Achilles Heel
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Achilles Heel

Yellow Springs, Ohio, United States | SELF

Yellow Springs, Ohio, United States | SELF
Band Metal Hip Hop


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By Don Thrasher, Contributing Writer 2:53 PM Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Inside an unassuming house in a quiet residential neighborhood in Yellow Springs, some of the most unrelenting heavy metal in the Midwest is being created. Matt Willis and Steve Brooks have only been housemates for about a year, but in that time their home has become the rock ’n’ roll headquarters for a number of hard-rock acts.

“I remember hearing about Metallica or Motley Crue having one big house they stayed in,” Willis said. “I always wanted a place like that where everyone lives and plays.”

Achilles Heel practices in the basement jam room, which it shares with spinoff project, Love or Drugs, and Dr. Meat, the other band of Achilles Heel guitarist Bill Sykes.

“We all have different projects,” Brooks said. “This whole place is filled with music pretty much seven days a week. This has been the greatest experience of my life. The three of us all work together at Peach’s, and we play music together. It’s a great life.”

Achilles Heel, which formed in 2000, is humming along now, but the group’s progress was stalled in 2007 when Willis was arrested on a drug charge.

“We played for years and then I got in trouble and had to go to prison,” he said. “I did two years for growing psychedelic mushrooms and that kind of shut the band down. When I got out in April ’09, I realized I had to make the most out of everything.”

Willis (vocals) and Sykes (guitar) immediately re-formed Achilles Heel with founding members Toby Acton (rhythm guitar) and Gregg Pastorelle (drums). They added Brooks (bass) and began working on material and tinkering with the group’s sound. Achilles Heel unveiled its latest, souped-up incarnation at a benefit show in October 2009.

“We’ve gotten harder, but you can see more artistry coming out,” Sykes said. “Before we were still learning, and now everybody is starting to perfect their instrument, but it’s still raw. We don’t use any effects on the guitars — it’s all just straight through the amps. ”

Achilles Heel will close out the year with a performance at Peach’s Grill on Saturday, Dec. 18.

“We have this show coming up at Peach’s, and then we have a show in January at Al Rosa Villa in Columbus,” Willis said. “We’re looking to add more shows and start getting back in the scene.”

“This is a great band,” Brooks said. “I’ve played with a lot of different bands, and I really love playing with these guys. We’re like brothers. We’re totally blessed.” -


Still working on that hot first release.



Achilles Heel was formed ten years ago, and has played on and off during that span of time. It was formed to help heal members who had suffered tragic losses. Achilles Heel plays in Ohio cities like Columbus, Cincinnati, Dayton, and of course the bands hometown of Yellow Springs. There are 5 members; drummer Greg Pastorelle, lead guitarist Bill Sykes, rhythm guitarist Toby Acton, bassist Steve Brooks, and vocalist Matthew Willis.