Two decades ago Speak In Tongues closed; here’s SIX years of photos, clippings & stories from my collection in remembrance


Can you believe it’s been twenty years since Speak In Tongues shut down on January 1, 2002?

The legendary D.I.Y. venue in Cleveland, Ohio was a crossroads for some of the world’s greatest musicians and artists besides being our local hangout spot.

See a partial SIT performers list right here

Speak In Tongues has been on my mind lately because I’m really excited about the forthcoming Speak In Tongues book by author Eric Sandy that you can pre-order now from Microcosm Publishing

Pre-order your copy of the Speak In Tongues book

Eric researched and compiled an oral history of SIT for Scene in 2016.

Speak In Tongues alumnus Joe Biel is the publisher. Resident documentarian Ken Blaze is involved (yours truly inspired the cover and title of Blaze’s privately-printed 2011 photobook, Speak In Tongues Has Escaped to the Future).

All the major players (seem) to be cooperating. Hurrah!

Rollin’ doobies behind Speak In Tongues circa 1999.

Let’s put it this way: if this was a Speak In Tongues show we’d all be saying, “Awesome line-up!”

Me? I’m bubbling over with excitement about it to be honest. I miss the good times we had. This is a chance to reconnect and I can’t wait to hear all the stories.

So on the 20th anniversary of the shutdown, I’m doing my part to add to the record: I’ve digitized and posted all my photos from Speak In Tongues.

Full list below. Or click here.

Wrasslin’ with Beckett.

My photos date from 1996–when we were publishing U.S. Rocker magazine—through the end of 2001.

All 101 issues of U.S. Rocker are available as free downloads

Stephe DK Sean Carnage Speak In Tongues Cleveland Ohio

Spielin’ with DK.

Can you help me with details about bands, shows and people I may have forgotten?

You can comment on this post below (it’s simple: register with WordPress if you aren’t already and you’re good to go). Or you can contact me privately via email or on Instagram or Twitter. I appreciate your help.

The Speak In Tongues flier archive may jog some memories (but trust when I tell you that I’ve already combed through it, and could not find all the missing info).

Viva Speak In Tongues!

Okay, let’s start with the oldest pics first…

7.19.1996 – Experimental Audio Research (aka Sonic Boom of Spaceman 3) & Bowery Electric

Pete Kember Sonic Boom Spacemen 3 EAR Experimental Audio Research Spectrum Speak IN Tongues Cleveland 1996 Sean Carnage

Pete Kember (aka Sonic Boom of Spacemen 3 and Spectrum) performs as E.A.R. (Experimental Audio Research) at Speak In Tongues in Cleveland, Ohio on July 6, 1996. Photo: Sean Carnage, from the U.S. Rocker archive.

This was an incredible night of freeform psychedelic noise and Shoegaze-type rock.

Click here to for an incredible review from U.S. Rocker’s Michael Stutz, a photo from me, some video and a bunch of questions.

4.16.98 – Sarge, Franklin, The Unknown & (Viva) Caramel

Sarge’s Elizabeth Elmore at Speak In Tongues. All photos: Scott Badovick, from the U.S. Rocker archive.

I think these incredible Scott Badovick photo sets are from April 16, 1998… but maybe these were taken at two different 1998 shows? Both Sarge and Franklin played SIT several times that year. Both were such great bands.

Please check the photos—maybe you can confirm the dates?

7.15.98 – Danielson Famile & Soul Junk

Glen “Galaxy” Galloway and Soul-Junk speak in tongues at Speak In Tongues in Cleveland, Ohio, 1998. All photos: Scott Badovick, from the U.S. Rocker archive.

This was an uplifting night of music at Speak In Tongues, captured by ace photographer Scott Badovick, for U.S. Rocker.

Was anyone saved? Testify!

3.9.99 – The Divine Invasion

Sean Carnage Mike Shumaker The Divine Invasion Bob Bertalan Danny Noonan Speak In Tongues Cleveland 1999

Jim Clevo stage? That’s big time! Sean Carnage and Mike Shumaker perform with The Divine Invasion as Danny Noonan looks on. Not pictured: Bob Bertalan and Chris Young. Photographer unknown.

Hey, wait—this is my band! I just need to know: was March 9, 1999 the date these pics were taken? Are there any more? Who took them?

Click for more of the show details I do have

11.22.99 – Razak Solar System, Lenola, The Basketball

Razak Solar System Speak In Tongues

Poster: Sean Carnage.

This is an authentic, Westside Cleveland tale of drugs and confusion and collaging. My only question is: what happened to The Basketball?

If you know, then you know (& please let me know)—read more here

1.14.00 – Razak Solar System

Razak Solar System Steve Peffer Kevin Jaworski Sean Carnage Speak In Tongues Cleveland

Razak Solar System: all in all it’s just another brick in the wall. Photos: Danny Noonan.

Can you mosh to a band you can’t see? Speak In Tongues can!

Click here for the 22-year-delayed grand reveal…

3.25.00 – Dr. Zombie MD, Zeek Sheck, Begit N Frenz & Our Mother’s Moustache

Stanton Thatcher comes un-alive

“Medical renegade Klaus von Zombie has reanimated the dead and enslaved them to be his backup band!”

Re-live the horror

4.23.00 – Gordon Solie Motherfuckers (GSMF), Intensity, Dead Nation, No Justice, Kill the Man Who Questions

SIT action spills out onto Lorain Ave. (as usual). Photo: Missy Goulette.

This was, from my point of view, the WILDEST Speak In Tongues show that ever happened.

Agree / disagree? Read and see

5.6.00 – The Rapture, Black Dice, Gordon Solie Motherfuckers (GSMF), Puncture Wound, Begit N Frenz & more

Gordon Solie MOtherfuckers GSMF Cleveland Speak In Tongues 1999

Gordon Solie Motherfuckers aka GSMF perform in Cleveland at Speak In Tongues, 1999. Photos: Sean Carnage.

The bill included future superstars Black Dice and The Rapture plus dozens more for the low price of FIVE DOLLARS. What the what?!

Click for the deets on the 3rd Annual Festival Of Pants

5.26.00 – Walls Of Malm, Thrones, Lit-Ex, Warlocks

Speak In Tongues Walls Of Malm Thrones Lit-Ex, Warlocks May 26 2000 Cleveland Jake Kelly

Poster: Jake Kelly.

This was one-night-only, no rehearsals Speak In Tongues supergroup Walls Of Malm playing an ambitious three-part composition by Brian Straw.

Sure would love to add more detail / audio / video here—can you help? Click to see what I’ve got so far

6.28.00 – Lightning Bolt, Numbskull, Razak Solar System

Razak Solar System Kevin Jaworski Sean Carnage The Ashtray Speak In Tongues Y2K Cleveland

Razak Solar System perform in “The Ashtray” below Speak In Tongues in Cleveland, Ohio.

Razak Solar System had been around for about one year at this point. Opening for Lightning Bolt and Numbskull felt like coming home for us.

See the photos & RARE video—wow!

7.23.00 – Men’s Recovery Project, Razak Solar System, Warlocks, Mind No Mind, SPS

Program booklet: Jake Kelly.

The Speak In Tongues slackers had such an amazing burst of energy thanks to Men’s Recovery Project’s impending visit that they cleaned the place…

Keep reading for more surprises

10.13.00: Green Party benefit w/ Razak Solar System, The Perfect Guy, Viva Caramel, Brian Straw

Mr. Yuk! Razak Solar System in action.

Wow we sure fucked up this election up, didn’t we?

Click here to re-experience a personal lowlight

10.5.01 – My Name Is Rar-Rar, Lozenge, Begit N Frenz, Mind No Mind, Scam Carnage vs. Spilt Milk

My Name Is Rar-Rar, presented by Sean Carnage at Speak In Tongues. Photo by Sean Carnage.

My Name Is Rar-Rar singer Camilla Ha charges into the audience while Cynthia Piper, Ian Colbert, Rob Sirovica, Sarah Wido, Keith Miller, Danny Noonan & Courtney Christensen look on. Photo: Sean Carnage.

I booked this one—what a blast! If you have anything to add (like VIDEO!?), please let me know.

This one is pretty complete—click through & enjoy.

12.4.01 – Flying Luttenbachers, Allergic to Whores, Ex-Models

Melita Katanovic & John Greiner at The Flying Luttemnbachers show. Photo: Sean Carnage.

This one is also pretty complete. Could maybe use some help with names?

Lots and lots of friend pics here—check ’em out.

12.28.01 – Rockin’ Holiday Party with Sean & Ian, The Cassettes, Stephe DK

The gang’s all here: Danny Noonan, John Greiner, Joe Bernard, Alfredo Garcia, Tyson, David Garmon, Jason Schick, Jason Colbert, Paul Sydorenko, Julius Kwolek, Stanton Thatcher & more. Photo: Sean Carnage.

This show was the ultimate gathering of Speak In Tongues characters, past and present, ever assembled.

Read the story & see the pics from the 2nd to last SIT show ever!

12.31.01 – 9 Shocks Terror, The Unknown, Brian Straw, The Perfect Guy

I never knew this video existed—incredible! Does anyone have photos? Please please contact me.

Watch Malcom Ryder’s The Last Night of SIT

Cleveland Free Times: “RIP, SIT” by Ryan Smith

Ryan Smith Cleveland Free Times Speak In Tongues

Scene Magazine: “Soundbites” by Jason Bracelin

Jason Bracelin Cleveland Scene Magazine Speak In Tongues

The Plain Dealer Sunday Magazine: “From Revolution to Rock ‘n Roll” by Christopher Evans

Christpher Evans Cleveland Plain Dealer Speak In Tongues

Download a PDF of all three press items

Here’s everything I’ve posted about Speak In Tongues

U.S. Rocker chronicled SIT bands, happenings & people—download all the issues for free

READ: Capturing the Cleveland scene – An interview with Ryedood

READ: An interview with musician & Speak In Tongues sound person, Brian Straw

Follow me on Instagram for Cleveland throwbacks & more

Watch & subscribe to my YouTube for historic Cleveland videos & more

Pre-order your copy of the Speak In Tongues book

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