Reintroducing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . System 56
Long ago, and far away, in a decade known as the 80s, there once was a band from Cleveland called System 56. Most people in the northeast Ohio area would remember us from the generous amount of local airplay that we received for songs like "Metro Metro”, “You’re Only Dreaming”, “Life On a Cool Curve” and “A Man Needs a Motor”. In all, we released three singles and a 12” EP, over the course of about three years.
Unlike most bands, our reputation was built primarily in the studio, as we only gave five live performances in our entire existence - two shows at the old Bank in Akron in 1982, then one at Cleveland’s Phantasy Theatre, and two at the Phantasy Nightclub in 1984. This led the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s Jane Scott to once describe System 56 as the Howard Hughes of local bands, as our profile with radio listeners far surpassed our public exposure as a live act. Despite our reclusive public posture, Cleveland Magazine invited the band to be included in its annual Most Interesting People for 1985 issue. And that was just about where our story ended. Shortly thereafter, for a variety of reasons, the group quietly disbanded, and we all went our separate ways.
Now it’s about 20 years later, and I’ve finally managed to get most of our original songs remastered onto one piece of plastic, entitled RETROSPECTIVE: 1982-84. Those who were around with us for the first time will hear all of the familiar radio favorites, along with three previously unreleased tracks, that have been sitting “in the can” lo these many years. These new tracks were all regular staples that we included in our live shows, feature the 1984 version of the band, and were recorded during the same studio sessions that produced our final single “A Man Needs a Motor”.
The early 80s were a great time to be an indie musician, and both the print and radio support given to local bands was a major factor in bringing many of us to a larger audience. The Cleveland-Akron area had developed a healthy reputation for indie bands, and in many ways we were lucky to have been around when and where we were, as the whole music business has changed so dramatically since those days.
Although the creation of System 56 was, admittedly, the musical vehicle for my own songwriting, I am especially grateful to all of my old band mates, whose own unique talents and efforts went into the making of these 12 songs. That said, I like to think this CD is as much a tribute to them, as it is a document of my own adventures. Finally, thanks to everyone we met along the way, whose support was always most appreciated. This is where we left off.
Hope you enjoy the music.