Local musician Mark Chenault passed away at around 2 p.m. on April 21 at the Scarlet Oaks hospice facilities in Clifton. He was 53.
Chenault was involved as a performer in the local music scene since the late '70s/early '80s. He performed with The Dents, a group that played originals and covers from the then-just-blossoming Punk movement (Clash, Ramones, etc.). Among other projects, he also played percussion and sang with The Nervous Pioneers in the '80s. His last big role was as percussionist/hype man for the popular, Bootsy Collins-produced Funk crew SHAG, which reunited two years ago to play a benefit show to help with Mark's medical bills after he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an aggressive form of bone cancer. Besides being one of the most popular local bands of the time, SHAG toured extensively in the '90s.
Robert Beatty played with the man of a million nicknames (he was known as The Colonel, Dr. Funk and The Mayor of Clifton, among other monikers) in the Nervous Pioneers and visited Mark last week before his death. Beatty remembers Chenault as a true "character."
"He was somewhat gregarious (humorous understatement), full of energy," Beatty wrote in an e-mail, later adding, "(In the) late '80s and later most of us were slowing down while Mark continued ripping and running, so there's a whole crew of younger folks that know him that we don't even know about."
Local studio wiz kid and CityBeat columnist Dave Davis also remembers Chenault as truly a one-of-a-kind person.
"I can't even remember the first time I met Mark. We're roughly the same age, and honestly he's always just been there," Davis wrote in a tribute posted at citybeat.wordpress.com. "At every important show, event or celebration I've been to for over 25 years, I always saw him. And he never failed to greet me with a big toothy smile and a bone-crunching hug.
"When the lights go up on a Cincinnati stage and great music roars from the speakers, our smiles and pounding hearts will recall our friend."
More Local Notes
· Given Chenault's recent death, the timeliness of this Saturday's tribute to The Ramones/cancer research benefit couldn't be more perfect. Remember Mark and Joey Ramone (who also died of cancer) by giving to a good cause at The Poison Room, as several local performers join forces to play their favorite Ramones songs. Moped Mafia, The Myths, Kelp, Lovely Crash, Koala Fires, The Trojan Rabbit, Buckra, The Moon Fails, Sammy McKee, Le TechnoPUSS13, Waffle, The Slacks, The Libertines US, The Minor Leagues and others are slated to appear. The event kicks off at 9 p.m. and proceeds are being dispersed to several cancer research organizations.
· A tribute to late local Jazz bassist Bob Bodley — who passed away in December — takes place Thursday at the Blue Wisp Jazz Club at 8 p.m. Admission is free, but there is a suggested donation of $10, which will go to Bodley's widow, Cynthia, who is still dealing with unpaid medical bills. The night is slated to include jam sessions with many local musicians and out-of-town ones, too; New York's Fred Hersch (a Cincy native) and Barry Ries, as well as Louisville-based vibraphonist Dick Sisto — close friends of Bodley's — will also be on hand.
· Friends of Jason Parsons (the "first roadie" for local rockers Noctaluca) unite Sunday to help their pal out. Parsons is still hospitalized and in critical condition as the result of having 35 percent of his body burned by a house fire in Anderson Township late last month. Noctaluca is organizing Sunday's benefit show at the Madison Theater, which also includes performances by Chick Pimp and The Ohms. The show will also feature free food and other fund-raising activities, like raffles. Music starts promptly at 5 p.m. (noctaluca.com)
· Singer/songwriter Andrea Rosenthal of Venus Mission returns to the local stage Friday at the Rohs Street Café for an 8:30 p.m. show that also features sets from Swarthy and former Arson Garden vocalist April Combs. Rosenthal says she plans to roll out seven new songs at the Rohs Street show, where she will be accompanied by Brian Smith.
· In the spirit of their latest release, a career retrospective Discount Fireworks (released in February on Virgin/Backporch), Over the Rhine celebrates 15 years in the biz this Friday and Saturday at the 20th Century Theater in Oakley. The retrospective was the last for their current recording contract so the band is officially on the free-agent market, though they are reportedly leaning towards going the independent route. The band already has a new album finished, which is due to be released in August. Expect lots of older OTR tunes at both concerts this weekend. Fellow local married duo Ellery opens the 8 p.m. shows.
CONTACT MIKE BREEN: mbreen(at)citybeat.com