Photography: Kory Gasser and Herald Martin
Oregon Space Trail of Doom is a name that sticks in your head like the saxophone part in George Michael’s “Careless Whisper.” The mere mention of the band sparks people to throw their heads back and exclaim “I keep hearing about those guys!” Why is Oregon Space Trail Of Doom becoming an increasingly recognizable combination of words in Northeast Ohio?
The most important reason is that the group is one of the most interesting bands playing right now in the area. Dripping with talent and knowledge, the band sucks you into its psychedelic playground and tickles your senses in ways you didn’t even know were possible. Along the way, the band gently guides you down a path of scorching guitar tones and melodies that swirl around your head like a welcome tornado.
Another reason why the name may be familiar is that the band played 30 shows in Northeast Ohio last year, none of which were given any less attention than the others. The band tries to focus on each individual show as it approaches, while still keeping the big picture in mind.
“It’s moving exactly how we want it to,” Drummer Tony Kazel explains. “We want this band to spread like bacteria—good bacteria, probiotic bacteria.”
The band members plan to stretch their legs out across the country this fall in support of their debut LP Into the Wood. Singer and Guitarist Ryan Fletterick is confident that setting up a countrywide tour won’t be as big of a task as some may think.
“We have connections all over the country, it’s just a matter of connecting the dots,” he says.
The album will be its own passport as well. With a near perfect specimen in all aspects from production to writing to art and layout, no self-respecting concert promoter is going to say no to booking these maniacs. Into the Wood is a sonic journey that pairs absolute musical precision with whimsical imagination. While the album does carry a musical theme of simple riffs, occult-based lyrics, and wild, guitar-driven instrumentals, it never gets stale. Bassist Nick Yanasko’s work is hypnotizing and weaves magically throughout the album to Kazel’s drumming.
To dispel any confusion, Oregon Space Trail Of Doom is not a “doom metal” band. If you show up to their next concert in corpse paint, you may feel slightly out of place. The individual members of the band are certainly not limited to playing fuzzy, warm, riff-soaked psych-rock songs. The band also performs under the pseudonym Oregon Space Trail Of Jazz when it need a few extra bucks.
The band’s first single “Psychic Leader” is a seven-and-a-half-minute-long mind bender. Every band member gets a moment to display their skills, although showing off is not the goal.
“We could all just go, go, go, go, but then no one would be entranced by the songs,” Guitarist Nolan Cavano explains.
Other than being some of the best musicians in the city at the moment, the members of Oregon Space Trail of Doom have the freedom to travel, as they all view playing music as their chosen careers. This advantage will almost certainly propel the band toward very long tours in the upcoming years, but Cleveland will always be the band’s home.
“Cleveland is the best home base for a musician,” says Fletterick, who has lived and played in New York City in the past. “We will always be excited to come back home and play here.”
For the time being, it’s recommended that you see Oregon Space Trail of Doom as many times as you can before the band leaves to travel the world and spread Cleveland’s own brand of psychedelic bacteria into every nook and cranny of the globe.