Cleveland, Ohio’s Ragers are a newer band, but they came barreling out of the gates and have not looked back. Formed in December 2011, the hard-hitting alternative rock quartet has already played Cleveland's top clubs, biggest events and festivals. They hit the road on tour in September of 2012 and February of 2013 in support of their debut release the "Amnesia EP".
The members bring a range of experience to the band. Singer/guitarist Brandon Zano and drummer Stephen Nicholson have played together in numerous rock incarnations including Leo and Dozen Dead Roses, the most prominent of their former groups being electro-rock outfit This Is a Shakedown. After TIAS' breakup, Brandon put together a home studio and started to make solo recordings in an electro-pop vein. “I got halfway through and decided I didn’t want to be a pop singer,” he says. “I wanted to go back to my roots — straight forward two-guitar-bass-and-drums rock. Of course, I called Stephen.”
Zano also called lead guitarist Matt Jauch, whom he's known for 16 years. Jauch, a veteran of the local scene has played in Cleveland groups since the mid-90's including Chalkline, Solo Flyer, Boatzz and Stimulus Package. By the time Brandon started Ragers, Matt was on a music hiatus. “Brandon pulled me out of retirement”.
Bassist Caitlin Dorney met Brandon when she interned for This Is a Shakedown’s former label. She wasn’t a bassist then; she’d played classical flute since 5th grade. “I went and took lessons for about six to eight months.”
Together the group dove into the tracks that Brandon was writing — propulsive tunes like “The Devil Inside of Me” and “Blood on the Dance Floor” whose giddy, pulsing grooves evoke elements of neo-psychedelic rock groups like Band of Skulls, The Cult and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. Pretty soon, Ragers were writing songs together as a band.
The band is currently writing material for their full length debut and playing shows regionally. Ragers will tour atleast 2 more times in 2013 with confirmed appearances at Summerfest in Milwaukee (opening for Bad Religion) and the Dewey Beach Fest in Delaware.
Brandon Zano - Guitar, Lead Vocals
Matt Jauch - Vocals, Lead Guitar
Caitlin Dorney - Vocals, Bass
Stephen Nicholson - Vocals, Drums
RAGERS - Amnesia EP (6 Songs) Release Date 10/2/2012
"Musician explores new musical side with Ragers" (interview with Matt Jauch)
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Matt Jauch, vocalist and lead guitarist of Cleveland Ohio’s Ragers, has one astonishing musical res...Matt Jauch, vocalist and lead guitarist of Cleveland Ohio’s Ragers, has one astonishing musical resume. Jauch has played in the acclaimed lo-fi jangle pop project, Boatzz plus other Cleveland staples including Chalkline, Solo Flyer, and Stimulus Package. Jauch said that with Ragers he is taking on lead guitar duties while in the past he was more of a rhythm player. Jauch is quite well-versed in playing many genres and subgenres of music. “Style-wise I have done a lot. Hardcore, Emo, radio-rock, indie-rock, and Brit-rock. As you get older ,it’s fun to venture into different genres and challenge yourself to be competent with writing and playing different styles. With Ragers, you’ll hear those old influences here and there in the lead playing and noodling that I do,” Jauch said. Jauch said that Ragers plays in the style that delves in psychedelic rock meets ballsy anthemic rock. He said that this is a new stylistic musical path.
“Our core influences for Ragers are Nirvana, and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. We really like the UK group, Band of Skulls and you’ll also hear some AC/DC in our music as well, ” Jauch said.
On Friday, April 19th at Cedars West End, located at 706 Steel Street Youngstown, Ohio, Ragers will take the stage with Underground Pete, Pilot The Mind and The Mast. The show starts at 10 PM and admission is the “magic number 5? aka $5.
Ragers includes Matt Jauch, on vocals and lead guitar, Brandon Zano, on guitar and lead vocals , Cailtlin Dorney, vocals and bass and Stephen Nicholson, vocals and drums. Bassist Caitlin Dorney is a former resident of Youngstown. Jauch said that Brandon Zano (guitar & lead vocals) formed Ragers in late 2011.
” He was working on a solo album, and this came in the wake of the breakup of Zano’s previous band, This Is A Shakedown. He played me some of the early demos and I liked them a lot. At the time, I was on a hiatus from playing in bands , but I knew I’d come back at some point. Zano and I had known each other since 1996 and we’ve worked together in different capacities, but never started our own full-time band together from the ground up. We played together in some side projects and filled in for each other’s bands here and there. We did a Nirvana tribute band for fun in 2009 and that went over really well here in Cleveland,” Jauch said.
Zano then decided he wanted to pursue Ragers as more of a full-band effort, recruiting Dorney and Nicholson. In 2012, Ragers released the “Amnesia” EP . Currently ,Ragers has many great moments ahead of them. On July 7th the band will open for Bad Religion at Summerfest in Millwaukee, Wisconsin.
“I am extremely excited for that, as Bad Religion is one of my all time favorites. Bad Religion was the first punk show I ever went to in 1992. We are working on a full-length album. We have a lot of songs leftover from the beginning, some from the same time period as when we were writing for the ‘Amnesia’ EP that didn’t fit the release and others that were written shortly thereafter. We are currently writing a bunch right now. So add all that up and we’re going to go in with 16-20 tracks and whittle it down to around 10-12. We just came off a 9-day tour of the east coast in February,” Jauch said.
The year 2013 brings in more plans for Ragers, which includes a 10 day tour in September , which Jauch said will end in Rehoboth, Delaware at the Dewey Beach Festival. The band plans on doing 2 full tours in 2013 and then playing the regional weekend gigs.
“We build all our tours around festivals and it seems to work well. We want to finish writing for our debut full-length and then start recording. We recorded and produced the EP ourselves, with some help along the way from friends. We will most likely record and produce the upcoming album ourselves, which we like doing. Zano has spent the past few years learning how to engineer, mix and produce. He is getting very good at it and is working on a lot of recording projects here in Cleveland. He is also recording and producing our friends from West Virginia, Jesse Smith and The Holy Ghost (former member of the hardcore band, Zao),” Jauch said.
Jauch said that hopefully Ragers full length will be out later in 2013. The band is working rather rigorously, sculpting their sound into rock-powerhouse- perfection. Ragers sound is designed to please fans of neo-psych rock, and heavy post punk.
“We are getting heavier, faster and crazier. I suppose this is the normal progression when your band name is ‘Ragers’ right? Once in awhile, we do like to write ‘ballad’ -type songs, but not in a cheesy way, but more like psychedelic mind-benders. One or two of those may show up on our full-length,” Jauch said.
Ragers prepping 'gnarlier' full-length debut, Beachland Tavern show: Local Beat
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Brandon Zano and Matt Jauch of Ragers have known each other since the mid-'90s when they were fixtur...Brandon Zano and Matt Jauch of Ragers have known each other since the mid-'90s when they were fixtures in the Cleveland hardcore punk scene. They'd been friends and even filled in with each other's bands from time to time, but hadn't started anything from scratch together until now, almost 20 years later.
Jauch had been in a semiretirement of sorts from music, but the prospect of working with Zano lured him back in. "I knew I wanted to get back in and I knew what I wanted to play -- psychedelic, but still ballsy, rock," Jauch said over the phone from his car south of the city.
"So the music enticed me, but I've always admired Brandon's work ethic. He's always worked tirelessly to get his bands to the next level." That ambition and discipline appealed to Jauch, who's been in his share of bands.
"He's always writing, always being creative," he said. "I don't want to just be a local band. We started in December of 2011 and we were touring by the fall of 2012. We've been out on two trips and have two more planned for this year."
The band, whose aggressive psychedelic rock on their debut "Amnesia EP" echoes Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, but replaces the first "B" in B.R.M.C. with "belligerent," will build tours around already booked spots at Summerfest in Milwaukee and the Dewey Beach Festival in Delaware. Closer to home, Ragers have their first Beachland Ballroom and Tavern headlining slot -- billed as Jauch's 39th birthday party -- at 9 p.m. Saturday in the tavern, 15711 Waterloo Road, Cleveland. Tickets are $5.
Jauch sees the show as vital to establishing the band's credibility with local venues.
"The Beachland is really good about getting local bands opening slots with touring acts, but you've got to show them that you can get people in the door on your own," he said.
Up next is a full-length release, targeted for midsummer.
"We've got 10-12 songs written. We want to get five or six more. We're really starting to come into our own as a band. It can take five or six months to really gel sometimes," he said. "The songs are a little heavier and faster than the EP. Fans of the EP will like the new stuff.
"It's just a little gnarlier."
Half-hour long interview with the band at JC Dobbs in Philadephia, PA on 2/15/13.
13 Bands to Watch in 2013
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9. Ragers A local hard rock band that formed last year out of the ashes of the heavily hyped This...9. Ragers
A local hard rock band that formed last year out of the ashes of the heavily hyped This is a Shakedown, Ragers sound pretty fired up on their new Amnesia, which kicks off with the howling vocals of "Blood on the Dance Floor," a stop-and-go anthem that has elements of Marilyn Manson and Buck Cherry. Guitarist Brandon Zano has a distinctive voice and the shimmering pop of "Glitter Girl," and the gritty title track show off the band's musical range. The band has been picking up momentum, too. "Right now, we're working on doing college radio promotion for the EP and we're booking our tour for February. We got on this college radio show out of Long Island, New York," Zano says. "It's like a Howard Stern situation where you go in and they fuck you and then promote your music." In February, the band will play the Millennium Music Fest in Harrisburg; the guys are already writing new songs and hope to head into the studio in early 2013 to record a full-length. —Niesel
Ragers CD release show/review of "Amnesia"
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A local hard rock band that formed last year out of the ashes of the heavily hyped This is a Shakedo...A local hard rock band that formed last year out of the ashes of the heavily hyped This is a Shakedown, Ragers sound pretty fired up on their new EP Amnesia, which kicks off with the howling vocals of “Blood on the Dance Floor,” a stop-and-go anthem that has elements of Marilyn Manson and Buck Cherry. Guitarist Brandon Zano has a distinctive voice and the shimmering pop of “Glitter Girl,” and the gritty title track show off the band’s musical range. This CD release concert doubles as a Halloween party, so the guys will give out prizes for the best costume. (Jeff Niesel)