Reading a history of 15-60-75 (The Numbers Band), even one from Wikipedia, is like being dropped right into the middle of the bursting rock scene that was early ’70s in Cleveland and Akron. Terry Hynde, the brother of The Pretender’s Chrissy Hynde, was a founding member and still plays in the band. Early versions of the band also included Devo’s Gerald Casale and Chris Butler of Tin Huey and The Waitressses. Additionally, a 1982 single by the band, “Here is the Life,” was released on David Thomas’ (Pere Ubu) Hearpen Records. Hell, their debut album, Jimmy Bell’s Still in Town, was recorded live at the Cleveland Agora. How much more Cleveland can you get?
Connections aside, 15-60-75 (The Numbers Band), may have never gained as much attention as Thomas’ Pere Ubu or the other Hynde’s Pretenders, but they did have a strong, local following and if legend is to be believed, their 1977 performance at Traxx in NYC served as the inspiration for Dan Akyroyd’s and Jim Belushi’s Blues Brothers.
C’mon, you really didn’t think The Black Keys were the first to bring the blues to a wider, rust belt audience, did you? The Numbers Band did it with Jimmy Bell, embedded below, and, now, out late this summer on Exit Stencil Records, on double, deluxe vinyl with liner notes by David Fricke (Rolling Stone) and David Giffels (co-author of the Devo biography, Are We Not Men?).