If not as well known as other Ohio rockers of their late-’70s era (Devo, Chrissie Hynde, Pere Ubu, Dead Boys), Akron’s Bizarros had substantial impact on the early indie scene, through their hard-edged records and singer Nick Nicholis’s Clone label, which released records by The Waitresses, Human Switchboard and others.
In a classic case of bridesmaidery, the Bizarros – who reformed in the 21st century – were more influential than popular.
Playing serious, intense, sometimes hypnotic rock with poetically inclined verbiage and pre-Gang of Four jabbing guitars, Bizarros music was strong and affecting. Their half of From Akron (a 1977 album they shared with Rubber City Rebels) is pretty raw and hard to enjoy.
But by the time of their 1979 self-titled album (released by a major label, self-produced with an engineer, wrapped in strictly amateur artwork) the band had developed considerable polish, which they used to good advantage without compromising their strength.
Five subsequent releases followed, the last in 1981, and The Bizarros took a 23-year hiatus, reemerging in 2003 with You Can’t Fight Your Way Up Town From Here.
Drummer Rick Garberson died of carbon monoxide poisoning on 15 July 1979. He was found dead in his car, which was parked in the driveway of his Akron home.
Guitar, keyboards, viola, bass