Third Class
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Third Class

Youngstown, Ohio, United States | SELF

Youngstown, Ohio, United States | SELF
Band Alternative Rock




"Get In: Calvin Johnson in Youngstown"

Get In: Calvin Johnson in Youngstown

(Article on, 2011)

On February 18, 2011, Calvin Johnson (formerly from Beat Happening and the Halo Benders) stopped in Youngstown, Ohio for the first time. Special thanks to the Wild Kindness for organizing this show.

Might I add there's a fine compilation of covers titled Hot Chocolate Nation: A Tribute to Calvin Johnson, which I recommended before. At the very least, check out Third Class' terrific cover of "Look Around."

Along with Joe Shelby, Third Class opened the show at the Calvin Center. Their set was heavy on new material the band aims to release on a forthcoming EP, and to my surprise, they performed the CJ cover in his presence. Third Class owe much of their indie pop sound and childish subject matter to Beat Happening. And if this had been a bigger show, they surely would have added new fans to their devoted following.

While Calvin Johnson performed only one recognizable tune to my ears, The Halo Benders' "Love Travels Faster," it was still a show that would satisfy fans of his earlier work. -

"Third Class takes first-class approach"

Third Class takes first-class approach

(Article on, 2011)

Third Class has been a driving force throughout the Youngstown / northeast Ohio music scenes since 1999.

The band started out with a standard mid-'80s lo-fi post-punk sound that it recorded and distributed on cassette tapes sold at living rooms shows. Keyboardist Lee Echard Boyle said they've transitioned to more well-thought-out songs with strong poetic direction.
''Our sound has changed over the years in many ways, but I think the most noticeable feature is that our songs have become a bit catchier. We went from an instrumental, improvisational mindset into a more lyrically oriented, aesthetically aware approach,'' Boyle said.

On Saturday, at Cedar's Lounge, 23 N. Hazel St., Third Class will take on a world of their own with Fillmore Jive, of New Castle, Pa., along with Ram In the Bush from Alliance.
Third Class - Lee Echard Boyle, Pepe Parish and Jack Boyle - have released a half-dozen albums and EPs, several of which are out of print. ''Chloe's Epitaph Is Chloe'' (2006) and ''The Red Wheelbarrow'' (2009) still are available and the band also contributed a cover of Beat Happening's ''Look Around'' to the Wild Kindness' compilation ''Hot Chocolate Nation: A Tribute to Calvin Johnson.''

With so many accomplishments fulfilled and complete, Third Class still remains as a group of nonstop, DIY passionate diehards.

"We have been writing new songs, which will hopefully appear on an EP later in this year. We've been trying to raise money to fund the production ... and our goal is to give the album away for free at future shows," Boyle said.

The band has a fundraising page on its website at

Third Class' music has been featured in the independent film ''Youngstown Shakedown'' and the documentary ''New York Meets The Faux Paus.'' The band plans on playing more shows across Ohio to cities such as Athens and Toledo.

"We hope to organize a summer tour this year, but we don't know if the EP will overshadow the tour or not," Boyle said.

However Boyle and the men of Third Class are thrilled to share the Cedars stage with the diversely like-minded acts Fillmore Jive and Ram In the Bush.

"If one attends our show on Feb. 12, they will hear all our songs that will be recorded on the upcoming EP,'' Boyle said. ''Crowds will hear some old favorites from 'Chloe's Epitaph Is Chloe' and some of the upbeat songs from 'The Red Wheelbarrow.' However, if requested, we'll play our version of Beat Happening's 'Look Around.''' -

"Third Class album is anything but"

Third Class album is anything but

(Article in The Wooster Voice, 2009)

by Zach McBride, Voice Staff

“The Red Wheelbarrow” is the new album from the Youngstown band, Third Class. Comprised of brothers Lee Boyle and Wooster alum Jack Boyle ’08 alongside Pepe Parish, Third Class offers an excellent record that displays the new sound of the band and the growth since their album released in 2006, “Chloe’s Epitaph is Chloe.”

Third Class’s sound is abrasive and at the same time lucid. It weaves in and out of convention and familiarity. There are times when their sound is reminiscent of so many artists it’s impossible to pinpoint just one, and then eight seconds further into the song it collapses into a musical heap of conflicting layers, only to reconstruct within seconds into a completely different song.

This is the problem in reviewing them: their music is so complex that it is difficult to summarize their overarching character. Each phase of their songs could easily be its own universe, yet layered as they are and constantly morphing, they form an elusive shape. The specific sounds of “The Red Wheelbarrow” start with the upbeat and catchy melodies of “Party In Your House.” This track most closely resembles their earlier works, comprising of driving lyrics surrounded and seemingly held aloft by syncopated rhythms and frequent changes in tempo.

Following this is “Ellison’s Harlem,” exemplifying their new and mature sound. It offers driving chords and a steady beat, often left behind in the complexities of their earlier work. After this, the band fuses these two sounds together in “Rainy and Stormy,” an amalgamation of the two sounds — and a marriage that works best of all. These three opening tracks offer the strongest and most insightful survey of the general sound of Third Class.

Yet that’s not where the brilli-ance ends.

The rest of the disc offers a tranquil ex-perience, interrupted from time to time with experimental interludes that run from the terrifying “Egypt Then Roswell” to the frantic surprise-punk track “Flight of Owls.” Third Class does not allow you to sleep while listening to their album. It is an intellectual pursuit.

The disc closes with what can only be described as a joyful and sentimental romp. “Great Days” and “Nursery” provide a sense of closure to the album. They seem to describe the memories of the past, both painful and filled with joy. Slower than the other tracks, they are an excellent closing thought to a sometimes frantic sounding work.

The liner notes to the album offer perhaps the best description of the history and tone of Third Class. It playfully tells a story of “three feral ‘children’” who sought to “rebuild the tools of their craft.” What they produced after “37 decades” of isolation was “not wholly unbearable to others.”

And that is, in a sense, what Third Class has done. Previously dealing with experimental pop, they have moved towards a more conventional sound. Yet they have retained their experimental influences, and because of it, today produce a sound unlike anybody else.

Third Class has their two most recent albums, including this one, available on iTunes or through their Web site at For those in search of some serious musical brain food, “The Red Wheelbarrow” is an eminently worthy purchase (or equally satisfactory illegal download). - The Wooster Voice

"Entertainment Spotlight: Third Class"

Entertainment Spotlight: Third Class
Posted in Entertainment, 11-9 Print Issue, Youngstown music by lennycrist on the November 8th, 2006
With its new CD, Third Class is out to prove itself to the non-believers
by Leonard Glenn Crist
from 11-9 Print Issue
There was a rumor going around for decades that Barry Manilow..s song ..Mandy.. was really about a dog, not a lover. In the movie Can..t Hardly Wait this drove Ethan Embry crazy. The girl he liked was named Mandy, and the song suddenly made sense to him. If it was really about a dog, all might be lost.
On Third Class.. new full length CD Chloe..s Epitaph is Chloe, the East Palestine-based quirk-pop group is treading dangerous ground for anybody who knows .. and possibly loves .. a Chloe. A first glance at the quasi-concept album..s lyrics .. one example: ..Chloe when you spiral above the carpet, it..s a shame .. A drug inside your wrist, my wrist is clean.. .. might leave you with the impression that primary lyricist Lee Boyle once loved and lost a drug-addicted gal named Chloe. Turns out the song is about cat who died when Lee and his brother Jack were little kids. They buried the cat and wrote its name on a gravestone, hence Chloe..s Epitaph is Chloe.
..We just like the word epitaph,.. Lee says, noting that the ..drug inside your wrist.. is just a metaphor for a very strong memory, in this case, of a cat. ..We didn..t really think much about drugs...
The new CD, hurriedly recorded in two-and-a-half days at Youngstown..s Ampreon Recorder with owner/engineer Pete Drivere, sees official release on Nov. 10 when Third Class holds a CD release concert at Cedar..s Lounge. The album is a mix of new songs and old favorites that weren..t properly recorded in the past. Only in their early 20s, the members of Third Class .. Lee and Jack Boyle and Pepe Parish .. have been together in some form for 10 years. They have self-released five albums, counting the new LP. One of the songs on Chloe dates to when Parish was just 11 years old.
Third Class.. music is a brave and fiercely original brand of nearly unclassifiable rock. The new album is almost an attempt to classify their idiosyncratic sound.
..Since it was recorded well, instead of in a garage or in a basement, it spells out everything for people who might not get it right away,.. Lee says. ..Maybe it..s more accessible...
Accessibility has been a problem for the band in the past. They write songs for themselves and their music isn..t always well understood by audiences. In ..Painting a Picture Over and Over,.. a song on the new album, Third Class sings, ..Close minded freaks you have no hope...
..A lot of people would seem so alienated by us sometimes,.. Parish says. ..I remember the first time we played at Cedar..s. So many people just thought we were creepy or something. They just thought we were so weird...
But Third Class certainly doesn..t let an unenthusiastic crowd deter them from doing what they do. played an impressive number of shows over the years and have been embraced by some of Youngstown..s most influential musicians. A song on Chloe, ..Explode The Sky,.. features guest vocals by the Zou..s Khaled Tabbara and Posture Coach..s Kris Mills, among others.
Third Class also has an advantage over most other bands: they are lifelong friends and brothers.
..We learned to play our instruments together,.. Parish says. ..We influenced each other. definitely all on the same page. One of the biggest benefits we have as a band is that we grew up together...
Lee jumps in. ..If one person quits, that..s it, there..s no more band...

- The Walruss

"Record Review: Third Class"

October 6, 2006
Record Review: Third Class
Category: Music
At first listen, it seems a deranged, chaotic cacophony which could induce ADD, but beneath this confusion is a fresh Alternative EP debut from an innovative trio of acomplished artists. (And their live shows are amazing!)
It is an acquired taste, this CD, as some of the structure changes are very abrupt and it seems like they are trying to sort out their musical identity and direction at times, but once you get past that, you can see quality compositions shining with polished chops.
On "Hospital Restrooms" I could observe a Peter Hook (New Order, one of my all-time favourites) element to the bass line which I enjoyed. "Victory of the Severed" in it's confusion, resemebled to me, somewhat of The Cure's "The Top" EP's tracks. (An EP I do not have, but remember listening to in Samoa while hanging out with my friend Gordon Marcelo) "Full-Frame Movies" had a Cure element to it, "Get Out of My Head" had a slight flashback to Suicidal Tendencies "Institutionalized" and "Explode the Sky" in it's groaning words and droning sounds, reminded me of Ian Curtis of Joy Division, one of my favourite artists of all time.
My favourite tracks, no particular order, were: "A Drug inside your Wrist" (both parts one and two) "Hospital Restrooms" "I love this" "Get out of my head" "Full-Frame Movies" "Explode the Sky" and "Blue"
It is an interesting and original CD, this. Nice, polished sound and quality packaging, professionally done.
See also their site: for more and to give the artist deserved kudos. - Robotique Records

"Local Band In A Class Of It's Own"

Local band in a class of its own

By Josh Mays

Marble gargoyles scowl menacingly from behind the bar as they attempt to blend with the Middle Eastern theme. The walls are a multihued collection of spotlights that display a show of local art.

In the adjoining room DJs spin, and across the patio is a continuous parade of acoustic acts. But here, performing on the main stage, is Third Class.

They are soulful and melodic.

"I paint my own reality/you should/But I am not telling you what to do," croons Jack Boyle above the hum of the crowd.

It could also be said that their sound is being strained through a cheese grater - and it is definitely purple-ish green. Or, that their sound is an elder Miles Davis riding a jet engine or Elvis Costello playing the harp.

Third Class plays at their own pace, often taking the time to exchange instruments. They perform with their own style, which includes dual keyboards and drums.

Third Class plays to enjoy their art which, depending on the crowd, may or may not accept it as music.

"They are the most unique band I have seen in a really long time," said Simon Kenneally, organizer of the Bon Frog Festival, held at Cedar's last month. Kenneally is also the man responsible for bringing Third Class to Cedar's. "They are young writers that are not afraid to be what they want, and it makes for good music."

With jeans, t-shirts, skate shoes and the occasional piercing, Jack Boyle, Lee Boyle, and Pepe Parish look like your average young collegiate. They lean against the bar and make no attempt to hide the large marks on their hands that prohibit alcohol consumption.

Third Class' style is conducive to their fierce independent streak.

"We don't like being compared to anyone. We really don't like labels at all," says Parish. "This is probably one of the things we stand strongest against. When we label ourselves, we confine ourselves."

Parish said he resents the categorization of emo/screamo music.

"Anyone who labels themselves is a huge load of crap," he said. When asked how, if forced, he would categorize their music, Parish laughingly replied, "Basically, we play death metal."

Parish also declines to explain the lyrics of their songs or their musical background and inspiration.

"We don't tell people about our lyrics, he said. "We want people to get what they want out of it."

Nearly everyone in the bar applauds at the conclusion of each song. If they do not approve of Third Class' sonic assault, they are not showing it. Simultaneously, Third Class is not catering to the audience - they are admittedly playing for themselves.

"They are unique and courageous for playing the way that they do and writing songs that mean something to them," said freshman Nicole Casacchia, one of many YSU students in attendance and a Third Class fan. "I don't think that it is selfish they are playing music that pleases them. They have themselves grounded and have a good grasp on reality and I respect them for that."

Not everyone gets what they want from Third Class, and not all their performances are met as warmly.

"Most people just want to hear something catchy," Parish said. "We have done a lot of charities where everyone hated us."

Third Class may not have always been well received, but it has not deterred them.

"Youngstown is a big thing for us, but at the same time it's like a small town in mentality."

"I can tell you the music we listen to, but I don't consider it inspiration," Parish said. "We write what is fun, different and original. But we try not to think about it too much. We don't try so hard we lose touch of what we are doing."

Parish said Third Class view their music as art. They have the belief that by doing what they like, what is natural to them, the rest will follow.

He said their philosophy is that focusing too hard on creating art or music would destroy the entire process.

"We don't get so involved with it as art that we stop having fun with it."

- The Jambar

"Nouveau Rock Festival Showcases A Wide Range Of Talents"

Nouveau Rock Festival showcases a wide range of talents
By Bill Rodgers

Dangerously loud amplifiers, dozens of people crowded in a room, graffiti all over the men's bathroom, kids with awful haircuts jumping up and down while someone on stage thrashes on an old two-string guitar.


What were you and your friends up to on Saturday night? Playing beer-pong in a damp basement? Watching movies home alone? Studying (God forbid)? An annual rock music festival in Youngstown was seeking to drag you out of your room and breathe some life into the local music scene.

Saturday was the second annual Nouveau Rock festival at Cedars in downtown Youngstown. The event was the brainchild of Youngstown rockers The Zou. The concert featured six local bands as well as a DJ who played between sets.

"The whole point is to get people into other bands that they may like," Khaled Tabbara of The Zou said. "I'd like for concerts to be the number one or two thing that people do on the weekend."

Tabarra said he wanted to get similar-sounding bands together to create the beginnings of a fanbase for a Youngstown style of music called Nouveau Rock.

What exactly is a "nouveau" and why does it rock? Lee Boyle of 3rd Class, a band who played at the concert, offered an explanation.

"'Nouveau' means 'new and different, often fashionably so.' The bands gathered in this show all have a new and progressive sound," Boyle said.

Tabbara added his explanation, as well.

"These bands aren't all alike in the way they sound; but they're alike in their desire to be unique," Tabbara said. "Every band in the lineup is doing music no one else in Youngstown can do."

The bands in the lineup all reflected the strange, nebulous term known as "nouveau." Each was different, and yet they all had the same attitude toward music: to make something new and unique. The night began with the crazy lyrics of Beefist, who sang keyboard-heavy songs with titles like "Whale Blubber on the Poopdeck."

3rd Class made a Pink Floyd-caliber guitar solo using only a two-string guitar. DJ Norm Rockwell was spinning beats using strange tracks such as Velvet Underground's "Take a Walk on the Wild Side."

The concert also had influence from heavier sounding local acts such as Lady Fantastic, a band who was almost too noisy. At one point during Lady Fantastic's set, a small mosh pit had formed when a singer was screaming down at the crowd from on top of the amps. Lady Fantastic did a great ultra-heavy version of The Zou's "How to Build an H-Bomb."

With their unique mix of Beatles, blues and art-rock, The Zou's performance was one of the show's major highlights. They performed a great set that tied the show together. They premiered some of their new songs that, while not as exciting as their older material, kept the show new and fresh.

The Zou also performed their song "Central Aire" with a special DJ break by Norm Rockwell.

Khaled was quick to improvise some lyrics. "In the city! The city of Yompton!" he sang.

The Nouveau Rock festival was a fun time. However, if Tabbara is going to succeed in what he called "the cohesive music scene that I dream of," Youngstown's nouveau rockers are going to have to perform concerts together a lot more often than just once a year. If this can happen, it will be interesting to see what music comes out of Youngstown in the future. - The Jambar


Chloe's Epitaph Is Chloe (2006), The Red Wheelbarrow (2009), Hot Chocolate Nation: A Tribute To Calvin Johnson (2011).



Third Class began as a product of three feral “children” who were adopted by kind parents and given instruments but no musical instruction. Over one hundred and twelve years of what might be called practice – but which also could be called the reinvention of music – the three wild children, locked in a padded room, broke guitar strings and keyboards and drumheads, rebuilding and innovating the tools of their craft until the instruments they used had no hope of being readily recognizable to modern musicians but rather seemed like weapons and torture devices from the future. At first, the music they made with their sci-fi nuitars and kianos was partially recognizable as noise, though would never be categorized as music, at least not by humans. However, over a period of thirty-seven decades, the children, who had since grown into young “men” and had left their padded room, developed a musical styling which was not wholly unbearable to others. In fact, with time and repeated exposure, some even began to enjoy the music which those who later became known as Third Class produced.


In East Palestine, Ohio, the band, Third Class, made up of brothers Lee and Jack Boyle and friend Pepe Parish, formed. They played in living rooms and basements, then moved to playing in venues such as Cedars Lounge of Youngstown, Ohio and The Lazy Bean Café in Columbiana, Ohio. Four lo-fi albums were recorded in the Boyle’s residence and sold at shows. They are now out of print. Third Class was featured on the local NBC News and received airplay on Backyard Bands on Youngstown’s 98.9 FM. There was a small review in The Morning Journal in East Palestine for a high school talent show performance in which a friend of the band took his pants off on stage. Third Class played the first Nouveau Rock Festival, a Youngstown music showcase hosted by local band, The Zou.


Third Class embarked on a modest tour to pass out demos and perform in New York City and Long Island, New York. Youngstown’s The Jambar praised the band for a “fierce independent streak.” The band played Ohio shows in Akron, Wooster, Bowling Green and Kent, as well as shows in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Louisville, Kentucky. They did an interview on Black Squirrel Radio in Kent, Ohio and then spent four days recording their first studio album, Chloe’s Epitaph Is Chloe, at Ampreon Recorder with renowned Youngstown engineer and musician, Pete Drivere. Youngstown’s The Walruss called the album “an attempt to classify [an] idiosyncratic sound” and Youngstown’s The Vindicator deemed Third Class “a band to be reckoned with in Northeast Ohio.” To promote the album, the band played numerous Ohio shows in Youngstown, Cleveland and Alliance, Pennsylvania shows in Cambridge Springs and Philadelphia, as well as shows in Cleveland, Tennessee and Louisville, Kentucky. The band received airplay from 93.3’s The Homegrown Show in Youngstown and Ruckus Radio online, as well as write-ups in The Salem News in Salem, Ohio and Youngstown’s


Third Class released their second studio album, The Red Wheelbarrow, recorded at Ampreon, which The Voice of Wooster, Ohio called “an intellectual pursuit.” Write-ups followed from Youngstown’s, The Vindicator,,, The Salem News and Third Class received airplay from unsigned-artist radio stations online, Westsidewill Radio and JFL: The Mixx, and an online pod cast interview by Saw Kick Media of Cleveland, Ohio. Jack’s poetry was published in The Salt River Review online and Jenny in Youngstown, Ohio and he was accepted into graduate school with a teaching assistantship. Lee’s poetry was nominated for a Pushcart Prize and published in Off The Coast in Robbinston, Maine, Abbey in Columbia, Maryland, Leveler online and Advocate in Prattsville, New York. Third Class played shows in their regular routes and included Ohio shows in Geneva-On-The-Lake, Columbus, Toledo and Athens, as well as shows in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Eastpointe, Michigan. Third Class’ albums became available in a variety of places including online stores such as iTunes, Napster, and CDBaby. Local stores, Indie Wax in Youngstown, Dave’s Music Mine in Pittsburgh, Square Records in Akron, Turn-Up Records and Spin-More Records in Kent, Ohio, started carrying the albums. Dyno Records in Newburyport, Massachusetts and Madgirl World in Portland, Maine gave away free copies of the albums and the band continued to play the ever-growing Nouveau Rock Festival in Youngstown. Third Class received airplay on the online radio station, Rukus Radio. The band was featured on a tribute album to Calvin Johnson of bands The Halo Benders and Beat Happening, also known for his label called K Records. The album is entitled Hot Chocolate Nation: A Tribute To Calvin Johnson and was created by a small record company called The Wild Kindness. As a result, Third Class later opened for Calvin, himself, at a