Just last week we got up close with a playlist dedicated to Cleveland's own, The Very Knees. I also share an affinity for the city and state of Ohio since I come from a small town just outside Akron.
Cleveland -- known as the home of Rock and Roll (thank you Alan Freed) has, over many years, produced a number of big acts spanning multiple genres. Acts like Dean Martin, DEVO, Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders, The Black Keys, and Bone Thugs-n-Harmony were originally from the surrounding area -- give or take 45 miles, a little further for Dean.
Along with these acts the city of Cleveland is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. A seven floor marvel of architecture, spanning 150,000 square feet, housing thousands of the music industry's relics. Every year it receives flack from critics and fans about who's in and who's not. The Induction Ceremony has even been snubbed by artists before, but any artist would be a fool to think it's not a huge honor. It spans the history of Rock and Roll and if they think you or your band deserves to hold a space in that timeline -- I say take the applause and be grateful. Forget the political bullshit and move on. Whether you agree or disagree, it's worth seeing at least once.
Aside from this lakefront wonder, there are more cities that lay claim to the hometown of the following acts (sort of).
Harriet the Spy called Kent their stomping grounds in the mid-90s when punk was king. Their chaotic tracks fittingly came from the same town that DEVO calls home. Their makeshift punk house, complete with outrageous postmodern artwork, was a haven for numerous artists performing the best house shows in town.
Mr. Gnome's Nicole Barille and Sam Meister, recently found themselves on the cover of Scene Magazine -- a Cleveland weekly staple covering music, arts, culture, and nightlife in the surrounding area.
Before fronting the Foo Fighters and finding massive stardom with Nirvana, Dave Grohl was just another dude from Warren, Ohio -- a town 15 miles from the Pennsylvania border, boasting around 40,000 residents. His family quickly located to Virginia, which he refers to as his hometown, but it's still Warren's small claim to fame, along with Neil Armstrong (which is also questionable).
Times New Viking hails from the state's capital. This indie rock band has consistently dropped new releases since forming in 2005: five full-lengths with a couple of EPs and singles. They met at the Columbus College of Art and Design, and if you want to take a short cultural tour of Columbus check this out.
Though they are currently based in Brooklyn, a few of the members of The National met at the University of Cincinnati and formed a garage band by the name of Nancy. After five years and only one album they broke up and moved on to bigger and better things, taking The National, to the top of indie rock.
Guided By Voices put Dayton, Ohio on the map with fourteen full lengths and numerous singles. We've already done them justice here.
Brainiac - formed in the early 90s and also from Dayton, this synth-punk band found quasi-success with a few albums (two on Chicago's Touch and Go). They were on their way after receiving serious attention by major labels. However, due to the sudden death of their lead singer, Tim Taylor, the group disbanded shortly after signing to Interscope.
Nine Inch Nails -- too big? Too mainstream? Maybe just a little with those instrumentals on The Social Network soundtrack. Yet with two Grammy awards, an Academy Award, and Reznor appearing in Time Magazine's Most Influential People of 1997, you can't deny NIN has had heavy influence on the industry.
Tied to Guided By Voices, energetic two-piece band Swearing at Motorists is another 90s Dayton band. In 2002, Doughman officially called out The White Stripes to a rock fight anytime, anywhere. It has yet to happen and probably never will, but who wouldn't want to see that battle?
Heartless Bastards were creating plenty of buzz in Ohio before they disbanded and leading lady Erika Wennerstrom set out for Austin in 2007. She collected a new circle of gents and continues to perform under the same name, backing her enormous voice that has garnered them a healthy following.