Saul Glennon
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Saul Glennon

Cleveland, Ohio, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1994 | SELF

Cleveland, Ohio, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 1994
Band Pop Rock

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"World-class musical Talent"

Friday, March 04, 2005

Five more reasons that validate the whole 'Cleveland rocks' thing

SAUL GLENNON

Fronted by prolific singer-songwriter Jack Rugan, this band flaunts a sublime pop-rock sound, at once retro and thoroughly now. Its latest release, "Touchy/Feely," is an ambitious tour de force, with "The Keys to Knowing You Well," the irresistible "Farrah, You Know the Truth" and 28 other songs spread over two CDs.

- The Plain Dealer


"Joyful Noise - Touchy/Feely named one of 10 best albums of 2004"

6. Saul Glennon, Touch Feely (GDR)

Never are there clouds on Jack Rugan's street. The lawns are all a deep green, and the squirrels all crap gummi bears. At least, this is what the latest from Rugan's '60s-minded outfit, Saul Glennon, suggests. An effervescent, impossibly sunny double shot of pristine psychedelia, Touch Feely is all Calgon harmonies and optimism coated in Kevlar.

- Scene Magazine


""Saul Survivor"- Saul Glennon marks 10 years: November 10th, 2004"

THE GUYS IN SAUL GLENNON, a local act with a love for British Invasion rock 'n' roll, have just practiced song number 37. They've got three more to rehearse before learning the 40 they plan to play at the Winchester this Saturday as part of a special ten-year anniversary show.

“We're almost there,” says singer-guitarist Jack Rugan from the band's Level 5 practice space that's strewn with empty Tall Boys — the true sign of a band hard at work.

They'll also be giving away a commemorative CD to the first 50 people with some of their best songs, as well as “Here We Go Again,” a track Rugan wrote when he was 18 years old. Ex-band members will join the group for the second part of the Winchester set.


A Medical software sales rep by day, Rugan might have gotten a late start, forming the band just after he turned 30. But like a veteran quarterback who learns a new set of tricks to stay on top of his game as he ages, Rugan's picked up a head of steam recently.

“Every time I think I'm too old to keep doing this, I run into someone older who's still doing it,” says Rugan, 41, his dark hair spotted with gray specks. “When we opened up for the Stone Coyotes recently, Barbara Keith is like 62 years old. I figure I got 21 years on her, so I still got plenty of time.”

Taking their name from a Batman comic, guitarist Adam Zieleniewski and drummer Jerry Rugan started playing with Jack Rugan (yes, they're brothers) in 1994. The band issued its debut, No Money for Beer, that same year. Initially, Saul Glennon included Rugan's brother-in-law, but after he left, the group became a three-piece for a short time. Since bassist Joe Rivera joined three years ago, the line-up has been a stable quartet. While it's toiled in relative obscurity and even contemplated calling it quits a few years back, the band's now at the point where it would prefer to sign with a label.

“That's everybody's goal here,” says Rugan. “Hopefully, the press we get will generate a buzz and hopefully we can get a distribution deal. I'm thinking about submitting our music to an MP3 blog.”

The latest disc, Touchy Feely , is the band's most ambitious set yet. It features 30 songs spread over two discs and shows vast improvement over the lo-fi production quality that characterized past releases. The emphasis on vocal harmonies and arrangements in songs such as “The Wrong Decision” and “Commonsense101” has more in common with the Beach Boys than the Who.

“I was kind of overruled,” Rugan says. “I wanted to do another CD of 20 songs, but all three [of the other members] wanted to do a double CD. I said, ‘Okay, let's do the ultimate pretentious thing a band could do — a double CD.' But the cool thing about it is that everyone has their favorite disc.

“There are so many different styles of songs on the CD,” Zieleniewski adds. “There's rock, country, techno — there's some experimental, U2-like stuff.”

Zieleniewski likens Rugan, who's written hundreds of songs, to the notoriously prolific Guided by Voices frontman Bob Pollard.

“The whole thing with Jack was that he had tapes of all his songs, and I was a big fan of his,” he says. “I really enjoy playing his songs and I think I'm his biggest fan. I'm so happy to be in the band. But did I think it would have lasted for ten years? Hell, no. What kind of commitments do you have for ten years? I think Jack has Pollard's Disease. He's constantly writing. To me, that's something that will never stop. I think we'll do this for another ten years.” - The Free times


""Touchy/Feely" Album review: September 22, 2004"

Songwriter and guitarist Jack Rugan's first record was the Beatles' "Paperback Writer" single. The other members of Saul Glennon hail from the end of Generation X, which embraced Britpop anew in the 1990s. The band's been making music together since Oasis hit big, and its last release was called British Garage Invasion. If you haven't pieced it together, this Slavic Village outfit plays the kind of breezy pop that merged with the shoegazer movements to yield lighter-than-air acts like Belle & Sebastian.

Touchy Feely's two triple-mellow 15-song discs are nearly mirror images of each other, but their variations are sublime and subtle. "Going to Pieces," the centerpiece of the Feely disc, takes a blues rhythm, drapes it over a delicate structure, and fills it with a weeping psychedelic guitar. If the free-form songs fade into the background, tracks like "Tremolo(ve)" will grab your attention, and on the next listen, you'll give the album the attention it deserves.
- Scene Magazine


"Scene's fun review of "Refractory""

Saul Glennon -- Saul's a band, not a guy -- is a retro-pop group with a sound straight out of the mid-'60s. But the Slavic Village band has always been like the ugly pretty girl in so many '80s movies: an irresistible beauty hidden under a very slight layer of drab. With the new Refractory, the gang drops the Molly Ringwald bit and jumps right to the part where it emerges as the hot girl everyone suddenly wants to party with.

Disc opener "Refractory" is a deep echo of the Partridge Family's "I Think I Love You," but it's a catchy one. And when frontman-guitarist Jack Rugan turns out shameless bubblegum like "It's you that I want to touch/It's you that I want so much," followed by a string of "uh-huh-huhs," he makes the non-lyrics sound like an inspired romantic eruption. Rugan's a real songwriter, though; the rest of the refreshingly low-fi songs are pure rave-ups that find the middle ground between the Beatles and the Archies, but they'll have you pogoing like it's 1977.

- Scene Magazine, November 2005


"Jeff Niesel's reflection on "Refractory""

A SOFTWARE SALESMAN BY DAY, singer-guitarist Jack Rugan is a weekend rock ’n’ roll warrior. He didn’t put together Saul Glennon, the local band he’s fronted for over a decade, until just after he turned 30. Taking its name from a Batman comic, the group was formed with guitarist Adam Zieleniewski and drummer Jerry Rugan and issued its debut No Money for Beer in 1994.

Initially, Saul Glennon included Rugan’s brother-in-law, but after he left, the group became a three-piece for a short time. Since bassist Joe Rivera joined four years ago, the lineup has been a stable quartet and just issued Refractory, an album Rugan says reflects his life on the road as a traveling medical software salesman.
“Refractory was inspired by a few people who I ran into along the way,” Rugan explains via cell phone from a sales stop in Cincinnati. “I tell ’em I’m a songwriter about to give it up, and people tell me to continue living my dream. So I did.”


Recorded in five months, Refractory was an easier album to make than last year’s Touchy Feely, which featured 30 songs spread over two discs and was three years in the works. The emphasis on vocal harmonies and arrangements on Touchy suggested the band was going more for something along the lines of the Beach Boys than the ’60s garage rockers who had influenced its earlier albums. But it also meant the songs were difficult to play live, and Rugan wanted to simplify things for Refractory.
“Everything was quickly recorded,” Rugan says of Refractory. “It’s just what I would do on the weekend. It was spur-of-the-moment and off-the-cuff. I like the fact that it’s scrappy. The songs just came to me very easily. Touchy was supposed to be orchestrated. For Refractory, I just picked up the guitar and started strumming. It’s more about the feel and energy. This time around, a lot of the stuff started as demos. I’d have the band record over them. It really could have been a solo CD, but I didn’t want to do that.”
The album, which features brisk uptempo melodies that come across as something like a cross between XTC and the Foo Fighters, is also thematically unified. Most of the songs make some reference to romance (and the lack thereof) as Rugan writes about puppy love (“Make Me Your Saturn”) and sexual prowess (“Your Man”).
“The whole album is about male inadequacies when it comes to sex,” Rugan says. “Since I travel so much, I pick up the magazine Men’s Health, and those issues are in there all the time. ‘30 Minutes to Get Outta Dodge’ was built around this article about avoiding temptation. It suggested you go into the bathroom and whack off. That gives you 30 minutes to get out of Dodge. That’s how the thing came about.”
That’s not to imply that Rugan’s marriage is on the rocks.
“I had to have discussions with my wife about the songs,” he admits. “‘Gloves’ was written about my first girlfriend. It was a memory that came into my head about walking past her house and wanting to talk. As long as you’re honest about things, it’s okay. My wife tolerates it.”
Rugan’s also content to keep his day job and play the occasional live show. He’s in the process of making Refractory and the band’s other albums available on sites dedicated to digital downloads but doesn’t have any great aspirations other than to make the music widely available.
“The band is something we do the side,” he says. “If we sell a few CDs, that’s fine. Our expectations aren’t too high. A lot of Cleveland bands have come and gone in the past couple years, and we keep [Saul Glennon] what it is — a way to keep our minds off the day jobs.”

- Free times


"John Soeder's review of "Refractory""

The latest CD by one of the brightest groups on the local scene is scruffier than Saul Glennon's past few releases, exuding an indie-rock rambunctiousness often reminiscent of Twin/ Tone-era Replacements. Despite the rough edges, bandleader Jack Rugan's killer melodic instincts come across loud and clear on "Since You Know Everything," "30 Minutes to Get Outta Dodge" and the stomping title track. The bossa-nova-kissed "Red of the Wine" is a keeper, too. B+ - The Plain Dealer


Discography

1. No Money for Beer (1994)
2. Women, Mansions, Women, Yachts, Women (1995)
3. Music for three-piece quartet (2000)
4. British Garage Invasion (2001)
5. Touchy/Feely (2004)
6. 10 years of Saul Glennon (2004 promo release)
7. Refractory (2005)

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Bio

Hailing from the sunny, sandy shores of Lake Erie, Cleveland's Saul Glennon have been on the pop music scene since 1994.

20 years and soon to be 21. Wow. Hard to believe we've been making our brand of "British Garage Pop" for 2 decades now. Much has changed since bandleader Jack Rugan recorded "No money for beer" in the basement of an old Victorian home back in 1994. Many have entered our lives and more than a few have left. And yet, the family of  "Glennons" continues to grow and evolve. We shall continue to release and perform music that remains true to the vision of bandleader Jack Rugan - full of ragged harmonies, choppy guitars, shimmering drums, and just enough imperfection to provide what's missing in todays music...character.

The band's music is available on iTunes, Spotify, and a number of other digital download/streaming sites.