Volume #17, Issue #2 -- April 1990
Oroboros. (o'rob'or'os). N. 1. Greek word meaning the snake that bites its tail, a symbol for continuity and change. 2. Ohio's good time rock 'n' roll band.
Like the snake that eats its tail, thereby securing for itself a method of renewal and continuity, Oroboros plays songs that echo the chords and sentiments of rock's first two generations: its music is a solid synthesis of Chuck Berry, the Beatles, Aretha Franklin, Eric Clapton, Little Feat, Dylan, and of course the Grateful Dead. And, taking it a step further, more than 50 songs of original material.
Although the band has been an active presence in the Cleveland music scene since 1980, when it was founded as a neighborhood band in Cleveland's Coventry Village, it has been since 1985 that the band has developed a serious, regional following. This, according to the band's founder, Jim Miller, is largely because of the addition of Michael Bradley on keyboards and vocals.
According to Miller, Bradley's addition to the lineup was the point at which many directions began to merge. "Mike's joining the band," said Miller, "helped to bring many of our mutual interests together. Especially a love for the Beatles, and the Dead. This led us back to Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, Rockabilly, the blues, and back on up to reggae, jazz, lots of polyrhythmic music. Everything."
Oroboros understands its relationship with its audience. There is a symbiotic understanding between the two that suggests the band likes playing the music as well as the fans like to listen to it.
Being a band from Cleveland may seem to some to be a cross that needs bearing, but that's not been the case for Oroboros. If anything, being located in Cleveland has worked to its advantage.
Cleveland, one of the best record markets in the country, is known for its discriminating tastes in music. This ethnic, multi-faceted city does not suffer mediocre bands for very long. So, surviving and working as an original band for over ten years is an achievement in itself.
In recent years, the band has begun to enlarge its musical base. They've increased their audience to include Chicago, Lansing, Cincinati, Erie, Ann Arbor, and all of the Ohio college towns. They have also opend up for Richard Thompson, Jonathan Edwards, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Jorma Kaukonen, and Go Ahead (with members of the Grateful Dead and Santana.) Jim Miller has also done solo acoustic spots for Robert Hunter and Hot Tuna.
The band's reputation is growing. This spring they'll be visiting the Wetlands in New York City - April 24th, The Nines in Ithaca, New York - April 26th, and Mercy Hurst College in Erie, Pennsylvania - April 28th. This summer Oroboros will be at the Muse on Nantucket Island the first weekend in June. Further trips to the East Coast are planned for summer and fall.
They now publish a regular newsletter that keeps fans informed about upcoming shows, special events, and recording information: Oroboros has a tape library of over 700 live performances, and they're now recording their third album. Their first and second albums, Different Feelings (1984) and Psycha Deli (Live at the Euclid Tavern) (1988) were independently recorded and produced.
The band's present configuration, Jim Miller (guitar and vocals), Mike Bradley (keyboards and vocals), Dave Downing (bass guitar and vocals), Rob Luoma (drums and vocals), and Don Safranek (percussion and vocals) is ready for a major change in their present circumstance. If all goes according to plan, their next stage should be national.
To contact Oroboros' mailing list or to purchase shirts, tapes, or CD's write Oroboros at PO Box 40284, Cleveland, Ohio 44140.
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