Two friends whose musical passion took them in different directions have erupted on Cleveland's rock scene with a new band aptly called "The Explosion."
Singer, song writer, and guitarist Jimmy Maguire has reunited with long-time pal Chad Ely, luring the "semi-retired" lead guitarist, band leader, and producer back onto the stage as the dual centerpieces of a 10-piece rock band that features four vocalists and a three-piece horn section.
The result? High energy, hard-driving, really big Rock & Roll that features dozens of pop/rock originals that amp up today's chart-topping sounds to a new level. It's brand new music with a unique twist on the kinds of widely and wildly popular melodies, lyrics, rhythms, and beats that are sure to make it to the top of your favorites' playlist.
The idea was born when Jimmy and Chad got together early in 2013. Jimmy was coming off two years of performances across the U.S. and a European tour. Chad, who had re-directed his creative talents and energies into becoming a highly sought-after videographer and video producer, invited Jimmy to his production studio to see some new equipment. After spending hours talking about their respective careers and reminiscing, Jimmy picked up an acoustic guitar and started playing some of his new originals. Inspired, Chad grabbed "Gladys," his electric Paul Reed Smith custom and started wailing an accompaniment. That "musical magic" convinced Jimmy right there and then that they should team up as duo. Chad countered with a bigger idea – five times as big: a ten-piece band, complete with a horns section.
In the following weeks, they gathered some of the finest local talent they knew, and more importantly, outstanding professionals who have never lost the passion, the drive, and the musical honesty that inspired them in the first place.
"We're not doing this for fame or fortune," Jimmy and Chad agree. "We're doing it because, at heart, we're musicians, and we need to be performing our music. We think audiences will see that, feel that, and, hopefully, enjoy and appreciate that about us."
To ensure that they keep that keep that spirit fresh, and alive, and vibrant, Chad Ely & The Explosion will be making limited appearances over the coming months. Watch this website for information about where and when. It's not something you'll want to miss. It is something you'll never forget.
Music has been part of Diane's life as long as she can remember.
She recalls that her mother always had the radio on, or was playing their piano, or singing in a choir, or writing her own lyrics. Not surprisingly, Diane started singing in her church choir, along with her mom and sister, when she was only 7 years old.
Years later, that love of music and ease with performing led her to the theatrical stage where she has appeared in numerous dramatic plays and musicals, in both supporting and lead roles. Diane gladly admits that her musical roles have always been her favorites.
Her all-important voice training came from her high school choir director, Jerry Kujala, who was so extremely thorough and inspiring that Diane was motivated to take every future opportunity to further her "voice education." Along the way, she felt accomplished enough and confident enough to teach others and to take her training and her ambitions onto the stage to begin performing herself. And what a job she's done!
Diane has never been in a "band" before, which makes The Explosion experience so special to her. "This is a group of genuinely nice guys," says the only female member of the ten-piece group that has years and years of success with dozens and dozens of bands performing all kinds of music in front of all kinds of audiences.
"This is a totally new experience for me," says Diane. "It's also exciting and energizing, and I look forward to every opportunity we have to get together and create new sounds and new experiences for ourselves and for everybody who comes to see us."
Mike was in the 5th grade, just starting to get interested in music, when he had to make his first "career decision": Trumpet? Guitar? Or saxophone? The saxophone won, and so have all of the friends and fans he's made over the past 35+ years playing in more than a dozen bands doing everything from Motown, Disco, and Jazz to Country, Beatles, and 80's/90's pop. With that kind of versatility, Mike can go from smooth and sultry to sassy and screaming – and everything in between.
His first band out of high school was called Those Guys, where, for a year, he played with his drummer brother, Eric. After about four years, Mike joined Special Request, an all-occasion group that traveled a lot and played gigs in Cincinnati, Columbus, Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and, of course, locally. During that time, they played at a lot of private events at the new venues in the Cleveland area: the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Great Lakes Science Center, and Jacobs Field.
After that, he joined the extremely popular Stagepass, which was primarily a Michael Stanley tribute band, but also did some Southside Johnny and Bruce Springsteen tunes as well as other assorted oldies-but-goodies.
The next stop on his musical journey was The Vibe, formed by several members of a group that had been backing a local country singer but had a big repertoire that included Motown, Disco, oldies and pop tunes. After several years, Mike decided to take some time off to spend with his family, filling in only every once in a while.
In 2008, he returned to the business and joined the popular Pieces of Eight band, where he's found a "permanent" home. Early in 2013, he took on the additional role of playing with Chad Ely and The Explosion, where he has sweet featured solo in the band's first single, "All I Need is You."
Mike, who's nickname is "Winthorpe" (Don't ask!), has also performed with Abby Normal, Stone Pony, Sister Kate, Special Blend, Madison Jazz Project, Lakeland Civic Jazz Band, Youngstown State Jazz ensemble, and No More 925. He's married, has two daughters, and lives in Chardon. His "day job" is as a painting contractor.
It's no surprise Joe picked up music. It started when he could barely talk. His parents, both musicians and music teachers, were the heart of a musical family with Joe and his older sister, Kathy. His mother eventually stopped teaching to take care of the family but continued in her love of music. Joe's father began teaching in 1959 and retired after teaching 30 years in the Madison High School. Most, if not all of Madison, know Joe Sr. ("Mr. A."), if not as a former student, then certainly by reputation.
In fact, Chad Ely was taught alto sax by Mr. A. in the ninth grade. Joe played tenor sax in Jazz Band during high school, but he would also occasionally pick up the school's baritone sax and fell in love. He told his dad, "This is the one I feel!" Joe says now, "It was like I met my girlfriend!"
He went into the corporate world and gave up playing for about ten years because of job changes and relocations. But, when he landed in West Palm Beach, he started up again on a borrowed baritone sax with the Community Concert Band, which was directed by his brother-in-law, a well-known band director in Florida.
More recently, on his return to Madison, Joe played with local rock bands, often with his dad in the audience and his dad's borrowed sax on stage. "Mr. A." a little concerned about his vintage Selmer sax in bars, told Joe to get his own instrument. He did, and now performs with one selected, tested, and approved by Ian Early of The Cherry Poppin Daddys.
Joe is amazed how life comes full circle: With The Explosion, he's playing with his dad's former students, his own friends from high school, and other great people whom he never would have met if not for the band.
Ian has Bachelor of Music degrees in both Trumpet Performance and Jazz Studies from The University of Akron. He has a Master's of Music degree in Trumpet Performance and a Master's degree in Music Theory, both from Kent State University. He has toured nationally and internationally with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, performed for two U.S. Presidential Inaugural Balls in Washington D.C. and has performed with the Akron Symphony, Canton Symphony, and the Erie Philharmonic.
Over the years, Ian has performed with more than 100 musical groups in the area and frequently travels to Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, and New York City to perform. Currently, he directs the Jazz Band at Mt. Union College.
In the past, Ian has also maintained a private studio of more than 60 students, assisted public school music programs for more than 14 years, directed music for a church for four years, and organized many other musical groups. In addition Ian has also become active as a sound engineer with various musical groups including society bands, Latino groups, Jewish orchestras, and opera productions.
He learned his sound-tech trade from Bruce Walker, an outstanding musician and instrument repair specialist who owned Walker Music, where Ian worked before acquiring the business. Now named Indorf Instrument Repair, the company is located in Tallmadge OH and specializes in repairing and customizing brass, woodwinds, and string instruments.
Scott plays acoustic and electric drums. He began drum lessons in elementary school and continued through high school. He played quads in the marching band at Willoughby South and was in the rock band No Money when they rocked their way to 2nd place in a Battle of the Bands competition at USA Skates in 1986.
Scott later sold his drums and gave up playing for ten years, "to be a grown up" and focus on his work and family. He met Art Stitt and Danny Powell at a party, and the three hit it off! He got the itch to play once again and purchased a new drum set. He began playing with the GPS Band and Bound 4 Rehab as well as doing studio and video work with Art and Danny.
How many aspiring musicians launch a musical career at age eight by having the legendary B.B. King invite them on stage at a sold out concert in Cleveland, drape the strap of his beloved, world-famous “Lucille” over the little boy’s head and shoulders, and let the awe-struck, starry-eyed lad start jamming with the Bobby Blue Bland? One: Chad Ely – a child prodigy who began picking, plucking, and playing his parents’ guitars when he was 5 years old. Inspired, he says, when he was still in the womb and his mom pressed her guitar against her belly and strummed the weeks and months away until baby Chad finally arrived.
Gary was classically trained on piano beginning at the age of four, and played throughout childhood. After high school, he entered The Cleveland Institute of Art. His love of art -- an his artistic talents -- led to a 30-year career custom painting show cars and motorcycles.
Twenty years ago, his interest in playing rock and roll peaked, and he joined classic rock band, Titanic. The band stayed busy, and Gary enjoyed the vibrant local rock scene, playing The Flats, Cleveland Cafe and several West Side clubs. Then came original band Lefta Center and his work with Theresa Zeleznick, Director of Music at Tri-C West: Gary wrote the music, and she wrote lyrics and sang.
Later, he helped form Hooray for Tuesday, a band with his golf league buddies; and he's currently playing with Exit out of Painesville.
Jimmy Maguire is an accomplished guitarist, vocalist, song writer, and recording artist who can bring out the earthy depths of the soul on his acoustic or explode with high voltage energy on his electric.
Jimmy grew up on the East Coast, playing music at untamed, amazing rock clubs including CBGB's, The Black Cat, the Limelight, Bitter End, the 9:30 Club, and others. He later went on to tour all across the United States and the United Kingdom where he was able to bring his stand-out versatility to performances with rock bands, pop bands, and Native American bands.
Several years ago, Jimmy and Chad Ely met at a chance encounter at the iconic Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland (OH) where Chad was working on a video shoot and Jimmy was the opening act. They became friends, stayed in touch, and re-united recently.
Art grew up in Madison (OH) where he began teaching himself bass guitar when he was barely a teen. It wasn't long – when he was only 14, in fact – before he was invited to form a rock band with buddies Danny Powell, Joe Wills, and Matt Judd. They called themselves Lyar.
The young men practiced every chance they got in (you guessed it!) various garages, but their favorite rehearsal spot in the largely rural, rustic and undeveloped expanses they called home was a converted chicken coop! They soon gained popularity among local teens playing at backyard parties and some local venues.
Art put his budding musical career on hold for about 4 ½ years after he joined the U.S. Army where, in 1991, he proudly served in the first Gulf War. But, even while deployed overseas, he kept his craft as sharp as possible by playing solo whenever his military duties would allow. When he returned home, along with his old pal and fellow soldier Danny Powell, he went on to perform with another Madison kid, guitarist Doug Stossel, and Chuck Kalatic in Crazy Face and Fantasy Lane.
During the past ten years, he has continued playing with Danny Powell and with Scott Seczwyck in Bound 4 Rehab, and he's been recording in his Kingsville Township home studio.
Danny has been a musician in the Cleveland Area for years and is currently a guitarist/singer for The Acoustic Trio (GPS). He's currently collaborating with Chad Ely's Multimedia Group on an original project and is working on CD's and videos with the band Bound For Rehab.
How it began...
After being shot by a 22 pistol when he was a teenager, he spent three months in a hip cast and months in therapy. It was then that he decided that entertainment is a universal tool for those who are disabled and began to pursue a music career. His first band was with his high school friends in a group called Lyar as a singer and lead guitarist. The band was a local success, playing school dances and college parties. They soon experienced a series of rock-style life tragedies: Their first roadie was killed in a motorcycle accident. Later one of their friends was killed in car accident, followed by the band's lead singer and guitarist passing away from a heart condition four months later. The band went their separate ways, and Danny started looking to re-discover what he had lost. After being permanently disqualified from every branch of the military for having a bullet in his leg, he turned back to music and formed a band called The Storm. The band was short lived with members heading off to college in search of more solid careers.
Danny then helped form a few other local bands, including Fana-C-Lane and Crazy Face, but decided to settle into a more stable job as a land surveyor and play, produce, and record music at home – just for the shear fun of it. Then, one day, his father-in-law asked him to sit in on an open mic acoustic jam to fill in for the guitarist who couldn't make the gig. Out of that one performance came the birth of Acoustic Trio GPS and 12 years of playing open mics, charities, wineries and bars.