First In Space
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First In Space

Youngstown, Ohio, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2006 | SELF

Youngstown, Ohio, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2006
Band Rock Alternative




"First In Space- 'Geronimo' review"

CD Review: First In Space “Geronimo”
October 27, 2009 by Bill Sullivan

I just got hold of the new sophomore release from Ohio-based band, First In Space. There is nothing too fancy about the CD packaging and artwork…just a modest black and white photo of three normal looking guys on the front, and an understated black and white photo of their gear on the back. The music by First In Space is exactly like their presentation: no nonsense, no frills, let’s just get the job done and get it done right.
Their sophomore release, “Geronimo”, comes complete with straight-up harmony-laden guitar rock adorning storytelling lyrics. Vocal duties are divided equally between founding members Johnny Stanec and Dolus McCormick (see below), who incidentally harmonize very well and very often. Despite who is taking the lead, the vocal delivery is heartfelt and warm, and often contains some nice moments where the notes are sustained, with “It’s All Gone To Hell” being the best example.
The CD is front-loaded with the best tracks being “Goddamn Shame”, “It’s All Gone To Hell”, and “They Won’t Catch Me Now”. The latter half of the record is not bad by any means, but collectively it lacks the instant likability of the first half. Still, this is a very consistent CD that you can enjoy from start to finish.
“Geronimo” would have fit perfectly with the rise of melodic rock acts during the mid-90s that made us begin scratching at heads while listening to lingering grunge, wondering, “What the hell were we thinking?”. Like the bands Gin Blossoms, Del Amitri, and Better Than Ezra, First In Space is the kind of band that could reinstate pop rock and make it cool again. First In Space should be in orbit around your head.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 8 - Rock & Roll Report

"Not Lame Records #8 Album of 2009"

Not Lame Records named 'Geronimo' the #8 album of 2009. Visit for more... - Not Lame Recordings

"Album Review from Absolute Powerpop"

Copy and paste below text to read: - Absolute Powerpop

"First In Space Keep Their Feet On The Road"


The group has tried radio promotion.



Imagine a rock world where the players didn't wear mascara, comb their hair to one side and incessantly whine emo style.

Such a location is where the members — Johnny Stanec (vocals, guitar), Dolus McCormick (guitar), Joe Greenfield (drummer) and Will Kesling (bassist) — of Youngstown band First in Space likes to call their stylistic home.

"We draw from a lot of different acts," said Stanec. "We're just a fan of catchy, melodic timeless rock'n'roll. It doesn't have to be from a specific era. The kind of music we're trying to make, it's more like a rock'n'roll genre. We're not trying to be a punk band or a hard rock band or a metal band. We don't want to have a genre."

Still, we live in a world of labels. Stanec said that the quartet is inspired by '60s British rock but falls somewhere between R.E.M. and Tom Petty. First In Space has already recorded its debut disc, tentatively titled "This is Not Here," which the outfit hopes to have out in March. Among the notable tracks are the melancholic "I Let You Down" and the Fab Four-inspired "What you Need."

Tough road

With over 30 live dates under its belt, the foursome has ventured outside of Mahoning County, slowly growing a fan base in Pittsburgh and Akron. As far as its hometown shows, Stanec and company are experiencing a tough and common road for up-and-coming Youngstown bands.

"To be honest, the live original scene in Youngstown has a lot of hurdles," Stanec said. "There's not a lot places to play that get a consistent crowd. You have to do a lot of your own promotion, which is fine, but there just needs to be more clubs and more places, more music venues."

Normally, band promotion includes flyers and Internet postings. However, Stanec and his band mates decided to test radio promotion, an almost unheard of technique from obscure groups, for a show last September at Cedars Lounge. The band bought airtime on KISS-FM 95.9. It worked, with Stanec saying it was one of their best crowds to date. You can see First in Space return to the scene of the crime for another show Saturday at Cedars Lounge.

Not only will the group be playing material from its upcoming album, but also a few choice covers. Recent stage favorites include The Beatles' "Glass Onion" and R.E.M.'s "The One I Love."

Naturally the future remains uncertain for the band, with Stanec admitting there is the temptation the group should move to a larger market. Still, the 2000 Canfield High School graduate doesn't want to leave. Considering the power of the Internet combined with his modest goals, there's really no reason why First in Space can't build success from a Youngstown home base.

"The main goal is, if we could pay the rent and be musicians, that would be success for us," Stanec said. "That's the dream right there for me." - JOHN BENSON

"First In Space- Geronimo Album Review"

As predicted when we reviewed their 2007 debut a few weeks back, the boys have proved us right as a "band to watch in 2009" with this, their brand new sophomore effort! And, like their debut, this one's also chock full of jangly, Gin Blossoms-inspired pop! "Have you ever listened to a CD for the first time, and within the first few seconds of song #1, you get the feeling that this is going to be a great CD all the way through? Well, you can put this one it that category! It picks up right where their debut left off and is simply a home run. A breezy summer record with a sound addictive enough to stay in your CD player for a good long while. It's full of guitar hooks wedded to emotionally evocative lyrics. Dolus McCormick's (Robin Wilson-like) lightly vibratoed vocals have an evocative presence. The band manages to be at once crisp and powerful, occasionally finding grooves to settle into, but never straying far from the dramatic needs of each song. 10 tracks of all killer, no filler, harmony-drenched jangly pop greatness. The band is in fine form. The tunes are gems, it's an album of enjoyable pop that deserves attention. For anyone new to the band, their infectious pop is perfect for a hot summer day at the beach Iit's where I listened to this while formulating my review) or a long car ride (it played on my ride home from the beach!). It's the perfect cruising CD for a sunny day, or any day that you want to make seem sunny. Full of beautiful melodies, great harmonies, jangling guitars - pop/rock at its best - I love it!" - Max Humphries We agree! GREAT!!!! - Kool Kat Musik

"CD of the Day, 9/25/09: First In Space-Geronimo"

CD of the Day, 9/25/09: First In Space-Geronimo

About five months ago, we featured this Ohio band's 2009 reissue of their 2007 debut This is Not Here, and now they're back with the followup, Geronimo. And while the debut was solid, Geronimo is a great leap forward in terms of songcraft and execution.

For those who didn't click on the link above, First In Space has a Gin Blossoms/80s REM hybrid sound, and to that they've added a bit of fellow Midwesterners The Replacements to the mix, especially on the cheerfully-titled opening duo "Goddamn Shame" and "It's All Gone to Hell". "Take it Away", and even moreso "They Won't Catch Me Now" channel the Blossoms, and "Stuck Around You" would make Tom Petty proud. Elsewhere "Down on Me" and "End of the Night" are fabulous midtempo power pop, and the manic "Taking Over" gives them a chance to show their guitar-playing chops. It's a much more consistent and melodic effort this time around (not that the debut wasn't good), and if you like your power pop Midwestern-flavored, look no further. - Absolute Power Pop

"Article from Youngstown Vindicator"

First In Space adjusts its rock ’n’ roll direction
Published: Thu, May 28, 2009 @ 12:00 a.m.
By John Benson

In the music world, addition by subtraction is the great paradox that often results in the opening of new avenues of creativity.

For Youngstown-area band First in Space, a reduction from quartet to trio has Johnny Stanec (guitar, bass, vocals), Dolus McCormick (guitar, bass, vocals) and Beau Basement (drums) excited about the future.

“The move was more like a necessity,” said Stanec, a 2000 Canfield High School graduate. “We were going through members that didn’t fit. It’s nothing against them personally; it’s just musically it wasn’t a fit. So we decided to go down to two guys out front because we all know we want to be in the band. We had a guy here or there that didn’t fit and didn’t have the passion, so until we find the right fourth member we’re going to stay as a three-piece.”

With unquestioned passion and commitment, First in Space is moving forward in the form of its sophomore effort, “Geronimo.” Due out next month, the new album finds the act not so much changing up as honing its style to a certain blue-collar sound.

“On the first record it was a little bit more expansive, where we were trying a lot of different things and trying to find our identity,” Stanec said. “Now with our new drummer, everything will be a little bit more straight ahead. It’s like a bigger rock ’n’ roll record. It kind of has some old sounds to it, giving it a more of a vintage sound comparable to [Bruce] Springsteen or Tom Petty records. Before, I’d say we were maybe like an Oasis with a very big British sound.”

He added, “I think our new drummer, too, is more of a straight-ahead type of player. He played in punk bands before, so it kind of brings like an element of more simplicity to the band, things being more stripped down and focused instead of meandering going out of different time changes.”

New tracks that have Stanec excited include the Hammond-organ dominated “They Won’t Catch Me Now” and the gritty bar-rock sounding “God Damn Shame.” As if the new album doesn’t provide enough momentum behind First in Space, the act has spent the past few years laying its foundation by touring throughout the Midwest and beyond. This summer the trio will be hitting the road, with gigs lined up from Detroit to New York City.

While First in Space, which plays Saturday at Cedars Lounge, continues to expand its fan base, it appears as though the trio feels less like a Youngstown band. And for any musical group hoping to make it big, that’s probably a good thing.

“We live in Youngstown, or in the suburbs, but we don’t know if this is like our home base,” Stanec said. “We did play here quite a bit at the beginning, and that kind of died off over the last year, with this May 30 show being our first show in Youngstown in over a year. So this is definitely our home and we love the people, but Youngstown has a very specific identity to it at times. It’s tough to get the people’s attention for whatever reason. That’s why we decided it was time to start focusing on some other cities.

“That’s what we want to be, a working, touring band. That was the goal from the beginning for us, and we’re starting to see that come true.” - Vindicator

"First In Space album review from Powerpopaholic"

First in Space was formed in 2006 by Johnny Stanec and Dolus McCormick. After touring the Midwest, they honed their sound and recorded this album in 2007. As a debut the music is polished and professional and makes an excellent impression. These guys play straight up rock and roll here, "Jenny" opening the album with strong guitar chords and drumming, but it gets even better as the album plays on. I took notice of the melodic "Taken For Granted" which remind me of both Tom Petty and Joe Jackson. The awesome "What You Need" has a Posies flavor to it that was just catchy and irresistible. The band brings classic rock harmonies to these tracks that help make them true pop gems. With the longer cuts "Anything At All" and "I Let You Down" it tends to get more standardized in sound. But the power pop comes through in the richly detailed "Lock It Away" and those great builds to a chorus in "Wasted Time" will definitely be appreciated by music connoisseurs. Other songs have varied influences, "In The Water" and "Last One" have a slight REM vibe, but the group has a sound that merely touches these influences without sacrificing any originality. Worth the effort here, and a new album is already in the works! -

"Absolute Power Pop Review of 'In The Red'"

“Johnny Stanec and the boys from Youngstown are back with their fourth full-length, and it just might be their best, trading in the Replacements-style rock of the last album for a purer pop sound. Although you wouldn't tell from the driving opener "Letters from Hell", it becomes evident on tracks like the bouncy "Forward Progress" and the midtempo, Gin Blossoms-like "The Other Side", and "Now or Never" is straight-up power pop reminiscent of Cliff Hillis or Michael Carpenter.” - Absolute Power Pop

"Powerpopaholic Review of 'In The Red'"

“Ohio based First In Space has streamlined their sound from those early days where they were akin to The Gin Blossoms. The production is more intimate, less “arena-oriented” and more focused on a solid melody. “Letters From Hell” is an excellent opener, featuring the crisp harmonies of Johnny Stanec and Dolus McCormick. “Return To Sender” is just as strong, with a wicked guitar solo at the break. “Forward Progress” is proof of this band’s new maturity when they sing the lyric “Every bridge I ever burned became a lesson to be learned…” The positive vibe flows from the band, and it makes for excellent listening. Additional highlights include “A Captive’s Point Of View,” and “Now Or Never.” Even the grand finale “The Prescription” doesn’t feel labored or forced, so pick this one up. Highly Recommended. 8/10.” - Powerpopaholic

"Equal Ground Review of 'In The Red'"

“Good songs should not always be seen by themselves but as a building block for a bigger picture – the album. Maybe it’s a lost art, but this single heavy world has forgotten how to appreciate a work’s entirety...It has great direction, depth and appeal.” - Equal Ground

"Kool Kat Review of 'In The Red'"

“They're back with the followup to their now-sold-out "Greatest Hits: Vol. III"! Their fourth release, it's already been dubbed "Their biggest sounding record to date, it is full of big, catchy rock and roll, honest lyrics and huge harmonies." And who are we to argue. Johnny Stanec and Dolus McCormick continue to deliver roots-inspired songs of the highest order, all played with an energetic urgency! This just might be their most completely satisfying album thus far. It demonstrates a wide range of styles and moods not found on their other three albums. never loses steam even through the slowest of songs. The album is held together, alternately and sometimes simultaneously, by Stanec and McCormick's wry, cynical lyrics and the band's outstanding musicianship. What this album does much more than any other First IN Space release is to convey emotion.” - Kool Kat Musik

"Absolute Powerpop Review of 'GHVIII'"

“The first three song titles ("Downtown War", "Kicking Through the Door", and "Drinking With Enemies") are indicative of their new-found tougher sound, more in line with The Replacements.” - Absolute Powerpop

"Powerpop Action Review of 'GHVIII'"

“Pues es la bomba este disco, guitarras descomunales, energía a raudales, melodías con gancho y voces empastadas a la perfección, a veces parecen una mezcla de Gin Blossoms con Green Day de los mejores tiempos. Me encanta, ha sido un retorno brutal. Este es otro grupo GRANDE, la grandeza la mayoría de las veces está en la pequeñez de las cosas, no hace falta ser conocido y admitido por 100.000 personas, sino que basta con que a tí te llegue al fondo todo lo que hacen.” - Powerpop Action

"Necesito un Rock and Roll Review of 'Geronimo'"

“Porque sólo hay que escuchar a esta banda originaria de Youngstown para descubrir que la banda de Minneapolis guía sus pasos. Hecho este que supone un lujo para todos los que tenemos el gusto de escuchar a este trío llamado “First In Space”. Y es que debemos afrontar una verdad inamovible: No hay nada nuevo bajo el Sol, y bajo el del Rock mucho menos; así que, puestos a dejarte influenciar por alguien, que sea uno bueno....¿Esto quiere decir que la banda no posee personalidad propia?, ni mucho menos. Escuchas “It´s All Gone To Hell”o “They Won´t Match Me Now” y aprecias la intensidad con que Johnny Stanec, voz y bajo. Dolus McCormick, Voz Y guitarra y Beau Cueva, batería, se lanzan a interpretar ese característico sonido que se mueve entre el Rock, el Powerpop y unos toques de Punk, caso de “Taking Over”...” - Necesito un Rock and Roll


First IN Space EP- February 2006.
(out of print)

Debut Album 'This Is Not Here'. Released April 2007. Available online everywhere and at Kool Kat Musik.

Second album, 'Geronimo' released September of 2009. Available online everywhere and at Kool Kat Musik.

Third album, 'Greatest Hits: Vol. III' released July 2013. Available online everywhere and at Kool Kat Musik (US) and This Time Records (Japan).

Fourth album, 'In The Red' released September 2014. Available online everywhere and at Kool Kat Musik (US) and This Time Records (Japan).

Fifth album, 'A Different Animal' releases August 2017. Available online everywhere and at Kool Kat Musik (US).



First In Space was formed in 2006 by Johnny Stanec and Dolus McCormick. After various lineup changes, drummer Beau Basement joined the band in 2008. In late 2016 they added guitarist Josh Wakeford and became a four piece for the first time since 2010. The group have released four full-length records with their fifth record to be released on August 4th, 2017. 

Over the years the band has performed hundreds of live shows across the mid-west, east coast and into Canada. Their music has reached ears across the globe and together they have built a small, but loyal following. Their music has drawn comparisons to acts such as Replacements, Oasis, Tom Petty and Jesse Malin. They play a style of rock and roll that slants singer-songwriter with memorable hooks and catchy guitars.

Band Members