Today were taking a trip in the wayback machine to the summer of 1995. The band was The Sons of Elvis. The song was “Formaldehyde.” My job was cutting grass for senior citizens for the City of Parma, and it seemed damn near every time we started up our beat up, yellow pickup truck to find our next over grown lawn, and every time we hid our beat up, yellow pickup truck in between some trees for an afternoon nap (which now that I think about it, is probably a more accurate description of my summer job), Sons of Elvis was on the radio. “Formaldehyde” struck the right chord with the burgeoning alternative nation by combining rock and power pop with the uninhibited shredding of guitarist Tim Parnin and bassist Dave Hill. Their reach would extend beyond the signal strength of WMMS and WENZ, as during their brief time in the spotlight, their Priority Records debut, Glodean, would hit 23 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, they would play numerous radio station festivals across the country, appear at CMJ/NY, and their video for “Formaldehyde” even found its way onto MTV.
A combination of bad luck and bad timing led to the band’s demise. Priority Records decided to focus on the more lucrative gangsta rap market, effectively eliminating Sons of Elvis from their roster. Soon afterwards, vocalist John Borland was involved in a serious car accident, and a follow up to Glodean was never completed.
The Sons of Elvis Family Tree: A diagram might be handy here. Tim Parnin and Dave Hill would go on to form a second unstoppable rock and roll machine with Uptown Sinclair. Both Parnin and Hill have played in Cobra Verde (though not at the same time). Thankfully, neither Hill nor Parnin were in Cobra Verde when Cobra Verde became Robert Pollard’s backing band in Guided By Voices. That would require a second handy diagram. Hill played bass during the late nineties, and Parnin is in the current lineup. Hill and Uptown Sinclair drummer, Rob Pfeiffer are both in the NYC band, Valley Lodge, who coincidentally, sound an awful lot like Uptown Sinclair. Drummer Pat Casa was recently in a Cleveland band with his wife, Starberry. To the best of knowledge, singer John Borland’s music career ended with Sons of Elvis.
MP3:Sons of Elvis – Formaldehyde
MP3:Sons of Elvis – These Days
MP3:Sons of Elvis – Reggie Makes The Scene
MP3:Sons of Elvis – Nothing’s Wrong
Though out of print, you can get your mitts on a copy of Sons of Elivs’ Glodean for the price of shipping from Amazon.com.
The book Rock and Roll and The Cleveland Connection, by Deanna Adams, helped fill in some of the missing parts of my memory concerning The Sons of Elvis.