Jerome Schooley Hick Hop
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Jerome Schooley Hick Hop

Hicksville, Ohio, United States | INDIE

Hicksville, Ohio, United States | INDIE
Band Pop Singer/Songwriter


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"BOTB and Whammy Awards"

Unlikely Rising
Title Graphic

Unlikely Alibi

By Mark Hunter

They won the Battle of the Bands II, now Unlikely Alibi are going to focus on the War of the Marketplace. Fortunately, roads into that fickle realm are something the guys in Unlikely Alibi have already laid, although in other bands. But this time around, with this band, the goal is to win something more lasting, more meaningful. This time around, they're serious.

A relatively new band, Unlikely Alibi formed last November when front man Todd Roth connected with Tony Timms and Duane Alexander. Timms and Alexander, bass and drums, respectively, are founding members of the now defunct Strut Train. Roth, who sings and plays organ and trumpet, was in Heavy Step, formerly Skavossas, Strut Train and Heavy Step both had considerable success in the early part of the millennium, with Strut Train winning multiple Whammy awards for their live performances and CD Aww Yeah, and both Strut Train and Heavy Step touring successfully throughout the Midwest. The addition of CookiePuss founder and guitarist Jerome Schooley rounds out the core. But, as anyone who caught the last couple of rounds of the Battle knows, Unlikely Alibi double in size now and again. Added to the mix are Freak Brothers Matt Cashdollar on alto sax and Dan Cappelli on baritone sax, Aaron King on trombone and Curtis Shaw on vocals. It's enough to have a four-piece Unlikely Alibi. With eight guys on stage, it's like a turbocharger kicking in.

That's the condensed version of the genesis of this band, the version you get when you sit at a table in a bar and attempt to take notes and ask relevant questions for a story that might be about the fifth-place band or the first-place band. When I sat down with Roth, Timms, Schooley and Alexander at Columbia Street West following their final set in the Battle of the Bands II competition, I knew virtually nothing about these guys, their former bands or why they do what they do. But multiple phone conversations over the weekend, a little online research in the whatzup archives and immersion into the two CDs I bought at CSW (Strut Train and Cookiepuss) turned me into an Unlikely expert. The main nut I gleaned from my efforts is that these guys know where they come from, where they want to go and why they do what they do.

Ska as a genre of music developed in the early 1960s in Jamaica. A predecessor of reggae, ska borrowed from calypso, jazz, R&B and Jamaican traditions. Ska delivers its punch via horns and saxes and heavy emphasis on the offbeat. It's happy, highly danceable music. According to some, ska is on the backside of a third wave of popularity. Following its initial, indigenous rise, it resurged in London in the late 70s. Twenty years later it surged again. Roth and his band Skavossas/Heavy Step caught that third wave and rode it to considerable success. Strut Train, conducted by Timms and Alexander, caught the same wave, but with a punk twist. The groundwork for Unlikely Alibi had been laid. But no one knew it yet.

When Heavy Step folded, Roth moved to Jacksonville Beach, Florida for three years. "I was 17 when I started Skavossas," Roth said. "It was all about having a good time. In Florida a lot of music just started coming out. I had time to write and think."

One of the things Roth thought about was getting more serious about music. Timms and Alexander were becoming more serious as well. After 10 years, Strut Train, the band started by Timms and Alexander, who were classmates at Columbia City High School, headed for a siding.

"I knew I was going to keep playing with Duane," Timms said. "Duane and I were jamming once a week when someone said Todd had moved back into town. A light went off in my head."

A chance meeting at a club was all it took to get Roth, Timms and Alexander together. "He (Roth) was already trying to put something together. It happened pretty quick. We started jamming in November and had our first show booked before Duane even had a chance to play with us. We ordered T-shirts and had a gig booked before we even had a name."

Scheduling conflicts forced Ben Porter, Unlikely Alibi's original guitarist, to leave the band. Porter was replaced by Schooley, whose band CookiePuss opened for a Skavossas reunion. Roth said he always liked what Schooley did and asked him to join the band. Schooley jumped at the chance. "This is what I wanted to do 10 years ago," Schooley said. "I always looked up to local musicians before anyone national. This is a dream come true for me."

Once the band lineup was set, things really clicked. Rehearsals ran like clockwork. Gigs lined up. Roth kept bringing new songs for the others to fill out. The experience of being in other bands made each member of Unlikely Alibi more focused on the job at hand. Where Strut Train, for instance, would rehearse three times a week, Alibi can get together once a week and accomplish more. "We all learned from experience there's reh - Whatz Up Magizine


Cookiepuss-We Rock Hard
Unlikely Alibi - At The Ready
X 102.3 Essentials volume 5
x 102.3 Essentials volume 6
Version City Sessions
Mid West DIY compilation
Jerome Schooley The Big Pisser
Jerome Schooley Hick Hop



Small town boy that had a guitar a dream and traveled. I still play in my National band Unlikely Alibi but I needed my own solo outlet. I have a lot on my mind and want to help take song writing back to a time when it was more about the art than money. Playing live is my drug of choice. I have always been a live musician first and studio musician second. I have traveled from New York to California and still not stopping until my voice is heard. I mix all styles of music in my originals. I never want to be pigeonholed into just on style. Music is food to me a man can not live off just bread and water. My favorite style would have to be ska and reggae, but I am fluent in jazz, country, rock, folk, and blues. I try to make my music simple and still keep a native feel to it. Technical music masturbation has never been my thing. I rather see some one dancing and feeling my music rather than seeing there jaw dropped. We are humans not machines. Music to me is my escape from the day to day beat down. I try to give that back to the listener. I want them to escape with me, to a truthful place.