleveland industrial rockers Lestat released an album, and things look a lot different to frontman Evan Nave. Forget the fact that he's now in his forties or that he's been playing with another band since Lestat split in the early '00s. In 1994, the year their third album, Vision of Sorrows, was released, there was no social media to speak of, hanging around online didn't take up 80 percent of your day, and music was still being shared the old-fashioned way: on CDs passed around by friends.
"It was easy to maintain a level of shadowy behind-the-scenes," he says. "We threw up this veil and hid behind it. We can't do that now."
Lestat are set to release their fourth album, Arisen, in a couple of weeks. And from the sound of things, it's a more muscular version of the goth group these days. That has a little to do with new drummer Scott, the first real-live person to handle percussion duties on a Lestat album. But it also has to do with the core trio — Nave, guitarist Susan, and keyboardist Timothy (they don't have last names in Gothland) — sounding renewed after the decade-plus break. (Bass player War is also a new addition.)
They first got back together two years ago for some shows. "I wanted to modernize the whole thing without losing the feel and atmosphere — the things that made us what we were," says Nave, who's spent the past 10 years fronting the metal band PKS. "I always felt like we could have done more. I always thought we weren't finished. This was a chance to make it go as far as possible."
Lestat have a CD-release show lined up at Peabody's on April 14. After that, Nave will work on compiling their mostly out-of-print albums — including 1990's Theater of Vampires debut and its 1991 follow-up, Grave Desires — and outtakes for a box set he hopes to have out before the end of the year. "We were a lot more cryptic then," he says. "But I have a very good feeling about where this is going now."
POETRY IN MOTION: April is National Poetry Month. You probably didn't know that. But it's why Drumplay will be performing at the Beachland Tavern on Sunday with a bunch of local poets, including Cuyahoga County's poet laureate, Daniel Thompson, who for years has joined the world-jazz group onstage and in the studio. This weekend's gig marks a number of milestones, including Thompson's 20th anniversary as poet laureate and Drumplay's 20th year. Cleveland sax legend Ernie Krivda — who backed Thompson on one of his albums a few years ago — will join the celebration. But all this jazz and poetry isn't just about mere backslapping: The show doubles as a fund-raiser for the Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless. Your $10 donation gets you a Drumplay CD and plenty of rhyming words over jazzy rhythms. The show starts at 8 p.m.
EYEING THE TOP SPOT: Hopes are high that Esperanza Spalding's new album, Radio Music Society, will land in the Top 5 this week. (Her biggest competition comes from the Shins and the Hunger Games soundtrack.) Either way, it's a major score for Spalding — who came out of nowhere last year to win the Best New Artist Grammy over Drake and Mumford & Sons — and her label, Heads Up International, which is based in Cleveland. Spalding is by far the biggest-buzzed artist at a company best known for incredibly talented but commercially anemic jazz and African musicians.