So I met my band, wanna hear about it? Great!


As-yet-unnamed Lottery League Band #13 is Matt Mele, Mike Ocampo, Chuck Cieslik and myself.

Matt Mele is a recent Chicago transplant with an admirable pedigree — he’s played for no-wavers K.K. Rampage and Coughs, and currently makes some lovely, fuzzy noises in Weird River, his duo with Rachel Starnik. Matt is a multi-instrumentalist, but will be drumming for Band #13.

Mike Ocampo is the only member of Band #13 I knew before the draft. He’s the bass player for the very fine JJ Magazine (a band which is 40% Starnik, siblings to the aforesaid Rachel — talented family, that), and also, on the side, plays guitar for the considerably more abrasive (and Google-proof — sorry, no link) George Orwell. Also a multi-instrumentalist, Mike brings electric bass and guitar, standup bass, trumpet and electronics to the table.

Saxophonist Chuck Cieslik is a student of Ernie Krivda’s, but if you know him, it’s more likely as the sax wailer in the Toledo/Cleveland-based sludge improv concern The Puffy Aureolas. He also plays guitar and, IIRC, dabbles in electronics, and judging from this photo, he really, really enjoys ketchup.

And there’s me. As I’m all old an’ shit, I’ve played for more years and bands than I’d care to recount right now. The one you’re most likely to have heard of was probably Biblical Proof of UFOs, and that was kind of a long time ago. I currently occupy the guitar/bass/synth slot in Self Destruct Button. It seems likely that I’ll be playing 7-string guitar in Band #13, though I may play electronics in addition to or instead of that. We’ll see.

Topics discussed at our initial get-to-know-you meeting included but were not limited to:
• The virtues and demerits of structured improv vs. through-composition
Ambient music
• The correct pronunciation of “Weihenstephaner” (this matter remains unsettled)
• The virtues and demerits of the collaborative process vs. working alone
James Chance and the Contortions
Unknown Instructors
Cleveland’s alarming culture of casual alcoholism
• Thymmie Jones/Cheer Accident
• So yeah, what days are we even all free to rehearse? (Monday night, Saturday afternoon)
Netflix streaming and/or torrent files
• The Chicago No-Wave scene
• Basses with curved necks and the Krauts who make them
Prosperity Social Club’s happy-hour empanadas (total of 6 consumed)
• The difference between a clean piece of paper and one with a line drawn on it
Werner Herzog
• Huh, Mike and I practice in the same building on the same night and yet we’ve never run into one another there, wow, how funny is that?
• The correct pronunciation of “Aveda” (evidently it’s uh-VAY-da)
• The many virtues of groove
• Hey wow all four of us are multi-instrumentalists so maybe we should do something totally preposterous
Stage visuals.

I will start posting music just as soon as we start making some. —Kretsch


Add a comment