Region rocker now making new music on the West Coast

2012-12-14T00:00:00Z Region rocker now making new music on the West CoastTom Lounges Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
December 14, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Dyer native and rock guitarist, Joe Perez, chased his rock ‘n’ roll dream all the way to California last year, where he found some kindred creative spirits to make music with as the Banshee Bones.

“I moved to Hollywood because I wanted to be surrounded by people who were as dedicated to music as I was,” said Perez, a former guitar instructor at Andy’s Music in Dyer who is now working on his associates degree at Hollywood’s famed Musicians Institute. Perez credits former boss Andrew Walker (owner of Andy’s Music) for teaching him valuable lessons in songwriting and recording music. The young Hoosier transplant said Walker’s mentoring helped prepare him for this current phase of his life and career.

It was at Musicians Institute Perez met drummer Ryan Rice, who had likewise relocated to Los Angeles with vocalist brother Eugene Rice in hopes of finding rock ‘n’roll success. “Ryan and I started jamming, he introduced me to Eugene and we all hit it right off,” said Perez.

With the addition of bassist Salem Romo and second guitarist Zach Marcum, Banshee Bones was born.With Ryan enlisted in the school’s recording program, the group was able to start laying down songs as fast as they wrote them.“It worked out pretty nicely, because we were able to record our new EP in million dollar studios for free,” said Perez. “It was really a blessing. Salem had also done the recording program, so between him and Ryan, everything went really smooth and professional.”

The result is “Life & Limb,” produced by Romo and Rice. Though not a full length release, the five original tracks featured on this debut disc reveal Banshee Bones clearly rattle to their own beat. Eugene Rice may not be a great singer, but his emo whine delivered with a sense of musical drama makes him perfect for these songs and this band, whose music is alt-rock, with elements of classic rock guitar.

The CD opens with “One of a Kind,” inspired by some of the people the band encountered since residing in Los Angeles.Follow up tunes, “I Am I” and “Scripts,” are about staying true to yourself. “You have to follow your dreams,” said Perez. “People wanted me to stay in Indiana, but if I would have done that, this part of my life never would have happened. I needed to leave and this needed to happen to me.”

It has not been easy going for Perez and his musical mates.The disc’s closer, “Bitter Ashes,” was inspired by the dark and seedy side of life they have found on the streets of Tinseltown.“We lived in Hollywood for a year straight,” said Perez. “We were eating, sleeping, and breathing Hollywood. It’s such a crazy place. You see a lot of really terrible, awful things happening all the time.”

FYI: www.bansheebones.comor www.facebook.com/BansheeBonesMusic.

MUSIC NOTES:

It is with great sadness I report the death of a wonderful musical friend from the early days of my career. Legendary drummer Ed Cassidy of the classic rock group, SPIRIT, passed away last Thursday at the age of 89.

In the late '70s, I met Cass at Hegewisch Records in Calumet City when I was the editor of “Night Rock News” and we became fast friends. He opened doors for me as a young journalist with his celebrity friends and helped me network with key members of the California music scene. Cass and Spirit guitarist Randy California (Cassidy’s stepson) later allowed me to represent the group during the early 1980s as their Midwest publicist and local agent.

Spirit visited the region and Chicagoland often. They performed locally at Pointe East in Lynwood, Club Dimension in Highland, and other Midwest venues during my time with them. Cass and California also taped a memorable segment of the old "Rick Rock Show" produced and broadcast by U.S. Cable in Hammond. They also made in-store appearances over the years at Woodmar Records.

Cass was the first celebrity to sign my online “guest book” when I returned to the region airwaves with a new version of the old “Night Rock Radio” program in 2004.He was a world class musician and a wonderful human being.Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven has a new addition to their drum circle. RIP Cass!

The opinions expressed are solely the writer's. Reach him at beatboss@aol.com.

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