April 4, 2016 by Jay Minkin
A footnote of Cleveland’s rock and roll history can be heard in “Precious” from Chrissie Hynde mentioning that Howard The Duck and Mr. Stress both stayed, but she left to begin a Hall of Fame career. Now some thirty-six years later, Bill Miller will finally get his due posthumously with the release of Mr. Stress Blues Band: Live At the Brick Cottage 1972-1973 on Smog Veil Records.
From 1966 to 2010, vocalist Bill “Mr. Stress” Miller was the reigning blues harp king inspired by the “white blues” of The Paul Butterfield Blues Band. The band’s name was derived from a code phrase used at a psychiatric hospital. Although the band went through many line-up changes over the years, it seemed to always reel in the best players in town including Peter Laughner, Anton Fier, Vito San Filippo, Glen Schwartz, and Ken Klimak who all went on to some moment of national fame. The band’s best years were standing gigs at the Brick Cottage (’72-’79) and Euclid Tavern (’79-2001).
The album available in vinyl, CD, and digital formats includes nine tracks with five additional bonus download songs. Timeless numbers like “Good Time Charlie”, “Big Boss Man”, and “Scratch My Back” sound amazing thanks to the labor of love put in by Frank Mauceri and production work from Paul Hamann. The recordings from the legendary dive bar near Euclid Ave/Ford Dr in University Circle included Chuck Drazdik (guitar), Mike Sands (piano), Tom Rinda (bass), along with both Pete Sinks and Kenny Ruscitto (drums). A beautiful booklet with photos and interviews covering the band’s history was comprised by Nick Blakey.
Celebrating the rich history of Cleveland’s music scene with a series called “Platters du Cuyahoga”, the local label founded in 1991 will be releasing the Mr. Stress album on May 13th and hosting a big party at The Beachland Ballroom on June 3rd featuring alumni members Alan Greene, Mike Sands, and Tim Matson along with Blue Lunch and Anthony Lovano’s Supernatural Band. Expect more unreleased gems from Smog Veil Records later this year.