The Off Ramps
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The Off Ramps

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Head Cheese - The OffRamps

The hard R of a heartland drawl and clangy Fender distortion: "Plain-faced" doesn't even nail how straightforward the Offramps really are. What can they say? They're guys who love their record collections. But the Ypsilanti trio is a fine addition to our beer-core movement, especially since vocalist-guitarist J. Porter writes lines like "I fell in love on a Hallmark holiday/Ask me nice but I'll never go away/Just look inside to see the things I could never say," lines that reveal the pathos in the lives of average white guys everywhere. Here he muses on hangovers, country and Ypsi pride.

5. Hangovers: They get a bad rap. We're older, and booze goes down tougher. Headaches and dry heaves. But there's promise. Breakfast tastes better, and your tolerance increases. Really, a good hangover just makes you feel younger.

4. Volume: Uptight sound guys and hipster chicks with their hands over their ears? Come on. "There's a ringing in my ears that's heaven sent," one of my mentors said. Who needs to hear the TV anyway?

3. Ringer T's: Put a ringer T on an average dude and suddenly you have, well, an average dude in a ringer T. But, damn, do they look hot on a girl.

2. Outlaw country: Who doesn't like Johnny Cash? And Waylon, Merle, Willie and Hank? Timeless music we thought was history until we heard the new breed — Wayne Hancock, Hank III, Shooter Jennings and more. There is hope.

1. Ypsilanti: It's still there! No more Cross Street Station or Green Room, but Elbow Room and TC's are going strong. Ypsi venues have supported local music since we can remember, and still are. When no one else will have you, Ypsi will. And don't sleep on Abe's!
- April 4, 2007


We finally set our sights on Mr. Pitiful's — great move. Instead of ending up in Rock limbo, we found ourselves two of the first people in a crowd that would multiply over the next half hour. The first to take the stage were a threesome from Michigan called The Off Ramps who were just plain fun. They all wore those ringed t-shirts that were really popular with guys a few years ago, a fashion move that would have seemed hokey and “planned” on any other band, but you could tell that these guys viewed clothing as mere protection from the elements, making the coincidental synchronization that much more endearing. The songs were engaging and lyrically clever (“I’m the life of the party/Party of one”) with the straightforward Rock sensibilities of the Replacements and Husker Du. We were happy to hear from the drummer later that the Off Ramps will soon be gig-swapping with Cincinnati’s Turnbull AC’s. We’ll definitely be out to see them when they return.

- September 30, 2007


Below is a select sample. - For ALL of our press, please visit www.theofframps.com/press.php


Hailing from the great state of Michigan, this Detroit-area trio recaptures — with credible acumen and ease–the Spirit of ‘86. By blending straight-up rock with hints of the ’80s British Invasion and the creme de la creme of the legendary Minneapolis scene (Replacements, yes, Husker Du, somewhat, early Soul Asylum, probably) and even a little bit of Kinsley, Kansas’s favorite son, Freedy Johnston, the group shows that rock ’n’ roll can still be what it used to be and that it’s only a shriveled, painted whore in the hands of those who wish to make it so.

The best material found on Hate it When You’re Right includes the stomping “Hallmark Holiday,” the gorgeous “Chapter Eight” and the buzzing instrumental-driven fun of “The Offramp.” The no-frills pop of “Riding Fences” and “Impulse Buy,” which approaches ‘eavy rock, don’t hurt things either. Guitarist Jeremy Porter’s work drives the band throughout, even in less interesting moments such as “Nothing to Get Dressed For” and “Don’t Wanna Wait.” Judging from this record, The Offramps must be a fantastic live band and, based on what’s here, its accuracy and boldness on the stage may soon translate to the studio as well.

- January 18, 2007


The OffRamps - On The Radar

Its pretty clear the The Offramps find their influential roots in 80s punk and metal. A hint of twang adds positively to their appeal. Hate It When You?fre Right shows off the band?fs talent with a diverse set of rockin?f tunes. From the lead track ?gTwenty3?h which is reminiscent of the drunken guitars of Dinosaur Jr. or Son Volt to the power chords of ?gMotorcade?h or ?gImpulse Buy?h reminscent of an Urge Overkill.

The album is chock full of amped up melodies to get your arms flaring and your head bobbing. Its clear that they know they jam as evidenced in the organized chaos of guitar instrumental ?gThe Offramp?h perhaps the band?fs theme song. With shrewd lyrics, powerful hooks and a sound to make any guitar enthusiast salivate, The Offramps rock!

If you like that, I think you?fll also love ?gTwenty3??, ?gChapter Eight?h, ?gNothing to Get Dressed For?h and ?gHallmark Holiday?h. Heck, do yourself a favor and pick up a copy of the whole dang album. You won?ft be sorry. Its available from iTunes, Miles of Music and TheOffRamps.com.
- January 24, 2007


CD Review - Hate It When You're Right

...It's Midwestern, t shirt and jeans, beer drinking, rocking pop. That’s no put down, when its done right there’s little better music played on this planet, and the Offramps do it right. The record is chock full of hooky songs with punchy riffs and sharp solos. ‘Chapter Eight’ has a terrific riff, it has a twist in it that calls to mind Tom Petty’s ‘Listen To Her Heart’, it’s got much meatier guitar than the Petty song though, and it’s possibly the only song ever with the line ‘Shut up and tie me a sheepshank knot’! - January 31, 2007


The Offramps are a band that can best be described as a ‘blender delight;’ no matter what the overwhelming taste of the band may be, more than a few quick surprises swirled around inside help to keep the musical palate clear.

Most of all, Hate It When You’re Right whips about with the sort of Midwestern pop sensibilities that try to integrate punk and country into the mix at the same time. The end result is a set of grainy toe-tappers that wouldn’t seem out of place to fans of Bob Seger, Paul Westerberg and Neil Young.

Tracks like “Twenty3,” “Sunshine State” and “Hallmark Holiday” (there’s a sweet harmonica solo on that one) are catchy bar rockers – the kind of thing you’d expect to hear walking into a blue collar bar for a Miller High Life on a Saturday night in a suburban town. The guitar solos are fluent, the riffs jangle, and the rhythm section rolls along like a strong plow. Sometimes words get in the way; therefore, instrumental piece “The Offramp” sends out a strong ‘Saturday night and feelin’ alright’ vibe with nothing more than a crunchy riff, a few slight rhythm changes and a good time guitar solo.

The album’s brazen centerpiece is the pseudo-ballad “Don’t Wanna Wait,” which makes the band sound like a bizarre Midwestern version of Television. The slick opening pause-and-go acoustic guitar couples with the slightly twangy vocal to create a vaguely Westerbergian vibe; however, whenever the rhythm picks up a bit and the vocals drop out, the lead guitar squalls are so loosely wound and frayed that they instantly bring to mind Richard Lloyd.

The overall sound here is too influenced by 80’s punk beats to stick The Offramps with the oft-beleaguered ‘alt-country’ mantle. Still, the down-home swagger and slight twang in Hate It When You’re Right (“Skoal Motel,” anyone?) serves more to more to identify where The Offramps have been, rather than who the band is. The real message here is in the songs, which are crisp, catchy and more than ably put to life on this album.

- January 16, 2007


Could `Hate It When You Are Right` by The Offramps be the best Replacements album in 20 years? Detroit`s The Offramps have made the the successor to the `Mats "Please To Meet Me" that "All Shook Down" wasn`t. No band can live up to the lofty expectation of being the next Replacements, but The Offramps do an exceptionally good job of capturing the loose, loud roots-pop of Minnesota`s favorite band that no one has ever heard of. The Offramps have taken the ground work laid by luminaries The Replacements , Cheap Trick, and Joan Jett and done it right. New ground is not being broken here, but the fertile sound from an era has been recaptured without sounding retro. - November 15, 2006


The OffRamps are a Michigan guitar-pop three-piece with influences from 90's alt rock, country, and a few combos from Minnesota and Chapel Hill. If you like your power pop with a bit of ragged jangle, earnest vocals and a bit of Superchunk and Replacements, you're gonna flat out love this band! - December 15, 2006


The OffRamps - Power Pop Music That Rocks

The OffRamps sound like other bands. This I learned from reading the band's press release: "They've been labeled by the press as power-pop, Americana, pop-punk or - depending who you ask - various combinations of those terms. But they call it rock. The kind that goes well with a beer and a shot in a smoky bar."

But wait. There are other kinds of acts the OffRamps are like, according to the release: They are the kind you sing to in your car, the kind you weren't sure "still existed in this age of MTV2 and MySpace," the heartfelt kind, the kind that will curl your toes - and the "real, honest, heartfelt Midwestern" kind.

We're talking about three musicians from Ann Arbor; they play Mickey Finn's tomorrow night and Howard's Club H (in Bowling Green) on Jan. 20. They've been around the scene about five years. They are compared (by journalists) to the Replacements, the Rolling Stones, the Old 97s, Social Distortion (but with "less snarl"), the Replacements again, Cheap Trick, and the Replacements. And if the members think they go with "a beer and a shot," All Music Guide gets more specific: They go with "a shot of whiskey and a Pabst Blue Ribbon."

So I called Jeremy Porter.

Porter is the leader o' the O-Ramps. He writes the songs. He sings. He plays guitar. Like Porter, the other members, Jason Bowes (bass) and Mike Popovich (drums), spring from similar Michigan bar bands. Popovich was in the Holy Cows. The other bands are more obscure. But no matter - they are the OffRamps, and their songs do, in fact, rock.

Their first album is "Hate It When You're Right," and, well, once I read that press release I was thinking, yes, the Replacements - no-nonsense, without the off-the-rails abandon of the 'Mats, without the jagged edges - January 11, 2007


Discography

"Split The Difference" - Full length CD - June 2008

"Hate it when You're Right" - Full length CD - Spetember 2006

Sinkhole - From "Hell No I Ain't DBT - A Tribute to the Drive-By Truckers"

Born To Raise Hell - From "AMCT4: A Tribute to Cheap Trick"

2006 Demos - Recorded in the basement for promotional use only.

Photos

Bio

The OffRamps have been together for over 6 years. Raised on a steady diet of power-pop, punk, classic rock and Americana, the 3 members met after sharing stages as members of such established Detroit/Ann Arbor bands as The Holy Cows, SlugBug, Culture Bandits, Clashback, 3 Speed and The Hoolapoppers, to name a few.

Since then, they’ve released a well-received CD - Hate It When You’re Right (Deluxe - 2006) and played 100 shows across the Upper-Midwest. They’ve appeared on major festival stages, at local corner bars and in most of the premiere venues in Michigan and Ohio. They’ve performed on nationally syndicated radio shows and university stations across the region.

The OffRamps bring a blue collar work ethic to the stage, consistently delivering high-energy sets of well crafted original songs steeped in the tradition of the great power-pop, rock and punk bands of the last 3 decades, with a refreshing modern twist that is distinctly original. With an emphasis on hooks, energy and creative arrangements, audiences can’t help but pay attention. They’re well rehearsed and professional, but loose, fun and engaging at the same time.

In June of 2008 The OffRamps will release their second record, SPLIT THE DIFFERENCE (Deluxe) - 12 more tracks showcasing their unique sound. Following the release, they’ll be supporting the record on stages everywhere.