Papi And The Smears have that rarest of all attributes for a band: A true quest. “Rock and Roll is dying. We want to give it a pulse”. True to that lofty mission, this Ohio based trio combine lo-fi bliss with full-tilt garage chargers while sprinkling in a bit of old fashioned blues for good measure. Coming straight outta’ Cleveland, there is a palpable sense of grit to these songs that could only be conjured from a post industrial city far from the stifling clean influences of the coasts.
The members of this band with the best name out there are Jessica Komyati on lead vocals and guitar, John Jasunas on drums, and Devin Ratajczak on bass and backup vocals.
Getting over as a power trio can be tough, but P&TS seem to have come custom made with a large, roaring sound that fills a very real void in a youthful band market crammed with 9th wave Americana and urban folk. The “grunge” label will most likely be tossed into the ring here from some of the lazier music blogs, but these guys clearly drink from a wider well of post punk and dusty blues than any of the plaid shirt hordes of the ’90s.
“This is How They Leave” is, impressively, the first song they ever recorded as a band, with the video featuring Jessica in a John McEnroe head band and the dark shades, guitar slung low as she wrestles scuzzed-out riffs from a simple pedal setup. “What’s on the other side of the beach/That’s where I am going to go” she sings with a hints of both angst and longing. Devin (or Low Daddy… continue reading) and John keep up a whiplash, gutter-crawling rhythm that’s somehow as messy as it is focused. Categorize them how you will, but at the end of the day this is simply a rock n’ roll band fighting against the current tide, and it’s only natural to root for them.
Fortunately for us, Papi And The Smears graced us with a one-question interview:
Just one question, and it isn’t even a real question: Tell us about yourselves, please:
“We are a three piece band from Cleveland, Ohio. We are passionate about representing Cleveland as a place where the music scene thrives! We all love living on the east side of Cleveland and have known each other for a very long time. We just recently started Papi And The Smears because…well…rock and roll is dying and we intend to give it a PULSE!
JJ is our drummer. Hes typically been the guitarist in previous projects so, when he told us he wanted to be the drummer, it was shocking. But he really is a great musician and can do anything he puts his mind too. He is coming up on three years sober. Another thing he put his mind too and has stuck with all this time.
Dev (Low Daddy) is our bassist. He grew up playing guitar but when the band began to form he was drawn to the the bass. He not only keeps it funky but he keeps us all together. He really is the glue of the band.
Jess is the lead vocals and guitar player. She grew up idolizing her brother Garrett Komyati, from the local Cleveland band The Modern Electric. Music has always been a huge part of her life. Her Dad was also apart of a band from the 80s called The Michael O’Brien Band.”
Well there you go. Some fresh Cleveland rock to dig into, not to mention some older Cleveland bands to explore that you may not have heard. And dig the P&TS debut vid below. We look very much forward to hearing more from these guys.