Dark-Punk Rock ‘n’ Rollers Release Highly Anticipated Album
words and photos by Brittany Nader
When one thinks of horror punk, bands like Misfits, The Cramps and T.S.O.L. might come to mind. B-movie lyrical references, skeleton makeup and serial killer imagery or motifs are common in this punk rock sub-genre. Every once in a while, a band will come along that challenges the conventions of even the most underground or subversive subculture, recalling its recognizable themes but infusing them with something unexpected and utterly captivating. Lucky for us, one such band — The Ruminators — does this right in our neck of the woods.
Akron’s Ruminators, Catie O’Shea, Adam Burr and Nick DeCorpseville, can often be seen hitting the stage or moseying about the bar at Annabell’s in Highland Square. Catie’s jet-black hair, Bettie bangs and distinct booming voice are a magnet that not only pulls one in from across the popular punk-rock bar, but also manages to be the central force that draws The Ruminators together.
Catie is a prolific Akron musician, having played in Dead Federation, First Offense, The Balboas and The Stimulators. She was on a quest to start a band with minimal members, loud, fast, to-the-point songs and on-stage theatrics that would turn a typical punk-rock show into a mystical and enchanting experience. Catie teamed up with Adam, an equally charismatic vocalist who can be seen from time to time sporting makeup, a dress or a suggestive French maid outfit on stage.
“Adam and I had a good musical rapport,” Catie says. “I knew Adam, wanted to join forces and have him as a front man.”
Catie introduced songs she had crafted with The Stimulators and reworked them for this new project. In addition, many new tracks emerged from “mystic fragments” the bandmates had come up with during band practices and scrawled in a notebook. The phrases were then expanded into conceptual lyrics and ultimately developed into cohesive songs, featuring Catie’s baritone guitar, Nick’s animalistic drums and Adam’s punk-rock yowl.
The plan was to introduce the band to Akronites by opening for former Misfits lead singer, Michale Graves, at Annabell’s in fall of 2016 — until the show was canceled. Nonetheless, after recruiting Nick on drums and performing upstairs at the bar, the band became a fast hit, and interest by local regulars, punk rock fans and barflies was piqued. After playing their first show with local anarcho punk band, SlutBomb, demand for The Ruminators’ music to be available in album form was, for the trio, unexpectedly high.
Whereas some horror punk bands may veer away from introducing political topics into their otherwise narrowly themed songs, The Ruminators aren’t shy about using healthy doses of conspiracy theories and political figures in ironic ways to construct loud, fast, brash and engaging songs.
“We’re dark rock, mystical, esoteric,” Catie says. “We want to bring a little interdimensionality and enlightenment to conspiracy theories. The songs are to the point. Stripped-down Rock ‘n’ Roll.”
The Ruminators’ seven-track release, “Get Ruminated,” was recorded at Akron’s Central 8 Studios in 2017 and will officially be released at a party, unsurprisingly held at Annabell’s, May 12. The album kicks off with “Paul Is Dead,” a nod to the oft-referenced Beatle, where Adam’s repetitive wail of “punk rock trash” contrasts the conspiracy themes in an off-kilter and abstract way that is quintessential to The Ruminators’ repertoire. “Ronald Raygun” follows the introductory tract, a fusion of politics and sci-fi imagery that oddly gels just right with the band’s visuals and on-stage antics.
Catie says the spring album release event will include the band’s typical live-performance theatrics, such as smoke machines, perhaps some crowd sage smudging and specific outfits or costumes that keep the band’s image clear, cohesive and memorable. Catie has a distinct look that fuses horror and punk rock, while Nick’s curly mop recalls werewolf imagery. It’s Adam’s lanky frame, shaggy blond locks and penchant for writhing in women’s clothing that often draws people in to the band’s live performances initially.
“We’re not characters or contrived,” Adam says. “It’s just us, enhanced. When I perform, it’s like I’m the person you want to be sitting by at the bar.”
Adam’s on-stage energy recalls the likes of Stiv Bators or Lux Interior — two of Akron’s finest punk-rock legends unafraid to play around with androgyny and mayhem during their performances. A fan of The Ruminators, Jon Oldham says the trio reminds him of The Cramps, The Dicks and a little B-52’s. While there is camp and darkness in The Ruminators’ look and live shows, there is depth and thoughtfulness in the band’s songs that add to their sound evolution.
Catie says the trio is working on new songs, such as “Charcuterie Cadaver,” that is partly written in Latin. The musicians may expand their sound with an addition of a keyboard and plan to perform a few new covers to mix into the set list. The Ruminators’ future also includes playing beyond Akron and Cleveland venues, perhaps with a painted van transporting them through graveyards, dive bars and interplanetary voids as they hit the road.
“Our plan is to tour this dimension and beyond,” Catie says.
Catch The Ruminators live at these upcoming shows:
Friday, April 13 at Annabell’s. Lineup includes Caustic Casanova, Night Goat and Best Sleep. Show starts at 9:30 pm.
Saturday, May 12 at Annabell’s. The Ruminators CD release party will include performances by Black Static Eye, Trunkride and Sump Pump Sluts. The shindig starts at 9 pm.
Wednesday, June 20 at Annabell’s. The 9 pm. show will also include sets by Forsaken Profits from Atlanta and Pleasures of the Ultraviolence from Asheville, NC.
Brittany Nader can’t wait to Get Ruminated at The Ruminators’ album release party at Annabell’s.