Beachland Hosts Celebration of Cleveland Reggae Pioneer Dave Smeltz

Sun 11/10 @ 7PM

For the 8th year, the local music community will pay tribute to an influential member at “In Celebration of” at the Beachland Ballroom.

This year’s honoree is Dave Smeltz who, in 1978, formed I-Tal, Cleveland’s first homegrown reggae band and the first to take reggae into the rock scene. Inspired by Bob Marley, the band grew out of Tuesday night jam sessions at University Circle club, the Coach House, run by future I-Tal member Dave Valentine.

I-Tal toured around the eastern United States and Canada as well as building a strong fan base in the Cleveland area. In early 1984, most of the members of the group left to form the popular First Light, one of several local rock/reggae bands for which I-Tal led the way. Smeltz kept the group going until the early 90s with other members, performing mostly out of state in the mid Atlantic region.

During that time, he fell prey to substance abuse, but after getting sober in 2001, he got his life together and eventually started a project called Clean House. It’s currently restoring a building in the Buckeye neighborhood to serve as a halfway house for men in recovery, and a gathering place for 12-step meetings, martial arts classes and other activities to help people in their journey to sobriety.

He’s also performing again with his David Smeltz Project, a group of long-time friends from the local music scene including former I-Tal members Russ Richards on keyboards, Chris Dunmore on drums, Chris DeSantis on percussion and Chopper on guitar, vocalist Eva Dilcue of the Generators and bassist Adam Rich of Love Muffin Records.

Among the musicians who will be participating are Alex Bevan, former I-Tal members Carlos Jones, Dave Valentine, Ron Jarvis and Chris DeSantis, Alex Bevan, Bob Frank of Blue Lunch, Eva Dilcue, Austin Walkin’ Cane Charaghat, Rick Sustaric and Steve Jochum of Wild Horses, Outlaws I and I, Ray Flanagan, Joe Hunter and David Krauss.

Tickets are $15 in advance, $20 at the door, and proceeds will benefit Clean House.

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