Tag Archives: nyabinghi youngstown

YOUNGSTOWN HATES YOU: AN INTERVIEW WITH JUSTIN ARROYO

INTERVIEW BY MATT GREENFIELD
Continue reading YOUNGSTOWN HATES YOU: AN INTERVIEW WITH JUSTIN ARROYO

THE HAMMER INTERVIEWS RICHARD ELMSWORTH AKA ULTIMATE DONNY OF GIL MANTERA’S PARTY DREAM

In Youngstown, Ohio, Richie Bernaki is a something of a celebrity. Commonly known to his associates and acquaintances as Richard Elmsworth, and remembered by many others as Ultimate Donny, the personage under which he cut his teeth and shed his clothes as part of the seemingly mythical Gil Mantera’s Party Dream, Bernaki now plays guitar and sings in the indie rock outfit Sam Goodwill. He also appears twice on Baker’s album, Baked (http://staybaked.bandcamp.com/album/baked). Rust Belt Hammer (finally) caught up with Richie at the Royal Oaks (http://rustbelthammer.com/2014/02/07/youngstowns-favorite-dive-bar-the-royal-oaks/)) to talk Donny, Party Dream, Sam Goodwill, life as a dad, life in Youngstown, and playing the role of Youngstown Joker in an independent play called “Pittsburgh Batman.”
-Nick Baker Continue reading THE HAMMER INTERVIEWS RICHARD ELMSWORTH AKA ULTIMATE DONNY OF GIL MANTERA’S PARTY DREAM

A MONOLITH OF METAL: EMISSIONS FEST; A PINNACLE IN YOUNGSTOWN MUSIC HISTORY.

By SARAH SEPANEK

Recent years have been good for stoner metal. Appreciation and opportunities have been coming for stoner metal bands of all genres – doom, sludge, jam, drone. Seeing Mastodon playing for thousands at festivals, or reading great reviews Pelican’s new album on mainstream websites is refreshing for fans and rewarding for bands, most of whom are longtime road dogs. As always, it comes with a bit of conflict: your favorite band gets some success, but seeing them on Pitchfork being lapped up by scene kids is akin to watching someone who can’t drive stick manhandle your vintage Camaro. Continue reading A MONOLITH OF METAL: EMISSIONS FEST; A PINNACLE IN YOUNGSTOWN MUSIC HISTORY.

BEST OF THE NYABINGHI (WATCH WITH PBR IN HAND)

I heard stories about the infamous Wesley Willis playing Youngstown’s Nyabinghi while I was still seventeen. Being that I was both a huge fan and underage, I was at a great disadvantage. When I finally turned eighteen, I was determined to cram as many local performances as I could. That summer I witnessed Alterntaive Tentacles stalwarts, The Fleshies. I was also extremely lucky to attend a show by Today Is The Day with local openers, From a Second Story Window. Soon after that I saw Municipal Waste in a room with fifteen other people right before they got huge.

For all the great shows I saw, nothing could beat Grand Buffet and Gil Mantera’s Party Dream. They could always pack the venue. The excitement of a comedic show blended with energetic rhythms was unparalleled. I saw that combo play together countless times. I even had the flu for one performance but still made it out.

My most surreal experience was during the last Emissions of the Monolith festival. Experimental metal rockers Kylesa were one of my favorite bands at the time and they had a headlining slot. In a moment of of mindlessness, I locked my keys in my car. The sky was aggressively pouring rain as I waited for AAA. They showed up and I made it inside to catch the full Kylesa set while experiencing a moment of zen. I never thought that venue would leave it’s residence but impermanence is not only a Buddhist philosophy but also a fact of life in Youngstown, Ohio.

-MATT GREENFIELD
FOLLOW ME @RUSTBELTHAMMER ON TWITTER AND WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/RUSTBELTHAMMER

WHAT DO YOU KNOW ABOUT A PLACE CALLED YOUNGSTOWN,OHIO? (FREE DOCUMENTARY LINK INCLUDED)

What do you know about Youngstown, Ohio? Perhaps you read that it was the murder capital of the United States at one point? Maybe you heard Bruce Springsteen’s song about the area’s plight. It has been referred to as “Murder City” and referenced on HBO’s The Sopranos. The mob ran this city for a long time. Congressmen Traficant is both arrogant, troubled, and humorous. He spent time in prison for corruption charges yet some still applaud him. Forbes Magazine called Youngstown one of the “most miserable cities” in the country. I have seen it on lists of terrible cities to live in, next to isolated and uninhabitable places in the Ukraine. I am not going to deny the decline. The steel industry is gone and most of the cities population followed. It turned into a mass exodus. Some though are tough as the steel that was once produced here. The brave and prideful have stayed and I wish them the best. Most of my close family and friends still live in Youngstown today. Neither one of my parents have ever left. It’s a place that builds character. That much is absolutely certain.

I heard about a documentary on my home city and was aching to watch it from that minute on. The work put in to the production is valiant. I commend Ray Mancini and everyone else who put a much appreciated effort into this film. The history on our mob activity is almost unfathomable. It’s both fascinating and horrifying simultaneously. Our mascots are Ed O’Neill, Boom Boom, and Kelly Pavlik. Arby’s was founded in Youngstown. The first malls were designed here. Phantom Fireworks is headquartered in the heart of the city. The Warner Brothers were born in Y-Town. Remember before Walmart was a huge retail monolith? The nation had Phar-Mor, which was based in Youngstown. It was rocked by scandal and slowly went the way of the buffalo.

While I find the documentary entertaining and insightful, I don’t find it to be a definitive statement on Youngstown and it’s historical significance. So much was omitted or sugarcoated. It’s a bit ridiculous that Staughton Lynd was completely left out. He is a radical peace activist who fought to keep the steel mills open in the 1970s. Also, the discussion of race in the film is pretty light fare. There is no talk of the economic and racial inequalities that Youngstown faces. The inner city schools of Youngstown are behind the times and in desperate need of revitalization. Many places in the area need to be restructured with passion and intelligence for modern times; until then a dark cloud will cover the city and penetrate it’s inhabitants.

boomboom

The dark side is something that can’t be avoided for Youngstowners. Many people in the area struggle with depression. I guess it’s hard not to feel down when the weather is bone chilling for seven months of the year. Even our heroes aren’t invincible. After an epic battle with Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, South Korean pugilist Duk Koo Kim tragically and unexpectedly died. Ray is a strong man but that fight will forever haunt his entire being. Kelly Pavlik was WBC and WBO Middleweight before succumbing to the demons of alcoholism. Some people in Youngstown treated him like a piece of dirt after that. It really saddened me to hear people badmouth someone that was a world champion and always represented his city with grace. You don’t have to love the man but respect his work.

I don’t want to delve too far into negative thought because Youngstown has much to brag about. I’ll keep our Brier Hill pizza a secret and instead talk briefly about the arts. If you are over the age of twenty six but under the age of fifty, you most likely went to the Nyabinghi for concerts. Gil Mantera’s Party Dream and Grand Buffet played some of the most epic and absurdly funny shows I have ever seen in my life. Nyabinghi also hosted “Emissions of the Monolith” which at one time was the world’s biggest stoner/doom/sludge metal festival. Youngstown’s own Rebreather played the Nyabinghi and “Emissions” with regularity. It feels weird to even be typing this sentence but Youngstown was a hotbed for metal music.

Like many, I moved away from Youngstown. It’s something I personally had to do for many reasons. I see both the positives and the negatives of a place whose landscape quite shockingly resembles Gotham City (but with more abandoned buildings). I could write so much more and hope to in the near future. The city and it’s history are quite rich and unique. In the end, I will always call myself a Youngstowner.

-MATT GREENFIELD
FOLLOW ME @RUSTBELTHAMMER ON TWITTER AND WWW.FACEBOOK.COM/RUSTBELTHAMMER