"Bands are like romances: when you first get together you don’t know if it will last years or just one night. What seems like a great prospect may prove to be a total disaster, and what begins as a messy mistake may end up with a mortgage and kids.That was the scene in the summer of ’97 when I called up Paddy to see if he’d be interested in starting something new. A mutual fondness had developed between us on trips I’d done with his band, Dillinger Four. I’d roadied for them and played in a band they were touring with. But Paddy and I hadn’t made music together—yet.
Cleveland Bound Death Sentence was plagued by annoying tags like “recording project” or “supergroup” right out the gate. Sure, all the members carried baggage as well as influences from the people we’d been with before (among them: Pinhead Gunpowder, Oswald Armageddon, and the Salteens). But why dwell in the past—or predict what might come from a fresh start? CBDS began organically, with songs and friends, like everything good does, and we took it from there.
Paddy was borrowed and I was blue, so we brought in Spitball (old) and Emily (new). The songs were the same mix: some that had been kicking around for years and others we pulled out of thin air. We sweated and screamed every night in the basement, and Spitball recorded it all on his broken 8-track. When we were done, THD Records offered to release the results as a 7”.
We split up and went our separate ways, but the next spring we were making noise again, and THD released a second EP.What it might have led to, I can’t say. Perhaps our passion was spent, or maybe another reunion was imminent. Before we had a chance, Spitball was sent up the river on a Federal drug charge. Calling his studio “the Methlab” might have been a bad idea after all. He’s been in prison ever since—eleven years!
Lookout Records released a posthumous Cleveland Bound Death Sentence CD, but it soon went out of print, as did the original 7”s. Now finally the band’s complete recordings will be available again— on vinyl, and on No Idea, where they belong.
Hopefully in a few years CBDS will be playing again. In the meantime, Spitball sits in the pen with a radio tuned to the college station a hundred miles away. Every once in a while a familiar song comes on. “Hey guys,” he says, “that’s my band!”
Thanks for listening." —Aaron Cometbus