Old and not lazy

Local outfit Legbone celebrates 25 years at Oddbody’s

By Gary Spencer

Photo: (l-r) Kyle Curtis, Kevin Hittepole, and Mitch Lawson perform in 1996 as Liquid Legbone

Most bands —whether world famous or even more so, local—are lucky to stay together for five years, let alone 25. One Miami Valley-area band that has made it to this milestone is Legbone, and the band has only gotten better with age as they are widely regarded as one of the best punk bands the Gem City has to offer. This Saturday, Legbone will celebrate its silver anniversary with a six-band blowout at Oddbody’s that’s sure to be a party.

But before we talk about the future, let’s rewind to the year 1991. The four founding members—vocalist Kyle Curtis, guitarist Mitch Lawson, drummer Kevin Hittepole, and bassist Matt Meyers from the quasi-rural town of Sidney, Ohio, about 30 or so minutes north of Dayton, came together thanks to their mutual love of punk, metal, and hardcore. They decided to try their own hand at playing punk rock in a somewhat ramshackle fashion.

“I had just graduated high school, Kevin was going to be a junior, Matt and Kyle had already graduated,” Lawson says. “There was literally no one else around that played instruments and listened to that kind of music. In fact, Kevin and I were the only two that actually played instruments. Matt had never played before. We borrowed my brother’s bass and I taught him the basics. Kyle had never been in a band before and we just kind of told him, ‘Hey man, you’re going to sing.’ There was no one around our area to emulate, so we had to figure everything out on our own. The first sets we played out were all covers: Black Flag, Circle Jerks, Motorhead, 7 Seconds, Bad Religion, Body Count, Dead Kennedys, and Ramones, to name a few. Then, we wrote our first original called ‘Rot.’ Then, we wrote another, and another, and another until the set was mostly originals and a few covers.”

At this point, the band christened themselves Liquid Legbone and grew a reputation for blasting every venue in the Dayton area with its fast, fun, upbeat blend of punk, hardcore, and metal that appealed to the punk kids as much as it did the headbanger set. Over the years, Legbone has accomplished a lot, including the release of several albums and EPs, a sponsorship with Jägermeister, opening for bands like Pennywise, All, The Queers, The Casualties, and DRI, and even signing with a national label, though that experience wasn’t all the band had hoped it would be.

“We had a record contract once with a national label, and we got chewed up and spit out like most bands do,” Lawson says. “It was such a horrible experience that we never had any desire to go down that road again. We have always done this for the enjoyment of making music. Anything that causes our experience to be stressful and negative, we want nothing to do with it. No thanks.”

Despite that fiasco, Legbone has stuck to their guns in making the band all about a good time for themselves and their fans. The strategy has apparently been successful, as the band is now marking its 25th year of existence, outliving most of their Dayton musical peers of the time. For Lawson, it’s been a labor of love.

“What I’m most proud of about Legbone is how we started from absolute scratch and made something that has lasted 25 years,” he says. “When people dedicate that much of their life to something, it’s important. It means the world to me. It’s so much fun and we all enjoy doing it so much we can’t stop. I literally get grumpy if I don’t get to play. It’s something I have to do. It’s an experience money can’t buy. It’s not all rainbows and fairytales, that’s for sure. But all the negative stuff we’ve experienced seems to be about all the crap that comes with playing in a band; shady record labels, not getting paid, working crappy jobs, on and on—all that stuff evaporates for the 40 minutes we are playing.”

With that in mind, Legbone plans on celebrating 25 years of not being able to stop rockin’ with a huge show with some of their best friends they’ve played with along the way, both recent acquaintances and longtime pals from back in the day, as well as an extended headline set that will see some former members of Legbone join the current lineup to crank out some rarely heard Legbone oldies. The band will also be releasing a new split 7” EP with Dayton drunk punks The Give-Ups at the concert as well.

So after 25 years of raising hell and making people get lost in the music, can Legbone make it another 25? Singer Kyle Curtis doesn’t know, but he’s sure gonna try: “I’ll keep doing it as long as it’s fun and I’m able to.”

Legbone’s 25th anniversary show takes place Saturday, Dec. 3 at Oddbody’s, 5418 Burkhardt Road in Dayton. Mobile Deathcamp, Scull Soup, Duderus, Throttle, and 53rd & 3rd are also on the bill. Tickets are $10 in advance, open to attendees 18 and over. Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts 7:30 p.m. For more information, please visit Legbone.com.

 

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Gary Spencer
Gary Spencer is a graduate of Miami University and works in the performing arts, and believes that music is the best. Contact him at GarySpencer@DaytonCityPaper.com

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