Our final Bands to Watch announcement is the (mostly) youthful four-piece Cherry Chrome.
Other than drummer David Holm, the members of Cherry Chrome are in their teens. Yet some of the band’s songs have been brewing for several years.
On the band’s excellent self-titled 2016 EP, closing track “Acid Sea” is a homemade demo that singer/guitarist Xenia Bleveans-Holm recorded with a former bandmate in eighth grade. Another tune that Cherry Chrome has been playing live recently, “Goasis,” dates back just as far.
“We wrote that song in eighth grade but the lyrics were terrible. They were half-based off the movie ‘The Patriot’ with Heath Ledger,” said Bleveans-Holm, laughing at the memory. “It was awful. We finally got [‘Goasis’] together a year and a half ago now. … You know the gas station by Grandpa’s Cheesebarn [in Ashland, Ohio]? That’s what it’s named after. Now it’s called BP Minit Mart, so I think we have to change the name of the song to BP Minit Mart.”
Seated around a table at a Downtown coffee shop, the bandmates — Xenia (17) and father David (49), guitarist Mick Martinez (19) and bassist Amina Adesiji (17) — playfully acknowledge how far they’ve come as a band without disregarding their formative early years.
“Xenia and our neighbor, they had a band when they were really young,” said Holm, who has graced local stages in bands like Ugly Stick, Total Foxx and Bigfoot for decades.
“We were called the Aqua Girls,” Bleveans-Holm said, as she and her dad commenced finishing each other’s sentences.
“They didn’t really know how to play anything. But they switched instruments on every song...”
“...even though we couldn’t play any of them.”
“They did a show and invited everyone in the neighborhood, and I think it was 25 cents to get in, and all the money went to the cat shelter.”
“But then we didn’t actually give it to the cat shelter. I forgot. It just sat in our basement for a long time.”
“Yeah, there was a jar sitting there for some time.”
Bleveans-Holm started to get serious about songwriting in middle school, and the current lineup of Cherry Chrome solidified in 2014. Though the band started out playing all-ages shows, like the ones Martinez routinely booked at Kafe Kerouac, it quickly graduated to bars, winning over adult crowds with its brand of impeccably arranged, melodic indie rock.
Spending all that time in bars, though, is not the band’s favorite part of Cherry Chrome. “The mystique of bars has been so ruined for me,” Bleveans-Holm said. “Some people never go to a bar before they’re 21, and when they turn 21 they’re like, ‘I’m going to the bar!’”
“That’s the last place I wanna go,” Martinez said.
“Bars are not as mystical as people make them out to be. They’re kind of dirty. I definitely will not be bar-hopping when I’m an adult,” Bleveans-Holm said.
Bleveans-Holm, a self-proclaimed perfectionist, doesn’t approach songwriting lightly (“Writing songs is hard!” she said), which means Cherry Chrome doesn’t regularly churn out new material. But the band hopes to finally finish recording a handful of songs gathering digital dust in the cloud.
With Martinez at Capital University and Bleveans-Holm and Adesiji graduating from high school this spring, the bandmates say they’ll stay local for school or whatever comes next. David Holm, meanwhile, is surprised he’s still in the band.
“When I offered to do a couple of gigs two and a half years ago, I did not expect to be doing this all the time,” he said. “Xenia had these couple shows she’d been offered and didn’t have the band together at the time, so I said, ‘Well, let me just help you out.’”
“You were always like, ‘When you get another drummer…,’” Bleveans-Holm said.
“And that sort of hasn’t happened,” he said.
“No, I don’t think we’re gonna get another drummer,” she said.
“But it’s actually been really cool,” he said, “because I really like the music, and I’d never played drums in a band before. ... I can also see them kicking me out at any minute when they find the right person.”
When asked whether he now feels a sense of ownership in the band, Holm hesitated.
“I… ah… I mean, I do. I do,” he said.
“It used to be us and you,” Bleveans-Holm said. “But I think you’re in the band, Dad. You’re in the band.”
As a bonus, we also have the premiere of Cherry Chrome's "Velvet" video, which was conceived by videographer Danielle Petrosa.