Mike Metoff (A.K.A. Tommy Gunn, Ike Knox, Les Ravings) Vocals, Lead Guitar, Rhythm Guitar, Bass
Dave Deluca - Guitar, Vocals
George Cabaniss - Guitar
Chas Smith - Keyboards
Arnie Kline (A.K.A. Hunk Sway) - Drums
Tich Erod - Bass
You (Bust Out)
Time Is On My Side
The Clocks struck first in late 1979 following the breakup of three bands that were part of Cleveland's "second wave" of underground rockers.
Ex-members of the Pagans, Chronics, and Bernie & the Invisibles got together in an attic studio in Ohio City to record what was to be a one off single. The A-side, inspired by sci-fi author Harlan Ellison, was entitled "Ticktockman" hence the band's name.
A chemistry developed between the participants, after all, they shared a mutual fondness for chemicals, and a working band was soon formed. Soundwise, they blended several vintage musical forms that had been currently revived via the new wave. Rockabilly, power pop, surf, psychedelia, R&B, or ska, the Clocks didn't miss a beat.
When the single came out the following May, Rock Scene, a national supermarket rock tabloid, did a spread on the band that featured a ½ page photo accompanied by a positive review wriiten by "Doc Rock" (a.k.a. Lenny Kaye of the Patti Smith Group) who compared them to who else, the Chocolate Watchband!
Onstage, the Clocks mixed sci fi themed originals and obscure cover songs with plenty of psychobabble stage banter that both intrigued and baffled their audiences. The Clocks played out A LOT! They were a weekend house band at two flats clubs, Tucky's and the Warehouse, a regular at the Mistake, and played countless one-nighters, often with the Wild Giraffes, at suburban nightspots throughout Northeast Ohio.
Some of their more memorable gigs include their shows at the old Agora ballroom, the rock and roll marathon, an opening slot for Iggy Pop, the disasterous "Pride of Cleveland" night, and the near disasterous re-opening of the newly renovated Pop Shop (it got trashed).
They also headlined the first ever Studio A Rama at CWRU's Mather Courtyard and once found themselves in a most unlikely scenario, playing in front of AC/DC at an after concert bash in Erie Pa.
Their over ambitious gigging schedule and a misguided foray into a professional recording studio left the band creatively and financially bankrupt by the end of 1981.
For the Clocks it was evident, there time was up (Sorry). A posthumous LP was released in 1984 entitled "Wake me when it's over" under the name Radio Alarm Clocks (the Clocks name had since been copyrighted). The following year, three of the members formed a spin off group called Venus Envy.
The Slapstick Miracle:
The Clocks were a very unique band, in that before every band practice we would play tennis on a next door court until it got dark... then go inside and run through the set.
That has nothing to do with this story.
There always seemed to be chics hanging out at practice, which always made practice a little more fun, but also has nothing to do with this story.
But one night was most special. We were sitting in the kitchen of Arnie's house where we practiced out in Painsville. There was a potted plant sitting on the window ledge right above where Dave, goofing around with Titch I think, went slamming into the wall under the window and slid down the wall so he was now sitting on the floor... JUST as the potted plant came off its perch, falling like a smart bomb square on the top of Dave's head, cracking the pot and leaving poor Lonesome Cowboy Dave sitting there with soil covering his face and a busted up plant perched perfectly on top of his head.
That moment was forever then known as the Slapstick Miracle... and was maybe the reason for all that on-stage psychobabble.
Back in 1981,The Clocks were my favorite local band. They played at a place called The Warehouse, down,next to the Pirates Cove.
I didn't know the names of the guys in the band, but, knew the value of a dollar. We would "party" at the "crib" on E. 81st St.; get primed; plenty of free parking in the flats, back in those days. Walk Right In, Sit Right Down. Baby! Let your mind go wild.
I very much appreciated their rhythm and their humor, among other things; their sense of harmony, and candor.
That was about the time I was sent UP THE RIVER to THE BIG HOUSE in Mansfield, as a result of a misspent youth.
When I returned to Riverside, around 1984, I did not recognize the place! They had turned it into a bad scene from ANIMAL HOUSE.