Cletus Romp, based in Cincinnati Ohio, bring their own blend of swampy, backwoods ruckus to the table. They unapologetically draw inspiration anywhere from Drive by Truckers, Tom Waits, CCR and Motorhead to the local junkyard. Cletus Romp will have you stomping, shaking and shimmying like you're at a southern tent revival.
The low end pulls from a background in Motown and early sabbath, while the the rhythm guitar pushes on with wild eyed abandon. All the while the percussion is hammering along with a heavy hand that you can't help but stomp your feet to. Lyrics are thrown out like a carnival barker. The staccato vocal attack is offset with a pure tenor harmony. This roar is accented by more percussion being laid down on a skeleton of brake drums, suspension springs, duct work and corrugated sheet metal. It all culminates in a sound that's greater than its parts. So big and gritty that you can't help but get sucked into the stories they're telling, and believe that they might just be true.
The music has a way of boring into your head like a drill press. You'll catch yourself humming an unfamiliar tune days after listening. Once you realize where it's from, you'll find yourself a full blown convert to the gospel of Cletus, standing on a street corner in a sandwich board and raving....best of luck to you.
Derek Stinson - Lead Vocals, slide guitar, key
Tim Golliher - Banjo, Guitar, Backing Vocals
Mark Karapondo - Bass
Adam Brokamp - Drums, Auxillary Percussion
Ryan Moore - Junkyard Percussion
Snake Oil: half truths, outright lies and the gospel
01. Tin Roof
03. Coming Home
04. Little Bear
06. Shoot the Moon
07. Wicked Left Hand
09. Cold Ground
11. Paranoids Lament
12. Dark Stain
The Broke Tooth EP
1. Golliaths House
2. No Angels
6. Jet ski with Jesus
Restraining Order Romance
3. Cletus Romp
4. Howl at the Moon
5. Garden Weeds
6. Devils Eye
8. The City
9. Bills Porch
10. Angel of Mercy
11. Waiting So Long
12. Who's Knocking
13. Long Walk
all songs continue to be streamed through various online services as well as radio play on northern Kentucky based WNKU.
CLETUS ROMP SELL SOME SNAKE OIL
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By definition, snake oil is any number of various substances or mixtures sold as medicine (as by a t...By definition, snake oil is any number of various substances or mixtures sold as medicine (as by a traveling medicine show) usually without regard to their medical worth or properties. The men of Cletus Romp are carrying the phrase into the modern times, taking their tunes out of the back of a wheeled wagon and shilling what is good for what ails you on their debut, Snake Oil.
Cletus Romp are caregivers. Their regard for the music delivered on Snake Oil assures and gives good Alt Country and Roots’ bedside manner. Where the band slides into the dictionary description of their album title is the mixing pot of music used to concoct audio potions. The sound on Snake Oil borrows liberally from classic rock, rock and soul, swamp grooves and back porch jams echoing the shimmies, slides, and shakes of a million guitar-driven groups, present and past. The band proudly wear their love of Creedence, Motorhead, Drive-By Truckers, Tom Waits, and Motown.
Cincinnati, Ohio is where Cletus Romp calls home. Their traveling show foregoes setting up in the town square, but they nonetheless bear the form and feel of torch-lit tents and soul-saving gospel. Derek Stinson (slide guitar, piano) and Tom Golliher (guitar, banjo) share vocal duties. Mark Karapondo (bass) and Adam Brokamp (drums) anchor the rhythm, while Ryan Moore keeps it real by adding assorted junkyard percussion.
Snake Oil slides into action with the album’s opener, “Tin Roof”. And here is where Cletus Romp show their hand immediately. “Tin Roof” features dual vocals, and a constant and ever-present slide guitar, complemented by a cacophony of banging and beating on percussion. It sets a pace that the band carries well. “Coming Home” moves in like riverbank fog as it leads you along highway roads back to your own bed; “Wicked Left Hand” is a guttural groove fest; “Farmyard” slides along for a tale of the past, and “Floater” stays true to its rhythm-only arrangement as banjo notes keep the beat allowing a variety of percussion to have their sway. The band mellows into a steamy crawl for the appropriately titled “Lullaby”. The vocals add a tender touch as a jangly guitar rides a steady dream beat.
Styles and manner of deliverance aside, Cletus Romp offer an honest brand of Alt Country that keeps artists like Mojo Nixon and Jimbo Mathus on the dashboard for saintly inspiration. They will get under your skin…maybe there is something to that medicine after all. Danny McCloskey/RA
New Greater Cincinnati Releases Galore
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Saturday at the Northside Tavern, the most Alt AltCountry band in Cincinnati, the raucous, rollickin...Saturday at the Northside Tavern, the most Alt AltCountry band in Cincinnati, the raucous, rollicking Cletus Romp, celebrates the release of its new recording, Snake Oil: half truths, outright lies and the gospel. Straw Boss and The Incline District also perform at the 10 p.m. show.
The words “swampy” and “backwoods” show up in the first sentence of Cletus Romp’s bio and there are few words to better describe the quintet’s unique approach to Americana music. Strutting somewhere between Tom Waits’ gruff yet grounded adventurousness and the Legendary Shack Shakers’ riotous abandon, Cletus Romp would make the perfect soundtrack for an LSD-assisted tour of the Florida Everglades.
There’s a creepy quality to several songs on Snake Oil (“Cold Ground” has that spooky Screamin’ Jay Hawkins vibe), while a few tracks inch toward “normal,” like the surprisingly sweet ballad “Lullaby.”
If you like your Roots music haunted, twisted, rockin’ and weird, Cletus Romp is your new favorite band. (www.cletusromp.com)
Worth Checking Out
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Great cover and name from this alt country group out of Cincinnati! If you like your "Country" music...Great cover and name from this alt country group out of Cincinnati! If you like your "Country" music with a bottom end that's glued to the floor and driven over by a Mack truck, CR might be for you! Lots of swampy country blues sung in an up tempo Tom Waits voice with lots of slide and rhythm, make this a full on sound and a pretty good album.....
Offering a Country/Garage Rock kick in the teeth
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Two guitarists in a band is fairly standard, and even two drummers has been done successfully. But t...Two guitarists in a band is fairly standard, and even two drummers has been done successfully. But two bassists? Now there’s something you don’t often see, unless you follow the exploits of Cletus Romp.
“We walk over each other’s lines and I usually go up the neck,” says Tim Golliher, the Cincinnati quintet’s electric bassist who works in tandem with upright bassist Mark Karapondo. “I can do leads and Mark can do more root stuff. He’ll flip the stick over and use the bow close to the bridge.”
“And it’s kind of an old clunky upright so when he digs into it with the bow, it sounds like a chainsaw,” says frontman Derek Stinson over beers at the Northside Tavern, alleged to be the band’s second home. “It’s just this ‘braaawwr!’”
Stinson’s metaphor approximating Karapondo’s bass sound might not be a half bad description of Cletus Romp as a whole.
The Roots Rock outfit sputters and roars like an ancient rope-start chainsaw; no chain guard, spitting oil smoke and gas fumes and flinging out jagged chips as it mows through its cordwood influences. The raw proof is all over Cletus Romp’s debut release, the raucous six-song The Broke Tooth EP, from the Hillbilly Rock stomp of “Goliath’s House” to the menacing Country Blues prowl of “No Angels” to the twang twisted Gospel Punk of the irresistible “Jet Ski With Jesus.” Sounding like a darkly gleeful triangulation of John Doe, Drive-By Truckers and The Georgia Satellites, Cletus Romp is roadhouse hoedown mayhem at its very best.
The roots of Cletus Romp go back several years through various incarnations, most of which played more typically structured Country. Stinson had already decided that he wanted to get slightly more aggressive and rootsier in his sonic approach; the addition of Golliher and drummer Adam Brokamp two years ago began the process. The membership of Karapondo and lead guitarist Mike Templeton last year cemented it.
“I went into it wanting to be rough and raw, to let it all loose, and everybody seemed to fall right into it and excel,” says Stinson. “That’s what I wanted and everybody delivered.”
Other than Stinson’s Country band lineage, little in Cletus Romp’s collective résumé would indicate their current garage twang direction: Golliher played in a cover band and did improv sketch comedy; Brokamp drummed for artsy projects and fire dancers in Arizona; Templeton played in college bands, leaving music behind for graduate school until Stinson recruited him; and Karapondo has played (and continues to play) in a broad range of other bands.
In fact, when the subject of common influences comes up, music doesn’t crop up for a while.
“Fear and panic,” Golliher says.
“Physical violence,” adds Stinson.
“I think Derek’s scowl is the driving force,” Brokamp says.
“You notice all three went, ‘Yeah...’ ” Stinson says. “I haven’t scowled in a long time.”
“You scowled at me just last week,” notes Templeton.
“That’s on a personal level,” Stinson answers. “I just don’t like you.”
Interestingly enough, when broaching the subject of what inspires the band musically, band references come in last.
“For me, it’s just a desire to make a really good groove and have fun,” Golliher says. “To find this neat spot where everybody likes it.”
“For me, Derek’s songs are really original. I love the songs,” Templeton says. “What I listened to growing up doesn’t matter. What matters is that I hear these songs and they’re really incredible and I want to take what I hear and make it sound really cool.”
Even as the primary songwriter, Stinson talks less about direct musical influences and more about environmental ones.
“Being down here and eavesdropping,” he says, indicating the bar surroundings. “You hear a piece of a conversation that someone’s having and the gears start clicking and off you go. It’s all fantasy. None of the charges have stuck.”
Part of the band’s mythology, if you will, is Stinson’s songwriting from the perspective of a character named Cletus Romp, who can shift from tender lover to murderous redneck in the space of a verse (“He came to take everything that’s mine/That’s fine, if he likes the taste of a shovel” goes a line in “Secret”).
“He stays with the focus of the Cletus character and the songs are written in a similar stride, which makes it easy to keep up,” Brokamp says. “Generally somebody’s going to die in the song, violently.”
“Not every song,” corrects Stinson. “Sometimes they’re already dead.”
“It just struck me,” Templeton says. “The last thing you would ever want is to turn up in a Cletus Romp song.”
Eventually, Stinson does own up to some musical guideposts and it’s not hard to hear strains of it all in the The Broke Tooth EP.
“I listen to a lot of Tom Waits,” Stinson says. “Local hero, Chuck Cleaver. Hands down, the best writer in this city as far as I’m concerned. And Hogscraper was freaking great. Influence is wherever I can get it.”
Engineered by the incomparable John Curley at Ultrasuede, The Broke Tooth EP is a visceral Roots/Garage Rock heart-punch intended to showcase the powerful new direction of Cletus Romp.
“And that’s really where the name came from,” Stinson says. “I wanted it to come out like a kick in the teeth … bam! I’m really happy with the way it came out, in that regard.”
We have over 2.5 hours of original music. We normally do 45 minute sets.
example set list:
Jet ski with Jesus
There are no upcoming dates at this time.