Legendary Cleveland songwriter, Bill Fox, has emerged from his near decade long absence from the Cleveland music scene with two shows at the Beachland Tavern over the next two months. The first takes place this Thursday night, January 9th, when he opens for Charlie Parr. Then, he will open for his brother Tommy’s band, Broke by Monday, on Saturday February 28th.
For those of you who don’t remember, Fox was the lead singer of the influential power pop band The Mice, who were active in Cleveland in the late Eighties. Bands like Superchunk (Who covered The Mice’s “Bye Bye Kitty Kat”) and Guided by Voices both cite Fox’s band as an influence.
Following the dissolution of The Mice, Fox released two solo albums in the Nineties: Shelter From the Smoke and Transit Byzantium. It was while on tour for the latter that Fox abandoned his career in music. He was hardly seen or heard from since.
In 2007 Fox was the subject of a lengthy piece in Believer Magazine where writer Joe Hagan traveled to Cleveland in a vain attempt to find out what had happened to Fox in the past decade. He left without ever meeting Fox.
Perhaps, Fox has been buoyed by the attention he received from Hagan’s piece. Or, maybe he’s been reinvigorated with the news his two solo albums will be reissued this coming year on Scat Records. Or, maybe it’s something as simple as the economy. It’s hit all of us pretty hard. With an enigmatic talent like Fox, we may never know the real reason for his return after so many years away. Still, one thing is certain: These two shows present a very rare chance to witness in person one of the true greats of Cleveland music.