Saying adios to Cleveland in the fall of 2002 was one of the hardest things I had ever done in my life up until that point. But once we started having these little bon voyage parties… they were so much fun, we couldn’t stop.
In the end we hosted more farewell concerts than a Cher tour.
Who was leaving and why?
I was splitting with Ohio after a thirteen-year romance that started back in 1990 when I arrived to attend Case Western Reserve University. After U.S. Rocker, I wanted a media job. I couldn’t find one in Cleveland.
Also: I wanted a boyfriend. Possibly many boyfriends. I wanted to live in the sun. I wanted to make some slick shit and make some money. Naturally, Los Angeles was my next stop. [I’m writing this twenty years later in 2022. I’m still in L.A. I’ve now lived here almost twice as long as I lived in Cleveland.]
This meant our recording studio, The Invisible City, which we built up quite literally from nothing with our bare hands—and the incredible creative efforts of dozens of bands across six years and 150 recording sessions—was kaput. Ugh. After all that work—done? Really?
To this day , it still makes me want to cry. And I miss Mike.
However, in a classic case of ‘life-gives-you-lemons,’ we made sweet sweet lemonade with these many goodbye parties.
The first one, starring Coffinberry and Sean & Ian, was such a blast, well, two weeks later we hosted another! This time with even less furniture and our shit now half in boxes, waiting to get carted away.
Did we really charge $3 for this casual event? I don’t think so. Maybe that was to keep the riff-raff out, since it was weird to advertise a house party in the local newspaper. You never know who might show up.
One of the reasons for this particular farewell was to say bye-bye to our beloved studio clientele—all the super-talented CLE musicians, artists and performers who had supported us over the years. Whereas the previous party was a show, this one was an all-star jam session.
And the jams went on for hours. It was so epic. I’m not even exaggerating. Party til dawn. And I hadn’t even tried speed yet (L.A. would solve that). Go figure.
This was a really laid back, groovin’ time until the end when Sharkey head-butted one of the glass room dividers—instantly fracturing a huge, antique slab of glass. The pane was so brittle, yet somehow had remained intact through extensive demolition back when we moved into The Invisible City back in 1997 or whenever.
But damned if Sharkey didn’t bust the glass wall into a million-zillion little pieces just as we were about to get our security deposit back. Argh.
I miss everyone in these photos (scroll down—so many friends!) but I’m also relieved that this is history.
Whereas the Coffinberry / Sean & Ian photos make me wistful because I have not seen most of those folks since, I’ve continued to hang with many of the guys in the pics below. And really—after the random destruction outburst (I remember Mike telling Sharkey that we ‘weren’t going to let this turn into another final night at Speak In Tongues.‘)—it was time to go.
Enjoy these never-before-seen photos. I love you all.
More classic Cleveland from 2002: