It's been eight years since The Kellys entered their first stage of evolution. Birthed out of the desire to create powerful, original music deeply rooted in passion and feeling, the band began their quest for global recognition. Like a fine Red Wine, with plenty of seasoning and time for fermentation, the band has allowed their sound to age perfectly, right along with them.
The new decade has brought the completion and release of two projects that showcase who The Kellys have become. Channel, a dvd presentation of live performances (one, of three original songs backed by a 32-piece orchestra) and music videos, released in the early part of 2010. Following that, the long-awaited, fourth studio album, Opus, containing a deep look into that very evolution and growth in The Kellys' uniquely patented meld of pop and rock. Most recently, see the new music video, Victory on you tube.com/thekellys221.
Still growing strong, The Kellys continue to do what they love - wrapping up all of their feelings, influences and emotions into a brand new musical manifesto.
By blending the powerful vocals of lead singer Kelly McCracken with the guitar stylings of Nick Rossi and the explosive rhythm section of Matt Holko (drums), The Kellys have developed a reputation for high energy and emotionally charged live performances. It's been said The Kellys call their original music indie/rock/powerpop, but opera rock might be a better description. Whatever you label it, it will always be, uniquely, The Kellys.
With the desire for the world to hear their music behind the wheel of this unstoppable vessel, The Kellys have pursued and achieved a number of noteworthy accolades, fueling their quest for national recognition.
*Independently released first album, Greatest Hits, and a three-song demo in 2004.
*Placed 3rd in the National Round of Jillians' Roots of Rock Battle in Memphis, TN in 2005.
*Released second album, On the World Tour (with distribution in Best Buy stores in NE Ohio, and online at iTunes, CDBaby, Rhapsody, and many more) in 2006.
*Placed 2nd in Guitar Center and House of Blues' Project Rockstar with two performances at House of Blues Cleveland in 2006.
*Obtained airplay at over 200 CMJ radio stations in 2006, and nearly 100 different podcasts and internet radio stations from all over the world.
*Showcased at Midpoint Music Festival in Cincinnati in 2006.
*Signed licensing deal with MTV for use of music from On the World Tour in 2006.
*Traveled to New York City for shows at CBGB's and Arlene's Grocery in 2006.
*Independently released 3 song EP, Overture in 2009.
*Performed with 30 piece Orchestra and Produced a DVD, Channel in 2010 with Mariano Longo.
* Two of The Kellys' songs featured in Films' and Anchor Bay's nationally-released comedy, Frat Party. And also in the psychological drama, The Perfect Fix. The song, Up to Believe, graced both movie's opening credit roll and introductory scenes which are aired on Showtime and Netflix.
*Independently released their fourth album, Opus in 2011.
* Placed 4th in Maurices Small Town Band National competition powered by Sonicbids in 2010.
*Produced and Released Music Video for song, Victory in 2011 with Clear Choice Creative.
* Won Best Headliner and Best Rhythm Guitar in The Keepin it Radio 2012 Local Music Awards held at Akron Civic Theatre.
*Featured in many press outlets including: The Cleveland Plain Dealer, The Warren Tribune, The Youngstown Vindicator, The Walruss! Cleveland Scene Magazine, 92.3 KROCK Cleveland, Rock104 (103.9) Youngstown, Featured Artist on ListenerStation.com, The A&R Registry, and more.
The Kellys are extremely proud of their accomplishments and direly passionate about their aspirations.
Nick Rossi - Guitar
Kelly McCracken - Vocals
Matt Holko - Drums
Dan Drummond - Bass
Greatest Hits - March 2004
Demo - July 2004
On the World Tour - Feb. 2006
Overture - 2007
Opus - 2011
Victory music video - 2011
The Kellys hit stage, studio
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Published:Thursday, June 26, 2008 By Guy D'Astolfo Recording continues on the band's next rele...Published:Thursday, June 26, 2008
By Guy D'Astolfo
Recording continues on the band's next release.
The Kellys have kept a low profile of late, but that's about to change.
The power-pop quartet will play at several large outdoor events this summer, including a Party on the Plaza, Vexfest and the ruKus Festival. They were on the bill at last Saturday's Furthermind Festival at B O Station, although an early evening thunderstorm kept the big crowds from materializing there. Their next gig is Mojo's in Austintown on Friday.
And did we mention lead singer Kelly McCracken will sing the National Anthem at tonight's Scrappers game at Eastwood Stadium?
While the band hasn't played out much the first half of the year, it has been keeping busy with new material: writing it, perfecting it and recording it.
In fact, The Kellys — McCracken, bassist Moe Angelo, guitarist Joel DeGenova and drummer Matt Holko — have already laid down five tracks at Mind Rocket Studios in Sharon, Pa., for their next album, to be called "Opus."
Plans call for a late fall release, possibly packaged with a DVD of live performances, said McCracken in an interview this week. Two crowd-pleasers from earlier CDs — "Wake Up" and "Happy Hour" — are being revamped for the new record. "They always get a strong reaction when we play them," she said.
But the recording process is slow-going when you have to work it around day-job schedules. It's a situation that may force the high-gloss rockers into a commitment decision. To reach the next level, the band has to become a full-time pursuit, and the members are inclined to do it.
"We'll put on a push after the new album is out," said Angelo, with a tour that will hit major cities in Ohio and Pennsylvania. Angelo also wants to devote more attention to growing his online radio station, rukusradio.net.
As for the new material on "Opus," both Angelo and McCracken agree their sound has evolved. It's still upbeat and sticks in your head, but with a more solemn edge.
"It's like you're yelling at me, but in a nice tone," is how McCracken described one tune.
Another new song has a creepy vibe that you wouldn't normally expect out of The Kellys.
"We're also getting away from the typical song structure," said McCracken. "There's less verse-chorus-verse-chorus-bridge-chorus-out."
The new songs usually originate from guitarist DeGenova, then get fleshed out by Angelo. The finishing touch is McCracken's lyrics. "After listening to it, I try to get real deep on what I'm feeling at the moment, or however the chords make me feel," she said of her writing process.
"Opus" will be The Kellys' third full-length release, but McCracken and Angelo don't get all giddy at talk of a record contract. They've been bitten in the past by deals that came so close, only to fall through. A recent near-miss with major label Def Jam still leaves a bad taste in their mouth.
"It's been the story of The Kellys' career," said Angelo. "Good things happen, there's label interest, then nothing happens."
But if The Kellys are even a little discouraged, it doesn't show.
In fact, the band's mood seems closer to pure, unadulterated optimism as "Opus" nears completion.
McCracken lit up as she described a proposed marketing campaign for the recording. Steeped in '80s kitsch, it would utilize comic books, color-forms ... even slap bracelets.
The Kellys - onstage and feelin' a lotta love
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The Kellys performed at the Warren Community Amphitheatre with a professional orchestra One week ...The Kellys performed at the Warren Community Amphitheatre with a professional orchestra
One week ago, The Kellys hosted the ruKus Festival and sang the glory of the Warren Community Amphitheatre.
Friday night, the Amphitheatre gave them back that love.
The Kellys performed four original songs with the professional musicians in an orchestra as part of Generation Us. Las Vegas R&B singer Treasure Guffy began the night, standing out with her localized rendition of "My Favorite Things."
Headlining the night was Gary Puckett of Gary Puckett and the Union Gap Band, who performed originals and covers.
But standing out was the local rock group, who looked oddly comfortable in front of the orchestra.
Lead singer Kelly McCracken started a little shaky, beginning the set with a few measures a capella. Then the show started, as she sang over the 31-piece orchestra for the intro of their first song, "That Day." Several bars in, the orchestra kicked in a ska-like melody and the rock-classical performance began.
They continued the set with their song, "Up to Believe." The songs were arranged by Howland graduate Mariano Longo, who coordinated the show.
The Kellys only had one rehearsal to learn the songs with the orchestra, the night before the performance. But with few errors and strong technique, the band proved they could keep up.
The band's third song, "Make Her," was performed without the help of the orchestra, but with McCracken's strong vocals The Kellys proved they could handle the stage themselves.
McCracken handled the stage well in orchestra black and a red tie. Her confidence grew as the set continued, until her onstage antics and dancing resembled any other performance by The Kellys.
The Kellys closed with their song "Red Wine." Afterward, the professional musicians approached the band with compliments and handshakes as the members of The Kellys glowed.
Not everyone likes The Kellys, or even should like The Kellys, but Friday night proved they are musically capable.
The Kellys create a ruKus [festival]
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Big turnout means success for the band's dream WARREN — Days ago, The Kellys weren't sure if they...Big turnout means success for the band's dream
WARREN — Days ago, The Kellys weren't sure if they could pull off the ruKus Festival.
Saturday, they were calling it a success. Few would disagree.
Not all of the bands were amazing, and some songs earlier in the day were almost painful to hear.
But hundreds of people came to the Warren Community Amphitheater downtown and The Kellys proved what they intended: the Amphitheater could be rocked.
The event was coordinated by The Kellys under their independent ruKus label as a way to give local bands, especially newer groups, an opportunity to play.
Bands that played included The Zou, Dim Star Shining, The Rydells, Another Found Self, Trendy, Jimmy Fro, Danielle Lyn and Jones for Revival. The Kellys headlined.
The ruKus festival was all-ages and free to attend, but donations were accepted. All donations will benefit the Hattie Larlham Foundation, a non-profit organization founded by the Youngstown-trained nurse, which provides services to 1,400 children and adults with mental retardation and developmental disabilities throughout Ohio.
An exact dollar amount of donations was not immediately available.
Lead singer of The Kellys, Kelly McCracken, called the ruKus festival "a dream come true."
"It's definitely what Moe wanted and set out to do two years ago. I'm proud of it, and I'm proud of him," she said.
"As of Thursday, I didn't know if ruKus was going to happen. As of this morning, we didn't know who was going to show up," The Kellys bassist Moe Angelo said. "But we have all of these people here, the vendors. I'm impressed."
The day had a few setbacks and ended up running almost two hours behind. But Angelo said the Amphitheater was very accommodating.
Guitarist Joel DeGenova called the Amphitheater a "mini-Blossom" and "amazing."
"We're very happy to be a part of ruKus and we're happy that The Kellys coordinated it, using this incredible space for local rock 'n' roll," Khaled Tabbara of The Zou said.
Tabbara noted the Amphitheater’s scale, being one of the largest local music venues.
"I think that no one thought they could pull off a local show here, but The Kellys did," Tabbara said.
Adam Mamula, drummer for The Zou, also spoke positively of the show.
"It's a great showing for the community; it really shows how a community can come together as a community," he said.
"It's very good, very positive for the area," Dan Hallock of The Rydells said. "Outdoor concerts are always good. And it's a good thing the rain held off."
Hallock said he thought the lineup of bands made the festival work.
"It's the best lineup for a benefit show I've seen in a long time," he said. "It's a really good mix."
Other musicians agreed the diversity of acts was the best part.
"Each band playing brings its own sound and influences and it's important to show that there's so much versatility in the area," lead singer of Dim Star Shining Mike Gaitanis said.
"It's good to be among friends and bands that just want to play music and have the utmost respect for each other," he said.
That respect payed off for Dim Star Shining when Tabbara loaned one of their guitarists a guitar after breaking a string.
"It's really cool that we have something like this out here, it's like our own little Warped Tour," Gaitanis said. "It's gives bands a great opportunity to reach out to younger audiences."
DeGenova said the band was exhausted at the end of the night, but considered the ruKus fest a success.
What's in a Name?
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Actually, there’s just one Kelly, and she’s in front of the tightest power-pop outfit in northeaster...Actually, there’s just one Kelly, and she’s in front of the tightest power-pop outfit in northeastern Ohio. And never mind that they might be the only such band up there” After unleashing their three-minute opuses and irresistible riffs on audiences at CBGB’s and Arlene’s Grocery in New York City in late August, these guys are clearly on their way. With two albums, cheekily titled “Greatest Hits” and “On the World Tour” under their belts, they’ve already patented a sound that’s close to what the Cars and Weezer might have cooked up together during a weekend in Jamaica, while, Kelly shouts, moans, and sings lyrics about everything from kangaroos to popcorn over this sizzling mix. Skeptical? Check out the collision of reggae, dub, and snarling guitars on “Singalong” and, while you’re at it, sing along too. After all, that’s what Kelly commands. “Even when she’s singing about a bad relationship, she finds a positive conclusion in the story,” says bassist Moe Angelo. Who could say no to a girl like that?
Inventing the ruKus
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The Kellys throw down on the road by Joseph Rafidi II The unsettling sound of guitars pluggin...The Kellys throw down on the road
by Joseph Rafidi II
The unsettling sound of guitars plugging in, tuning and drum-hits getting progressively louder before a band practice typically means that a loud hour of miscues and re-do's will ensue. The moment the lights go down, I realize that this isn't just any band practice packed with song restructuring and "from the top" shouts. This is a live show simulation; neon beer signs illuminate the low-ceiling basement filled with gear as singer Kelly McCracken picks up her vintage microphone and casts the notes with her alluring, elastically angelic voice box. I then conclude why her name is stamped on the forehead of the band's music.
It was a flawless exhibition of musicianship and well-rehearsed excellence. The atmosphere was show-like and the band's presence was absolutely earnest. "We knew it was out last practice before MPMF," says bassist Moe Angelo.
It's a Thursday evening in late summer and the band is preparing for the three-day MidPoint Music Festival in Cincinnati coming up that weekend. The festival hosts 250 artists from the U.S. and abroad. Besides live music, it features speakers, panels, mentor sessions and exhibitors. All in all, it's a haven for industry professionals and fans alike. "It's like a small version of Coachella," Angelo insists, "this will show us where we go next."
This past summer The Kellys had the opportunity to play back-to-back shows in New York City. One of the two shows was at the infamous CBGB. The band was supported with warmth and appreciation in the Big Apple. Their music is currently in sporadic rotation on a number of radio stations across the country including New York. The response for the Youngstown-based band was positive. Radio airplay can be the direct cause, but probably didn't help as much as people witnessing their live performance. "People noticed us, but not so much from the radio airplay," notes McCracken. "But, it's always good to get airplay in New York," guitarist Joel DeGenova interjects. "A couple fans from MySpace actually approached us about the show," Angelo says.
It always makes a stronger impact when some of the local core audience makes the trip for an out-of-state show. "We had Ohio fans travel to see us up there," drummer Civ states.
I asked the band what their mentality is when they're playing to an audience in an unfamiliar town, in front of unfamiliar faces. "Just kick ass," Angelo says. "Throw down and play tight," DeGenova adds.
The band was also involved with Project Rockstar at House of Blues in Cleveland. It was a four-round competition with only two of the rounds being judged on performance. They placed first in the third round and came in second place in the final round. Even though the band dropped a spot in competition ranks, they were recognized for their emotional performances led by McCracken's passionate words and actions.
"Second place was a letdown, but something else always comes around for us; a new opportunity," Angelo optimistically states.
Along with some of the cash prizes from the competition, the band will get the opportunity to play in front of thousands of fans at Blossom Music Center sometime in '07.
Opportunity doesn't come to those who idle; The Kellys are a business-first band. I witnessed this as I walked into McCracken's house where the band, along with their manager (Kelly's mother, Pam Politsky), were discussing what new gear to buy before the MPMF show. Along with how to disperse band's fund, the issue was how they'd transport their equipment to Cincinnati.
Besides playing local and regional shows, The Kellys are also entrepreneurs. They founded the record label by which they release their music: ruKus Records. They started the label to have more control of their musical destiny. "We'd love it to be something; it's in a place to be [something]," Angelo says.
The band's music is available through Best Buy "because of the label," DeGenova mentions. "Any band, with persistence, can get in Best Buy with no label but it definitely helped," says Angelo.
Certainly persistent bands must also possess unique traits, thus presenting a unique blend of musical influences. The Kellys style of rock is structurally tight as well as aggressive and exhilarating. The band's influences run the gamut from music, art and stardom to life in general. DeGenova notes that "Van Halen and Tool really inspire me." And this is evident within his intricate plucking. Angelo has no shame in declaring he's after the "idea of rock and roll, the dream." Civ simply states that "everything" about life influences his role in the band. McCracken's inspiration stems from her love of art, mainly Salvador Dali. "He always took it [art] beyond a certain level. It obscured reality and I identify with his obscurity."
The band is confident that their music doesn't have to fit snuggly inside of one genre. Great musicians shoot to dispel any thought that their music is defined by one or two words. DeGenova surrenders that the band does maintain a "pop sensibility," but all that really means is that the music can be vibrant and resilient to a common ear. McCracken suggests that the message and intent of The Kellys music is "undeniable and unquestionable." "It can catch the ears of everyone," Angelo adds.
The Kellys are doing anything in their power to expand their catalogue and fan base. They made their way to Memphis in '05 for a Battle of the Bands. They are aiming to release a new CD sometime in early '07. After their return from the MPMF show, the band will continue prepping for shows in Cleveland, then returning home for a couple Youngstown gigs. They are playing at Crest Entertainment Center on Oct. 7 where they will begin shooting a series of music videos. "We've made a lot of progress this past year. If we keep doing what we're doing, we can become bigger than what we already are," McCracken says.
In mid and late October they will play two consecutive weekends in Cedar's Lounge in downtown Youngstown. The first is The Champions of All Time's Spooktacular and on the following weekend they are playing The Zou's Rocky Horror Halloween. The Zou and The Champions are a strong influence on The Kellys work ethic and ambition.
The Kellys love playing at home in front of their core fan base but also cherish the experiences that come along with playing out-of-town gigs and are willing to give it their attention. "The outta town shit has been starting to happen; we're trying to focus on it. We're in a good spot to travel," Angelo concludes.
The Kellys kick off ‘World Tour’
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Thursday, February 23, 2006 Tribune Chronicle By Andy Gray It’s too early to tell where The Ke...Thursday, February 23, 2006
By Andy Gray
It’s too early to tell where The Kellys’ “World Tour” may end, but it starts in the Mahoning Valley.
The Warren-area band has several CD release parties planned for its second release, “On the World Tour.”
The band has seen several changes since the release of 2004’s “Greatest Hits,” including a 50 percent change in the lineup. Lead singer Kelly McCracken and bass player Moe Angelo now are joined by Joel DeGenova on guitar and the singularly named Civ on drums.
“My bass player Moe and I struggled for a little bit, losing a guitar player, then losing a drummer,” McCracken said. “Joel and Civ just fell into our laps one day, and I couldn’t ask for more. (They bring) creativity, for sure, and drive. Joel has been in bands for years, and all he’s ever wanted is to be in a band an be secure in it, and know that we’re booking shows and moving forward.”
“On the World Tour” features eight rock songs, most of which are built around McCracken’s powerhouse voice. She said each band member contributes in the songwriting process with her lyrics and vocals usually as the final component.
Some of the songs date back to earlier incarnations of the band, and others are more recent, but all have been audience-tested at The Kellys’ local gigs.
“‘Blink’ is going to be the No. 1 played song,” McCracken said. “We have it up on a few sites on the Internet already.
“We have a few slower songs on there that people will love too, but we don’t want to come out with the slow songs first.”
The Kellys are using its own Web site (thekellysmusic.com) and its MySpace site (myspace.com/thekellys) to promote the record, and the band started its own label, Rukus, to distribute the CD.
The first of three scheduled CD release parties is planned Friday at Cedars Lounge in Youngstown, where The Kellys will perform with The Cheats and Beefist.
Other CD release parties are planned March 4 at Club 441 in downtown Warren and March 10 at Crest Entertainment Center in Warren.
Last year the group traveled to Memphis, Tenn., where it finished third in a national Roots of Rock Band Battle sponsored by Jillian’s, and McCracken said the band hopes to expand its reach with more shows outside of the area.
“Everybody in the band is willing to go anywhere we have to,” McCracken said. “We just want to get it out there.”
The Kellys make debut with 'Greatest'
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Their tongue-in-cheek title is a little joke, according to lead singer Kelly McCracken. "Alot of ba...Their tongue-in-cheek title is a little joke, according to lead singer Kelly McCracken.
"Alot of bands released greatest hits CDs this year and we thought it would be funny," she said.
The seven-track CD recording was recorded by The Kellys-Mike Jagunic, guitars; Moe Angelo, bass; Mark Revis, drums, and Kelly McCracken at Tune Town in Newton Falls and features about half of the original songs the musicians have penned in the year they've been together.
With McCracken as lead singer, comparisons to female fronted acts like The Cranberries immediately come to mind, but the only band McCracken cited when asked about influences was The Counting Crows.
The group had a CD Release party last weekend at O'Donold's in Waren, and Friday opens for Val Yumm at Cedar's Lounge in Youngstown. Saturday they are scheduled to open for The Verve Pipe at Ohio Northern University.
The Kellys talked about taking their first tour this spring with Craig Vogel and Jared Reynolds, but the band decided to wait.
It was kind of thrown together at the last minute," McCracken said. "We decided if we were going to tour, we wanted to have the time to set it up and make sure we did it right."
For now the band is concentrating on local gigs and getting the CD into hands of radio stations and club owners in NE Ohio and western PA. "Greatest Hits" is available at the Book Nook in Warren, Borders in Niles and CD Warehouse in Niles as well as the Band's website - www.thekellysmusic.com
Local bands to glow at Halloween fest
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Just in time for a little ghoulish fun, area musicians will combine music with Halloween celebrat... Just in time for a little ghoulish fun, area musicians will combine music with Halloween celebrations Oct. 28 for Glostock 2.5, a music event that highlights the talents of local bands.
"It's so much fun to do, and something I think people and the bands are looking for," noted Mike Glorioso, event coordinator. "It gives (local bands) an opportunity to play and make new fans.
This will be the third Glostock event that Glorioso - or Dr. Glo as some call him - has hosted since April 2003, but this time the show will have a Halloween twist. The event, which will begin at 5 p.m. in the University Union's Multi-Purpose room at Slippery Rock University, will include raffles, games, and a costume contest with a first-place award of $250.
Ten bands will help keep the party moving throughout the night. The lineup includes The Kellys and December Son from Ohio, as well as Mindlatch, I.O.R., QuiXotic, Scene on TV, SimonFerior, Drop Something Better, Outclassed and Styk Figrue from the New Castle area.
The Kellys, a four-member rock group, will headline the event. The Warren, Ohio-based group performs orignials as well as covers.
"The Kellys have such a unique sound and they just have that fun college vibe," Glorioso said. "the show is all about having fun and The Kellys complement that well."
Lead vocalist Kelly McCracken said the band, which includes bassist Moe Angelo, guitarist Joel DeGenova and drummer Civ (yes, just Civ), is all about having a great time.
"We love to up there to see people dance and sing along," she said. "We just try to promote having a good time and getting out there, feeling the music, and rocking out."
McCracken and Angelo said they are looking forward to performing on a college campus.
"The college crowd is more what we're geared for and so we're quite excited to get down there," Angelo said.
The band, which has gone through several member changes recently, is also excited about its future, he added.
"It's at a point where it's headed in a very good direction," he said. "Things are exciting and the music that is coming out is great stuff."
Glorioso who anticipates about 500 people will attend Glostock 2.5, urges anyone interested in having fun to come out to the event.
"Dress up and come down to hear some great music and have a lot of fun with people. It's going to be a great time."
The Kellys have roughly 2 hours worth of original material. Spliced with a cover every now and again.
There are no upcoming dates at this time.