If you missed New Planet Trampoline’s Halloween gig at Pat’s in the Flats last year, you missed something special. The band did a completely faithful rendition of Pink Floyd’s The Piper at the Gates of Dawn, which it played in its entirety and nothing else. The Pat’s show, an off-the-map opening slot for a Lottery League creation Queen of Hell, was New Planet Trampoline’s first show in nearly eight years. Instead of returning to the game with a barrage of Facebook fanfare and other nonsense hype, New Planet Trampoline just unassumingly nailed a notoriously difficult album to perform down to the last duck call.
You knew they were serious when you saw a garbage can on the keyboard stand on stage.
“After we said we would do it, I knew we had to get all of the sound effects right,” says New Planet Trampoline singer/guitarist Matt Cassidy who brings his band to the Happy Dog for a headlining gig on Saturday. Bwak Dragon opens at 9 p.m. and tickets are $5.
“I worked really hard to find the right duck noise for the end. You’d think because of that fucking dumb show, you’d be able to find a duck call anywhere. I literally went to Walmart — a fucking Walmart — to get one of those duck calls and there is huge display for the show with all these shirts and mugs and shit and the actual duck call that supposedly these guys are millionaires from, you can’t find it anywhere.”
Cassidy ultimately found the duck call and every other bell, whistle and garbage can on “Piper” and the Pat’s show was the first step back into activity for the psychedelic rock band who are part of Lakewood’s loosely organized Davenport Collective. Charlie Druesdow [drums], Ben Gmetro [organ] and Dave Molnar [bass] — the other members of the band —were also, at one point or another most of the Dreadful Yawns and the It Men and Cassidy and Gmetro started playing together in the Volta Sound at the beginning of the last decade.“When we started out for a while there, it was almost like all these bands have the same band members. These two guys in and these two guys out. These three guys are the same three guys from this band. The difference between the Dreadful Yawns and New Planet and the It Men was really like the difference between one or two people at any given time,” Cassidy says.
The overlap in personnel was the result of an incredible amount of creative energy amidst a small group of musicians that could not be contained in one band.
“At the time, everyone had these different things that they wanted to do musically but we really didn’t have a giant pool of musicians. We also just wanted to do other people’s different things together,” Gmetro adds.
New Planet Trampoline released two records to much critical acclaim: “The Curse of the New Planet Trampoline” (Elephant Stone, 2004) and the fantastic and heavily psychedelic “Blimps & Aeroplanes e.p.” (Davenport, 2005); and toured regularly before Cassidy dropped out of New Planet Trampoline, his main project, and the rest of the Davenport bands as well.
“I tried to do way too much for too long and I got burned out to the point where I didn’t do anything for a while. I was like, any obligations that I have now, I’m going to finish but that’s it. I really didn’t know if I was going to play guitar in a band again,” Cassidy explains.
“Also, I kind of got bored just playing rock music for a while and ended up just doing the noise thing.”
Cassidy spent the last 8 years devoting his time to his noise project, 9-Volt Haunted House, mostly staying away from his guitar and bands but it was an invitation to participate in 2013’s Lottery League and the way that the participants rallied around the death of Lottery Leaguer Ted Flynn and his It Men band mate Ken Janssen’s diagnosis with Lou Gehrig’s disease that made Cassidy realize that he missed the community of musicians in not only the Davenport Collective but also Cleveland’s music scene as a whole.
Thankfully, one thing led to another, as they usually do.
“After the Pat’s show, we felt like we were already in the swing of it, so why don’t we play some of our shit at a show and why don’t we finish the album that we never finished from 8 or 9 years ago.”
New Planet Trampoline was working on a dual album and EP project with most of the basic tracks recorded when Cassidy walked away from the band. Unfortunately, the hard drives containing the basic tracks relocated with a recording engineer to Arizona and were subsequently destroyed.
“It’s a weird situation where we’ve got these rough mixes of the things that we actually recorded. We just can’t individually remix the tracks.”
“I think that the original tracks are still out there because that’s just what I believe,” Gmetro says. “But I also believe that we will be able to record a better album right now. Charlie has been playing drums almost non-stop with Hot Rails since New Planet stopped and I’ve been playing all sorts of stuff. Dave’s definitely been playing and has been around music, so everybody is a better musician.”
“I can definitely speak for everybody when I say that it was an album that we all knew was going to be really good, though, so that’s why we always wanted to do it. It didn’t take any leg pulling from Matt to get us to finish the album. All four of us wanted to do it.”
Hopefully, the Happy Dog show will lead to more shows and once the unfinished album is completed, New Planet Trampoline will break out the duck call one more time.
“We all have a Pink Floyd problem in this band,” Cassidy freely admits.