My name is Chris Noga. From 1988 to 1993 I played guitar and wrote songs for the highly obscure Cleveland Ohio band, North by Northwest. We released one 7 inch single, one cassette EP, one cassette single and appeared on one CD compilation. We spent over a hundred hours in Magnetic North Studios trying to find our sound. We ended up going through three phases – a hard rock sound, a power-pop obsession, and finally, purveyors of folk-rock and played about a dozen gigs from 1991 to 1993. In spite of our limited success, I am extremely proud to have participated in the Cleveland music scene during what is, arguably, a golden age of music in Northeast Ohio when a number of immensely talented musicians wrote and performed their own music on their own terms.
The “Godfather” of the scene at the time was Jim Clevo (Chlebo), a lifelong resident of Cleveland and a proud graduate of John Marshall High School. Jim graduated from the Ohio School of Broadcasting and DJ’d at radio stations WCSB, WOXY and WFUN. Beginning around 1985, Jim began to actively support and promote the local music scene and in 1987 under the “Jim Clevo Presentations” moniker, he released a compilation cassette titled “Listen.” Jim took that tape to New York City containing original songs from sixteen local bands and he distributed it during the 7th annual College Music Journal Music Marathon. He would release four additional compilations (on CD) until becoming the president of the Cleveland Music Group. Jim then spearheaded additional compilations of Cleveland music as well as led the Cleveland contingent to the South By Southwest Music Festival in the early and mid 90s. While he was easily one of the most polarizing figures on the Cleveland Music Scene (you either loved him or hated him), Jim knew there was a wealth of great music in Cleveland and when he passed away in March 2015, he willed his papers and media to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum Library & Archives in order to preserve the music he promoted so fiercely.
While it’s cool that Jim’s life work is safely preserved, in order to truly “live,” the stories behind the bands, cassettes, CDs, flyers and other documents contained in that collection as well as other NE Ohio collections have to be put into context by those who were there. Great music deserves to be heard. The Listen Project is the story of those bands, artists, venues, recording studios, and supporters of that moment in a rich history of Northeast Ohio music as told through their music and in the words of those who were there.
If you enjoy what you hear, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our Facebook page.