Music » Makin' the Scene

Cleveland Loses Its Rhythm

A long-running local club closes its doors.


Black Francis, fronting the Pixies at Akron's Rhodes - Arena, Sunday, November 21. - WALTER  NOVAK
  • Walter Novak
  • Black Francis, fronting the Pixies at Akron's Rhodes Arena, Sunday, November 21.
When the Rhythm Room's doors close the night of Tuesday, November 30, they'll close for good, ending the latest chapter in one of the city's longer-running music venues.

"We didn't feel like doing it anymore," says Bobby Hopkins, who runs the venue with his wife, Teri. "Over the last four years, we've lost the desire a little bit. It's not as fun as it once was."

The club was Peabody's Café from the '70s through the early '90s. The building then briefly hosted rock shows as the Last Drop; it has been the Rhythm Room (2401 South Taylor Road) since 1993. The couple owns the liquor license, but not the building.

"It's one of the few bars that offered a free and open environment to the community," says rhymer-musician Alex "Xe La" Alvarez, who has hosted an open-mic night at the club since 1996. "I called it the Romper Room because, even though older people came in, it attracted so many different kinds of youth -- college kids, people that had just graduated high school and were doing their thing, young professionals. It offered a starting-off point for a lot of artists."

Local acts, including Brainz Davis (the best-selling rapper formerly known as MC Brainz), R&B phenom Kris Friday, and bar-punkers Brazen Rogues will play during the venue's final week of no-cover shows (see Clubs listings for a complete lineup) Thursday, November 25 through Saturday, November 27.

"The hip-hop genre called this place a home," says Hopkins. "A lot of the hip-hop artists are saying to us, 'Well, where do we go now?'"

· R.P.M. (Recovery for Professional Musicians), formerly the Cleveland-Akron chapter of the Musicians Assistance Program, has found a home for its weekly meetings. The substance-abuse support group for professional musicians now meets at Voodoo (153 East Cuyahoga Falls Avenue, Cuyahoga Falls) on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. If a bar seems like a terrible place for recovering addicts to meet, that's exactly the point.

"What R.P.M. isn't is A.A. or N.A.," says Jon Epstein, who plays bass in area rock group Fast Chester and heads the group. "What we're there for is direct support. A.A. is a great organization, but they'd say that you can't meet in a bar -- but a bar is where we do our thing. We have to do our business there and stay sober in the process."

For more information, call Epstein at 330-607-8360.

· Thrash hall-of-famer Megadeth recorded a WMMS Coffee Break Concert before its November 7 show at the Odeon; mp3s of four songs are available at

· Bloom, the Cleveland rock band featuring ex-Guided by Voices guitarist Tim Tobias and his brother Todd, has changed its name following a cease-and-desist order from Florida band Bloom. The band is now Clouds Forming Crowns, and its debut is due in late January.

· The Alter Boys, the hyper-eclectic group featuring ex-Mushroomhead frontman Jason Popson and members of Unified Culture and Dog Fashion Disco, will make its live debut Saturday, November 27, at Peabody's (2083 East 21st Street). The band's album, The Exotic Sounds of the Alter Boys, is set for a March 8 release, on Popson's Fractured Transmitter Records.

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