MEET THE BAND: John Ramsey (guitar, vocals, piano), Bill Derivan (bass), Adam Thurman (drums)
IT ALL BEGAN WITH AN AD: The local rock act Orange Animal got its start as the brainchild of Ramsey. "It was about two and a half years ago, Adam [Thurman] and I got together and started playing in the basement of my house," Ramsey says. "I had some songs that I wanted to write. We found a practice space at the Rock & Roll City Studios. Then we went on Craigslist to find another player which was how we met Bill [Derivan] in July 2017." "I had a recently moved to Cleveland and didn't know any musicians, so I was putting myself out there," Derivan adds. Ramsey says he just "really wanted people to just play music." "He [Derivan]cresponds to the ad, and I did have mace with me at the audition just in case. We have had a couple people who have been in and out, but this is the core of the band."
GETTING A FOOT IN THE DOOR: Ramsey looked at Orange Animal's first album, Gave It All Away, as a way to get the band's foot in the door. "We really wanted to play out as much as possible, so the first album we made was more like a demo to see who'd give us a chance to play at their venue," he says. In the time since then, the group has also recorded a live album at Grog Shop. "We were learning how to do it," Thurman adds. "None of us had ever done anything like that before. We started with goofy songs about committing crimes in the buffet line."
WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM: "Most of our sound is pure rock 'n' roll but it's got a lot of influences," Ramsey says. "There's some folk in there and some blues in there as well ... especially on our first album," he adds. The group's latest album, No Song Sick Hearts, is a more polished effort. "On this new album, the genre kind of changes from song to song almost," Derivan says. "I was pulling from a lot of different influences, so that's why this one has a bit of a different feel. It's more complex." Ramsey agrees. "We spent a lot of time making each song better," he adds. The album features backup vocals from Taylor Lamborn and organ work from Rob Kovacs. Derivan feels that the mix of artists for the release show will keep the audience engaged. "It's going to be a blended show," he says. "The three acts before us are a little different from each other. It's quite a few genres coming together for a night."
WHERE YOU CAN HEAR THEM: orangeanimal.com.
WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: Orange Animal Performs with the Del Rios, the Robin Blake Sound Experiment and Taylor Lamborn at 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 26, at the Grog Shop.