The Woodward Theater presents:
The Artist: ASS PONYS: REUNION WEEKEND
Date: Friday, Nov. 6 and Saturday, Nov. 7, 2015
Time: Doors at 7PM
Venue: The Woodward Theater | 1404 Main St., Cincinnati, OH 45202 | (513) 345-7981 | [email protected]
Admission: $25 advance, $28 day of show, $40 both nights, Ages 21+
Cincinnati — Beloved rock band the Ass Ponys are reuniting for two shows at the Woodward Theater on Friday, November 6 and Saturday, November 7. The Woodward is located at 1404 Main St. in Over-the-Rhine.
General admission tickets, $25 advance / $28 day of show (plus applicable fees), and weekend-pass tickets to both shows, $40, are available now at MOTR Pub, Shake It Records, http://www.cincyticket.com/
“You’re off and riding up a ramp
And where you land Is different than where you planned” – “Ape Hanger”
Even when they were (briefly) signed to a major label, the AssPonys never had a CD release party. “I was always afraid nobody would come,” says singer/guitarist Chuck Cleaver. “What if we have one and nobody shows up, won’t we feel stupid?”
But whenever the band played shows, people did come and what they heard sounded like nothing else out there. Until one day about a decade ago, when Cleaver and the gang just stopped plugging in for reasons the admittedly forgetful high and lonesome singer can’t really recall. “We always did really get along well,” he says, as if he’d never really thought about it before you asked.
Which is why unlike other beloved indie groups from that early 1990s era who’ve hit the road again for a big payday, to mark an anniversary or to prove a point, the Ass Ponys are getting the band back together because… well, Cleaver doesn’t remember.
“It’s different now only because we’re different people,” he says of himself, guitarist John Erhardt, bassist Randy Cheek and drummer Dave Morrison. “But it kind of feels the same. The Ass Ponys started out as a ragtag bunch and we always were and once we got signed [to A&M Records] and got to do it for a living for a while and honed it we got that cool sixth sense that bands get.”
They’ve all moved on since drifting apart in 2005 after releasing a half-dozen acclaimed albums that basically invented a new genre that mixed alternative, noise, pop, country, Americana and Cleaver’s painterly Midwestern beat poetry.
Cleaver has taken his warped lyrical sensibility on the road and into the studio with Wussy, Cheek plays with the Fairmount Girls and the Ready Stance, Erhardt gigs with Wussy and Morrison is an acclaimed cinematographer.
“I’m just excited to play with these guys again,” Cleaver says of the two-night stand at the Woodward. “It will be fun to see what we can do. At best we were a semi-popular fringe band, but it still seems like we’re getting new fans and there’s those people who if they’d known they were seeing our last show they might have paid more attention.”
“We all wanted to play together again because there’s something good that happens that can’t be replicated in anything else we do,” says Cheek. “Plus, there’s a bunch of people who have never seen us and that still like the records and they should at least have an opportunity to see us play.”
At this point they’ve practiced exactly twice since their last show more than 10 years ago. It was a year or two back (Chuck can’t remember, of course) in someone’s practice space and Cheek says it was good. Great, actually, even better than any of them expected. “The songs are just really good and, honestly, it’s pretty hard for us to fuck them up.”
The plan is to play tracks from a couple of the albums each night, including ones from their 1996 A&M swan song, “The Known Universe,” which, for some reason they’ve hardly performed live at all. “It won’t be the same show twice,” Cleaver promises.
But just in case, he says there will also be some favorites that will get polished off and rolled out both nights and, Cheek teases, maybe some new stuff. Maybe.
“My only regret is that the first time around is we might have aw-shucks’ed ourselves out of existence,” Cheek says of the band whose influence has only grown since they went on hiatus. “Whereas we should have said, ‘we are masters among men! You should feel the greatness when we walk among you!”
Because, after all, he says, the Ass Ponys never had any intention other than to be the best band in the world. “Even if nobody ever saw us, because we could.”
Now’s your chance and it might not come again. So don’t blow it.
Senior Writer/Editor MTV News
More on the Ass Ponys
— Trouser Press
“clearly too smart for graduate school”
— Village Voice
“an utter lack of marketplace calculation”
— No Depression
“strangely hooky roots-rock … bizarre portraits of middle America”
— Chicago Reader
“shamefully out of print … feel free to write disgruntled letters to whoever supervises A&M’s back catalog”
— Rolling Stone, on Electric Rock Music
Mr. Superlove (Okra) 1990
Grim (Safe House) 1993
Electric Rock Music (A&M) 1994
The Known Universe (A&M) 1996
Some Stupid with a Flare Gun (Checkered Past) 2000
Lohio (Checkered Past) 2001