Interview by Scott Preston
Photos by Scott Preston, Matt Witherspoon
A veteran of the Cincinnati music scene, Beth Cheek, is getting ready for The Fairmount Girls cd release this Friday June 27 at Northside Tavern. Beth also let me in on whats going on with Lovely Crash, how she got her start in music and the ever popular Pop Rocks benefit concert which is in the planning stages as we speak.
Cincy Groove: So I understand the Fairmount Girls are having a cd release show this month? is the cd all finished?
Beth: Yes it going to be June 27 at Northside Tavern. The cd is all finished.
Cincy Groove: How long have The Fairmount Girls been together?
Beth: To tell you the truth I’m not really sure. I think I’m like the 16th person to be in the band. There have been some good incarnations and some not so good. This group we have now is really good and we have been getting some positive feedback. The kind of weird thing with this group is that everyone in the Fairmount Girls right now is also in their own bands. When this group first came together we were all very strong players in our own bands, so it took a little while for us to all meld together. I’m really happy with how we all groove together.
The group now is myself (Lovely Crash) Pat Hennessey (Tiger Lillies), Randy Cheek (The Ass Ponys), Melissa Fairmount (The Thirteens, My Wife the Tiger), and Dana Hamblen (Culture Queer). All those bands are very different and very strong. So its something we spent a lot of time on bringing all of those influences together.
Cincy Groove: Do you remember the name of the first band you were ever in?
Beth: Yes, it was Perfect Jewish Couple. It was actually one of the first bands in Cincinnati to use tape loops and synthesizers. This was back in 1981, I was going to the University of Cincinnati at the time. My roommate Shari Lauter was in Perfect Jewish Couple and they recorded a lot at the house. I started doing some recording with her and background vocals and then she asked me is I wanted to start playing with them. The other person in the group was Kelly Hale and I had grown up with him in West Chester.
I played with them for a while then I got an offer to join this band (The Look) that one of the guys from Roger and Zap was putting together. His name was Jerome Derrickson. Within a month or two of joining that band I was in Japan for about 6 months. Starting at that point I was pretty much on the road for about 10 years. I took a small break when I had my daughter Emma around 1994.
I started out in original music and then did the cover thing for a while. I mean the The Look thing was mostly about appearance and choreography. In my heart I just wanted to get on stage in my jeans and a t-shirt with no makeup and play a song. I think people would enjoy it just as much.
Cincy Groove: What do you feel is the greatest challenge to writing original music?
Beth: The challenge for me writing original music is sometimes I don’t feel worthy. I ask myself sometimes “How can I possibly write something as amazing as some of the stuff I have heard?” It one one of those things I learned while making the Lovely Crash cd. It was a somewhat painful process because it was the first cd I had written by myself. It can be a bit un nerving to put yourself out there and write about what you are thinking. Because for one thing I don’t censor myself. Putting out an original cd is kind of like standing out here naked. You don’t know how people are going to react or if they will relate to the music.
Cincy Groove: So whats new on the Pop Rocks front?
Beth: We are in the process of setting that up right now. We couldn’t get a date in June but I’m trying to get a date in October for the show. There is a group of 4 or 5 of us who have done it every year. We have done Pop Rocks so much that we have it done to a process. Bands were asking me last year to be in it again this year, so they had a really good time performing.
Cincy Groove: So how do you decide who gets to play what songs at Pop Rocks?
Beth: Well, what we do is send out invitations to bands who were in it last year to see if they want to do it again. We try not to fill up the roster so we can open it up on the boards to see who else wants to play. Every band gets 7 minutes to get on the stage, plug in, play and get off the stage. Once they confirm they want to play, I send them a list of songs that have been played in the past and tell them to pick a song not on the list. Its kind of first come first served on the choice of songs. What amazes me is the consistent high quality of what everyone does. The bands really put a lot of effort into it, makes for a good show.
Upcoming Fairmount Girls tour dates:
For complete show details visit myspace.com/fairmountgirls
June 27, 2008 – Northside Tavern, Cincinnati, OH
July 4, 2008 – 4th of July Celebration, Northside, OH (Cincinnati)
Upcoming Lovely Crash tour dates:
For complete show details visit myspace.com/lovelycrash
Jun 28 2008 “I Might Be Wrong” Radiohead Tribute – The Madhatter Covington, Kentucky
Jul 12 2008 Molly Malone’s Covington, Kentucky
Aug 21 2008 Southgate House – Koala Fires EP Release! Newport, Kentucky