Leading its new generation of artists is a group that appropriately calls itself THIS IS A SHAKEDOWN! Fusing together influences drawn from playing in mostly punk, heavy rock acts and listening to an eclectic range of music from gospel to R&B to hip-hop and underground dance music, THIS IS A SHAKEDOWN! has created its own intoxicating blend of rock instruments and electronics. Its goal above all: to get your blood pumping and your body moving.
"It's music you can bang to," says vocalist/guitarist Brandon Zano. "It's very sexually driven." Adds bassist Daniel Lee, "There's definitely a lot of adrenaline."
Although THIS IS A SHAKEDOWN! is new to Cleveland's music scene, its members are veterans of bands that enjoyed some local success. Zano, Lee and drummer Stephen Nicholson played together in Leo, which signed a development deal with Island in 2002, then went on to play in the well-regarded Dozen Dead Roses.
"I started to work on music of my own," says Zano. "Daniel and Stephen were going that way too. I kind of coerced them into playing with me and we started writing songs together. We knew Justin through a previous band he was in and knew he would be a good asset as far as completion of what we needed."
Keyboardist/programmer Justin Nyilas turned out to be the missing ingredient that transformed THIS IS A SHAKEDOWN!'s music from a collection of strong rock songs into a throbbing, sexually driven, music experience.
The band launched in early 2008 and quickly started looking for opportunities to get heard. They approached multi-platinum producer, engineer Michael Seifert of Cleveland's Ante Up Audio, whom Zano knew from working with in past projects. He caught the group live and immediately signed them as the first act on his new label Reversed Image Unlimited LLC. Their first full-length disc, "LOVE KILLS" is due for release May 5th 2009.
"He gets what we're doing," says Lee. "It's such a pleasure working with someone who is that unbelievably talented. He's creating a Cleveland uprising and we want to be part of that."
While the band's currently focused on the CD that will introduce them to the world, they're continuing to play out as much as possible. A national coast to coast tour is planned for summer 2009.
"Our emphasis is to prove that our live show is just as good as or better than the album," says Zano. "We come from bands with punk and rock influences. We don't just stand there. We're ravenous about it. We want the live experience to be so intense that for the next week, after seeing THIS IS A SHAKEDOWN! your heart is still pounding and your body is still shaking."