Healthy Spines

Tommy Cooper, Ian Sperry, John Lakes, Kevin Oldfield, Nathan Peters of Captain of Industry. Above photo courtesy of Zach Prater Tommy Cooper, Ian Sperry, John Lakes, Kevin Oldfield, Nathan Peters of Captain of Industry. Above photo courtesy of Zach Prater

Captain of Industry Return After Two-Year Hiatus

By Kyle Melton

Tommy Cooper, Ian Sperry, John Lakes, Kevin Oldfield, Nathan Peters of Captain of Industry. Above photo courtesy of Zach Prater

For anyone familiar with the embarrassment of musical riches springing forth from the humble fountain of Dayton, the name Captain of Industry surely stands as one of the most singular voices of the last decade. Formed from the ashes of Pigeye Jackson in 2002, Captain of Industry quietly holed up in their rehearsal space for nearly a year before unleashing their breathtaking sound on the Dayton music scene. Over the next six years, the band issued three albums, an EP and toured relentlessly across the country, leaving in their wake an impressive catalog that stands amongst Dayton’s finest fruits. The band will return to the stage this weekend at Gilly’s for the first time since June 2009.
In the original lineup of Captain of Industry stands John Lakes (drums/vocals), Kevin Oldfield (guitar), Nathan Peters (lead vocals/keyboards) and Ian Sperry (bass). The four have earned quite a reputation in Dayton’s indie scene as one of the most ambitious, yet fully realized outfits. Their seamless blend of angular, noisy rock, nimble jazz and prog rock sensibilities, and Peter’s undeniable melodic gifts, quickly put them ahead of the pack. By 2003, the group issued their debut album, !, to rapturous acclaim from their peers.
“These guys just holed themselves up in their practice space for like a year, honing their sound and this record, and they subsequently exploded on the scene,” said current guitarist Tommy Cooper. “I remember playing the unmastered version of the disc at work every day and taking it to parties and making people listen to it. You could tell there was something special about the band and it was exciting.”
Sperry departed before Captain of Industry headed into the studio to begin the writing and recording of their second album, The Great Divide, released in 2005. For this album, bassist Joseph Remnant joined to support during touring. By 2007, Remnant had departed, Sperry re-joined and the group was augmented by a second guitarist, the aforementioned Tommy Cooper, who continues to work with the Motel Beds. It was this final incarnation of the group that worked diligently to create the experimental Gold Teeth EP and their 2008 swan song, The Bronze. Although the band toured the East Coast in support of the record, subsequent life decisions splintered them in 2009.
“I don’t think we ever officially broke up, but the last time we played, in June of 2009, word kind of got around that it was our last show and that wasn’t anything we ever announced, so if felt like a premature final show,” Cooper recalled. “It ended up kind of being the last show but I think we all knew we would play together again and the timing just felt right to do this now.”
With shows planned in both Dayton and Columbus this weekend, the members of COI seem excited to renew their collaboration.
“For myself, the notion or desire to be playing music with the lads is often sauntering through my mind,” Oldfield admitted. “I would wager that the same is true for my cohorts. So perhaps we can chalk it up to collective consciousness. I am tremendously excited about being in that world again.”
Although this rejuvenation may be short-lived, the contributions of Captain of Industry continue to reverberate in Dayton’s musical memory.
“If we’re lucky enough to be mentioned in any conversation involving the Dayton music scene,” Cooper said, “I’d like to hope the band would be remembered as a band that made every effort to not only embrace and be influenced by our hometown but also break outside of Dayton and keep us on the map.”
“I hope that through playing in this band we helped show how incredible Dayton is,” concluded Oldfield. “I do sorely miss the struggle and excitement that permeates the music of Dayton, Ohio. I look forward to being back with utter joy.”

Captain of Industry will perform on Friday, May 13 at Gilly’s, 132 S. Jefferson St. Also on the bill are The Receiver [Columbus], Pretty & Nice [Boston], and Roley Yuma. Admission is $7 for 21 & up. For more information, visit

Reach DCP Music Editor Kyle Melton at and read his blog at

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