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Wild Giraffes

Cleveland (Mentor), 1976-84

The Wild Giraffes should have been rock stars. Well, they were, nearly, in greater Cleveland, but were never able to take their fantasic live show (seen by editor a couple times) to where they could have gotten a big break.

The band was started by Mentor high school students, primarily Edgar Reynolds on lead guitar, and lead singer Chris King. Al McGinty (drums), Chris Burgess (bass),  and Jeff Ianinni (guitar) were the rest of the fab five. 

The WIld Giraffes' influences were the classic 60s rock and roll mixed with the Flamin' Groovies, Raspberries, Ramones, etc. They weren't really  punk, not too pop, and certainly not AOR...rock and roll. The band slowly build up a following to the point where they wanted to record. In 1977, Cleveland's rock and roll scene was still running on the fumes from the great early 70s explosion, but there were no real record labels in town, especially ones catering to bands playing fresh original songs...so they started their own label, Neck records. The first 45 was "New Era", a title that suggested the new era of the punk generation, but really, as any true Clevelander would know, referred to the landmark stripper club of the same name downtown. 

Over the next year or so the reputation and popularity grew to where they were getting opening gigs for national bands like the Ramones. They made two more 45s, each one more successful than the previous. The 1978 45 was titled "Emsembles and Majorettes" on the sleeve but included the songs "Love Me" and "When I Found Out". By this time Dave Ivan was the bassist and Mike Terrell replaced Ianinni. The 1979 45 was "I Don't Know About You" and a cover of Little Walter's "Crazy Mixed Up World". One of the Wild Giraffes' specialties was choosing a few great songs to cover, and this was one of them.

Sometime in 1978-9 they had a live broadcast on WMMS which is probably their best recorded legacy. The band was really amazing live, mixing their original songs with covers like Del Shannon's "Move It On Over" and Elvis' "Burning Love" and making it their own.

In 1981 they released a 4th 45 and an LP which included the covers mentioned above and many fine originals. A few songs got some play on WMMS as well as Cleveland''s college stations. Bill Elliot had replaced Mike Terrell. 

The band, after more personnel changes, broke up in 1983/4. Chris King had some voice trouble and the band didn't have the same chemistry. Man, they sure put on a lot of great shows.

The Pagans 1st 45 "Six and Change" was released on the Neck Wreckords label. They deliberately took the Wild Giraffes' label name but the story goes that it was appropriated and Edgar and the band had nothing to do with it. As far as the label name.....what is a giraffe known for?

Edgar Reynolds is deceased.

New Era / Dreams Don't Last - Neck AAA1, 1977
Love Me / When I Find Out - Neck AAA2, 1978
I Don't Know About You / Crazy Mixed Up World - Neck AAA3, 1979
Burning Love / Knook Knock - Neck AAA4, 1981
LP - Right Now - Neck NA-001, 1981