People who reduce Cleveland, OH to the two exponentials of Pere Ubu and the Raspberries are only getting half the story. …okay, the best part of the story, but Cliff notes are for tourists and you don‘t wanna come off as some lightweight when you run into “Metal” Mike Saunders backstage at the Hilary Duff show. Why, he might get so disgusted that he writes his next song about YOU and then you’d feel as bad as Rodney does everyday. And you don’t want that. I don’t want that. So – let’s take a trip…

The Left End were a snotty bunch of ‘plastic-punks’ from Youngstown – just down the road from the habitués of Messrs. Carmen and Thomas – with a stage-act to rival the Tubes and a sound crude enough to make James Taylor shit blood. Informed and equally enamored of the New York Dolls, Kiss, Aerosmith and Slade, the Left End didn’t so much cut through the chaff of Seventies rock as they did ridiculously exaggerate and entangle themselves in its many clichés. Kiss make-up, towering platforms, glitter, audiences pelted with live frogs… negative musical chops, lyrics about violence, bad women and alcoholic demons, a blitzkrieg death-ride through the Beatles’ ’Every Little Thing’ – this is the sublime sound of effortless street-level caricature – cartoon punk – thug rock of the highest/lowest prehensile order. But what the Left End may have lacked in sonic competence and originality, they made up for in outrage and bile; their collective spirit of irreverence being perfectly embodied in their imperfect lead singer, the inimitable Dennis T. Menass – a ’secret weapon’ of the classic Dick Manitoba style, possessing vocals like a Frankenstein Steve Marriott (or maybe Eric Carmen on steroids). Oh, it was pain from the start… Yet, somehow, in this ugly hick mass of fat and balding malcontents, A&R guru and all-around good egg, Paul Nelson, thought he saw the future – got the boys a deal, got their names written up in all the happenin’ papers. The Left End promptly responded to this rash display of good faith by throwing their benefactor down a flight of stairs. I’m sure Paul – a dude notorious for backing beautiful losers (New York Dolls, Blue Ash, et al) – couldn’t help, but appreciate the gesture. We can’t all get lucky like Landau, Paul – there are only so many Springsteen’s to go around (thank God).

Too dumb to rock smart and too inept to rock stupid, The Left End are to hard rock what inbreeding was to the royal families of Europe – a tragedy in hindsight, but seemed like a great item at the time. Their sound is Woodstock Nation, six years on – like the Music Machine had Jim Bonniwell cut his teeth in mid 70’s Ohio, weaned on Quaaludes instead of acid and speed. If your heart is large enough to lodge Burton Cummings and Sir Lord Baltimore, it’s more than roomy enough for Dennis T. Menass and Co. They’ll crash anywhere. The Left End’s lone album from ’75, ‘Spoiled Rotten,’ (Polydor 6022) is highly recommended. Here are two sample cuts just to show you I’m not all talk. Get the buzz, cock!

The Left End – Loser – ‘I wasn’t feelin’ too good, yeah, you might say I wasn’t feelin’ too fine.‘ An aptly titled anthem by five guys who couldn’t possibly be mistaken for anything but. Home to one of the crappiest guitar solos ever! ‘‘Cos losin’ ain’t my game!

The Left End – Bad Talkin’ Lady – If I close my eyes, this could be Spinal Tap and I mean that in the best way possible, only they’re peaking at about seven-and-a-half.

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40 thoughts on “The Left End – Rotten Rock From Cleveland

  1. that’s an awful lot of cowbell in that second song! You do know that if that band reunited and came down here, that they could have had a career well into the late ’80s.

  2. …..one of top ten favs all time ! Grew up in seventies haze listening to the likes of Granicus, Sir Lord Balt.,Poobah,Dust, Bang… and esPECially ‘Spoiled Rotten ‘…. Though to young to see in concert,over here in Jersey… LEFT END has a fan base here too…. and a crap-load of us would love to see a 21st century version live one day… but none of us know how or when you guys play. ….a LEFT END Website ???? Home town Monster Magnet here only band that kicks some ass. We all need a ‘little’ Left End back in our music library… to remind us dinosaurs… and some of the’wannabees’ how A ‘Rock and Roll’ band really sounds……..!!
    FIGZZZZZZZZZ

  3. Left End is easily the greatest band that had more hooks and great songs than many of the sh*t bands that came out in the same time period. Life isn’t fair. I love this band. They just played again in 2004 and sounded great! The hardcore metal elder statesmen are LEFT END. They were the best and still are a great band. Cyclone Rider is one of my favorite songs ever.

  4. Left End rules. I was lucky enough to see them many times in the late 70’s. The first time I saw them they got kicked out of the place they were playing. I was lucky enough to see them and talk to the guys on their 10th aniversary show. They were really very cordial. The guys would come off the stage and spend all their break time talking to fans, then get back on stage and continue to tear it up. The album Spoiled Rotten doesn’t really capture the spirit and energy of the group, but I still love it. If anybody knows where I can obtain any of the other recordings or additional info please contact me at raaw2hd975@cs.com Enjoy the group if you have the opportunity to.

  5. I was one of the Lucky Ones to see & listen to Left End 1-2 times per week @ a Bar called The Apartment in Youngstown Ohio for 4 years before their Spoiled Rotten Album was Released. The shows were amazing. 3 – 45 minute sets & an unbelievable closing set that was a 15-20 minute version of the Who’s “Magic Bus”. There were nights when the Bar Closed but the Band contiued to play “Magic Bus” for what seemed like 30 to 40 minutes. They always set off a Flash Explosion @ the end. Probably a Fire Hazard, but we were too young & stupid to care. Oh by the way… “It’s Over ” was really a song called “Sopor Man”. I don’t know about other Cities, but in Y-town Qaauludes were called Sopors. That’s Left End trivia. Last time I saw them play was 2 years ago @ a place called Yankee Lake. They were the Warm-up Band for Ted Nugent & ZZ Top.

  6. I was the sound engineer for Left End from 1977 to 1982. It’s great to see that there are still fans out there that are appreciative of the band. I also worked for a sound company, Sound Treatment, while I was with Left End and worked with many national acts and really experienced few national acts that had the energy and musicianship that Left End displayed when they played. I have many good memories of working with the band and a few bizarre episodes we encountered in our travels.

    Lastly, the writer, Gary, is correct in that the song “It’s Over” was originally called “Soper Man”. The band still plays on occasion and I think they are planning to play a couple gigs this summer. I still am in contact with a couple of the members. Thanks for keeping the aura of Left End alive.

  7. I’m pretty sure that Bad Talkin’ Lady (the red 45 recorded at Peppermint in Youngstown, OH) was recorded and released in 1972.

  8. I am still trying to find out what year SOMEDAY I WILL SEE & SUNSHINE GIRL on the Peppermint label was released.

  9. I was born and raised in Struthers, Ohio. Like Gary above, I was lucky enough to see Left End many times at The Apartment and The Orange Room in Austintown. They even did a performance at Struthers High that got them thrown out for good. Anyway they may sound a little rough on that album but their live shows were fantastic. I think with the right backing we wouldn’t be talking about KISS, it would be LEFT END!

  10. I finally found a site about L.E. I,m a old fan from 1974. I have the old 45s Mini lp, and old tapes and some web sites. This is great! More later.

  11. Its great to read so many well deserved, positive comments on this legend. As a matter of fact I’m trying to track down Dennis to see if he would front my band I would agree that their studio recordings could never capture the excitment and magic of their live performances. Nonetheless, I’ve got all of their original material on CD including:

    Cyclone Rider (the 45 single)
    Spoiled Rotton (The LP)
    Left End (The 4 song vinyl recording)
    Left End: Live, Live & Breathing (The live 1989 Park Inn concert)
    Left End (The four song solo project Dennis that did with members of the local band Lazarus.

    I’d be happy share these with anyone thats wants em. Just drop me an email.

  12. I grew up in Youngstown, and although a little young was able to see Left End down at the downtown Y and at Idora Park. They were incredible. Take it in stride was my favorite. I remember seeing dennis drive by me and a friend one time in his little fiat or spyder or whatever it was and (not knowing it was him at the time) said – “thats the ugliest chick i ever saw”. I still see Pat around town here and there and last time I saw tom figinsky was in the 80’s selling guitars for Dusi’s – I really felt bad for him, he was a local hero and (being a guitar player) thought – man, reduced to this! after greatness. If anyone knows how to get the spoiled rotten CD i would sure appreciate a post.

    Thanks – Those were good times – anyone remember Brainchilds sousaphone solo at hot day Idora park??

  13. Hey… Checking out left end… My Grandfather and my father used to run the Appartment NightClub and the Wildlife and Wildlife too…. so I am looking for any and all songs from this band…

    thanks… you can email me at

    millernj@hotmail.com

  14. Chuck from Ytown, what is your Email I,m also interested in the L.E. music that you have. I also have a old tape from the Orange Room. Thank You.

  15. >

    I was aware of all of the tunes Chuck listed, except for the above. Getting those mp3s would be great. Please post your e-mail address, Chuck!

  16. I had this bracketed, but it didn’t show up.

    Left End (The four song solo project Dennis that did with members of the local band Lazarus.

  17. Any new news about Left End? Any gigs this summer? Any Websites? Left End was just to great and had to many fans to not play a few reunion gigs for the fans. Local Cleveland and Youngstown radio stations should play some of their music and push for a reunion. I am sure this band could destroy most of the groups today. Any info about Left End please feel free to email me @ ron-albert@sbcglobal.net

  18. Was just talking with some friends about local bands from the past. There was none better than Left End for the energy that they put out. From beginning to end, everybody was dancing and partying and a great time was had by all. I saw them at Darlington Lake a couple of times in 71 & 72. Everytime they came around we made sure to check them out. I didn’t know that they actually had put out an album. Going to definitely try to find me a copy. And Chuck, I too would love a copy of the music that you have. If anybody out there has any Left End music that they would like to share, hit me at: riffraffsammy@gmail.com Thanks…

  19. Yo man – thank you for making these songs available – I was raised in Y-town and haven’t been able to find these songs anywhere online until today. Awesome – to bad these guys never took off cause Bad Talking Lady was one of the best rock songs of the 70’s right up there with Rick Derringer – Mountain – Uriah Heep !

    Just glad I had been able to be there as it unfolded – peace

  20. I am going to turn 50 on November 25 2006 and would love to fly to y town to see these guys,My buddies and I would always go sunday night to the Orange Room to see them.After I rode dirt bikes in the morning with Tommy Figinski at some old strip mine.call me if there is a gig on November 25 2006 any where around the Y Town.

    Jeffrey Kahn Austin Texas

    512-413-7533

  21. The band was way ahead of it’s time. Dennis T. got ripped off by Boy George for the girly look, but Boy can’t sing like him, that’s for sure. Makes us ‘really want to hurt him’ if you know what I mean.

  22. My dad is from Youngstown, he says he opened for Left End quite a few times, and the bassist’s wife was his bands manager.

  23. that is, wait, not sure if it wsa the bassist or one of the guitaruists, But it was one, here, I’ll get the CD… ummm, it was Jim Puhalla..

  24. Chuck,

    Still looking to hear from you on getting the following:

    Left End (The four song solo project that Dennis did with members of the local band Lazarus.)

    Can you drop me an e-mail at:
    TDonnadio@aol.com

    Thanks,
    Tony

  25. Just an Update for Fans. Spoiled Rotten CD is Available in Europe. My Copy Just Shipped from Austria this week. I should have it before Christmas. I have not been able to find any Copies available in the U.S. However, I suspect that it will be Sold in the U.S. @ some point in time. Maybe in Y-town.

  26. I bought the cd from Germany a few months ago. The recording isn’t the greatest. You can hear buzzing where they recorded with the volume too high.

  27. I ran a bar in the mid 70’s in North Royalton OH called the Atomic Alps. Left End played for us often. The crowds loved them. If they were on the bill we always had an early sell out. They were great guys, had lots of fun and were always ready to surprise.

  28. Wait a minute! Sopors were quaaludes? 25 years later, and only now do I begin to understand….

    See you at the Tomorrow Club, man!

  29. I was blown away finding this website. During the early/mid 70’s, I spent a couple nights a week at the Apartment watching Left End. I started going when I was still in high school, using fake ID’s! We also used to go to the Tomorrow Club, Playpen and Orange Room and Idora Park’s Spring Flings. My girlfriends and I were total Left End groupies and following them to gigs everywhere. We even spent lots of time at some house they all rented in Columbiana. I remember the “entourage” Sound Treatment and have pictures in my photo albums them. In fact, I rememeber Ray, Jimmy (he was a school teacher I think) and crazy Bobby with that wild hair! Last time I spoke to Tommy F. he was working at a music store in the Akron area. I’ve often wondered what the rest of the band members ended up doing with their lives. It’s fun reliving those crazy fun times and to know others have the fond memories as I do.

  30. Remember seeing them at flying machine in akron in mid 70,s sitting in the front row trippin,they played supernaught by black Sabbath at high volume, Havnt been the same since,great band.

  31. im an old apartment dweller also, i remember the time they had this guy named melvin dress up like dennis and come out on stage and drink a bottle of ketchup. dennis t menass……rip

  32. Just heard of Dennis passing away. Very sad to hear this. What a great entertainer he was. All those who saw him perform got a real treat. A true original…RIP

  33. I must say it was hard to find your website in google.

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