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Neon Straightjackets shining bright

Alternative trio recording album; in 102.3 Spotlight

Neon Straightjackets are the latest area band to be featured on ALT 102.3.

Anthony Gadson

Associate Editor

Published July 13, 2022

ALT 102.3’s Homegrown Spotlight has moved onto Neon Straightjackets.

Featuring high-energy shows with songs like “Scatterbrain,” “Nightmares & Nosebleeds,” and “worryworryworry.,” the trio out of Ohio have been making a name for themselves.

“When we first started, we were so starry-eyed and optimistic, and we still are, but it’s only gotten better,” lead singer Larry Stahl said. “We’re just working on getting our music out there.”

Working the area music scene, Stahl said he heard ALT 102.3 DJ Zack Skyler was looking for music to play during the station’s Homegrown Showcase, which features an hour of local music every Friday at 7 p.m. 

After submitting a couple of songs for Skyler to choose from, he settled on “Scatterbrain,” off the band’s April EP Scatterbrain.

“Neon Straightjackets have a grungy alternative sound that I think a lot of people will like,” Skyler said. “ ‘Scatterbrain’ is a song that can be relatable in many ways, because we all have our moments. They are a no-brainer for a feature on Spotlight, and I like their hustle. These guys want to grow and succeed.”

Finding sound

Stahl began the Straightjackets while in high school, but afterwards, the lineup changed, and Johnny Hopkins and Colton Lloyd were added.

“I wanted to take music more seriously, and I got in touch with two of the best musicians around,” Stahl said about reforming the group.

About a month after the new lineup was set, they released the four song EP (The Demo You Need).

That demo is labeled as “Punk,” with their next two EPs, We’re Trying Our Best and Scatterbrain, falling under the “Alternative” banner. 

“Lot of people say it’s a Seattle sound, the grunge sound from the ’90s,” Stahl said. “We’re kind of like if Green Day and Nirvana had a baby.”

In the studio

Releasing three EPs within a year undoubtedly has its perks, but for Stahl, who says he still listens to cassettes, he yearns for the days of yesteryear.

“I’d like to have those days of having a cassette tape, and having word of your mouth to help spread your music around,” he said. “I’m obviously too young to have done that, but I would like to have done that.”

Hailing from Scott, Ohio, which reported a population of 264 in the 2020 census, finding venues to play at means getting out of town. 

“It’s all cornfields and windmills,” he said of his hometown. “There’s not much of a music scene here.”

Stahl says the second place Neon Straightjackets ever played at was The Muse on Main, which announced this month that would be closing in September.

As the trio record their upcoming 12-song full-length album, they’ll be shooting a portion of the video for “worryworryworry.” at The Muse on Main at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 2, inviting fans to show up for a chance to participate in the video. 

After the band records the “live” portion of the music video, they’ll play the rest of the album for fans. 

“It will be our thank-you to the Muse,” Stahl said.

Admission will be $5, with proceeds going help record the rest of their album and to the Muse.

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