Courtesy of Bill Peters
The 2017 Cleveland Metal Holiday Food Drive, an annual event organized by WJCU DJ/Auburn Records owner Bill Peters, set records in terms of how much food and money it generated for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and Friends of the Cleveland Kennel.
Last year’s event, which featured a performance by the national act Night Demon, drew an even bigger crowd and produced even more food and revenue.
Four vans and trucks hauled away some 8,833 pounds of food, and cash donations came to $10,124.80.
This year’s event, which takes place at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 8, at the Beachland Ballroom
, also promises to be a success. Twelve Cleveland bands will be performing on two stages. The lineup features Amps II Eleven, Olathia, Vandallus, Ritual, Spellchucker, Sacred Few, Dead Earth, Sleeplord, Merciless Reign, Syphilis Diller, Assault and a special mystery band headliner.
Night Demon’s Jarvis Leatherby will travel from Ventura, CA to MC the event with Chris Emig from the local metal act Olathia. Admission is free, and organizers will collect non-perishable food and cash donations for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, Friends of the Cleveland Kennel and the Alzheimer’s Association.
“We had a capacity turnout last year with record food and cash donations,” says event organizer and WJCU Metal On Metal host Bill Peters in a press release announcing the event. “California’s Night Demon recorded a live album, and the original line-up of legendary Cleveland metal band Breaker reunited for the first time in 30 years. It truly was a night to remember.”
“For once in my life it’s difficult for me to articulate and put into words my feelings on paper, but I will do my best here,” Night Demon’s Jarvis Leatherby says in a press statement regarding the band's participation last year. “When the idea of doing a live album came up, many people close to us thought it would be best to execute this in areas such as Europe, Latin America or South America due to the obvious fact that these are the places that are hotbeds for the band and have the most dedicated fans per capita in a concentrated area. However, in our minds we already knew where this performance needed to take place — Cleveland, Ohio.”
Leatherby recalls the band’s first show in Ohio and says he was shocked that fans knew the words to their songs. He has Peters to thank for that.
“After that show, we talked with fans who told us about this guy Bill Peters who had been playing our debut EP on his Metal on Metal radio show for the previous year and was the reason all of them got turned on to the band," says Leatherby. "A lot of them thought we were an English band, purely based on our sound. When the reality is that we were just hard working struggling Americans just like they were. When I was a kid and heard Kiss’ Detroit Rock City, I was fascinated by a place that they described as the heart and soul of the band’s ideology. It’s safe for me to say now that my band has its own place for that now, and it’s there in the blue-collar hearts on the shores of Lake Erie.”
Peters says that he’s regularly taken aback by just how supportive heavy metal have been. This year marks the event's tenth anniversary, and each one has exceeded his expectations.
“This time of year is all about the spirit of giving and helping those in need,” he says. “It’s the music that brings us together. Heavy metal fans are the most generous when it comes to supporting good causes. We’re working hard to make our community a better place to live.”
A warm-up show will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 7, at the Maple Grove Tavern in Maple Heights. Bands performing at that gig include the Kahuna Kings, the Beyonderers, the Rick Ray Band and Lotus Pedal.
Admission to the Maple Grove show is also free, and non-perishable food and cash donations will be collected for the Greater Cleveland Food Bank, Friends of the Cleveland Kennel and the Alzheimer’s Association.
Both events are presented by WJCU 88.7 FM and the Exchange.