Marion, Ohio’s Citizen 18 Revealed
It’s just after 12AM, and the cloudy, dimly lit stage at Hot Peppers (now Fusion) is minutes away from blowing up. Like many Saturdays in months passed, the club based in Marion, Ohio has put together a strong lineup of unsigned rock ’n roll talent, offering entertainment til the wee hours of the morning. Citizen-18 is headlining, as they so often do, and the crowd is filling the floor in anticipation of the ass-kicking these guys inevitably hand out each time they plug in their amps.
“Get Drunk & Fuck,” “80 Reasons,” “Picture Perfect”–these are a few titles you can expect when attending a C-18 set. Face-melting guitar riffs and thunderous beats that force droves of fans into a unison of fierce headbanging is a major pull for the band, but the songs are about more than just creating a party atmosphere. Don’t get me wrong, the guys are more than happy to indulge that atmosphere, often mixing in a killer AC/DC cover when time permits, but it’s more than that. Kristen Oldham had a chance to discuss some things that are, “beneath the surface” with the guys recently, and we at OOTB are thrilled to bring it to you:
The band consists of five members, Jake Cary (vocals), Brandon Saari (guitar), Fat Tony (bass), Kyle Sterling (drums), and the latest addition, joining the band in 2005, Dustin Levally (guitar). All of the members have been playing long before C-18 formed, but this is the first serious project the five friends have ever really been a part of. Jake told us, “Our music has become dynamic since Dustin joined. Our sound is more brutal, more complete since he started jamming with us.”
C-18 writes new material in many different ways, and sometimes a new one starts while they’re in between practicing songs that are already complete. Dustin and Brandon start playing around with a new sound, the other guys feed off of each other and a new song is born. Fat Tony and Jake write most of the band’s lyrics, and if one of them comes up with something new, that’s where a song begins and everyone builds around the words, rather than the sound. The fact is, wherever a song is rooted, these guys were friends before becoming a band, so lack of creative chemistry to make it grow into a song has never been an issue.
We’ve mentioned fans love the band’s catchy titles and sound, but many songs carry with them meaning that goes beyond simply, “Getting Drunk and Fucking.” That song is not only about having a good time; it’s more of an anthem each of the members live by, and it’s not only for them, or their fans–it speaks for an entire generation of young adults. “The message of this song is, really, let’s all get high and revolt.” We asked Jake to elaborate more and he said, “The government doesn’t care about people between the ages of 18 and 21. I mean, we’re old enough to die for the country, but we’re not old enough to have a drink.” Kyle Sterling adds, “Yeah, I mean ninety percent of our government’s funding is from oil, which we’re allowed to die fighting for, yet there are so many other options out there like ethanol, or legalizing marijuana, and the government just ignores it. Then we SPEND money to enforce drug laws that always have, and always will be broken.”
Jake sums it up for us “We’re pissed off we’re old enough to spend money on shit like cigarettes and we can die fighting wars, but we’re not old enough to buy a drink after we get off work?” These guys aren’t thrilled about the way the county is ran, and you can read much more about the bands mission statement, find lyrics, and listen to some of the songs mentioned above at: http://www.myspace.com/citizen18.
When asked what they think of the music scene as a whole, Brandon Saari was able to sum it with an articulate metaphor, “Tits covered in mayonnaise, and that mayonnaise is quickly being replaced with chocolate.” Jake notes a show at Hot Peppers back on Halloween 2006, where three talents from Marion played on the same bill, as Kikdown, Scene of the Crime, and C-18 put on a memorable night of heavy music. He said there was an indescribable connection made with the fans and all of the bands, and that was the night the “scene” was really born.
All of these bands have been working vigorously since that evening to make it even better, so as Brandon said with the chocolate, it’s well on its way. Dustin had a nice quote when he told us “We want our music to be timeless.” And with the unique sound and rebellious message, they’re well on their way to doing just that.
If the guys aren’t practicing, headlining clubs, or opening for national talents at bigger venues, they still have to attend school and work regular jobs to maintain. Free time is spent as the guys enact their own version of a “That 70’s Show circle,” or playing video games and hanging out. Also, you’ll often find them supporting some of their colleagues in the local scene. Their favorites include Scene of the Crime, Headchange, Silent Surface, 30-ought-6, and Kikdown to name a few.
The fact is, these guys play music, they love music, and they support music in every way they can. They’re always mixing with the crowd before and after sets drinking and having a good time, and I highly recommend checking them out if you haven’t already. Their schedule of upcoming shows is also available on the website, so pick a date and come on out–you’ll be very glad you did.
Written By Matt Monnette, Interview By Kristen Oldham as published in Out Of The Blue, Copyright, OOTB, 2007
Photography By Neil Shumate