Akron, 1976-1983, 2003-
The Akron avant/punk scene had a lot of bands that came up with a unique identity that went beyond a label of 'punk' or 'new wave'. The Bizarros had a diverse range of influences that included load NE Ohio punk like the Dead Boys or Rubber City Rebels, along with early Pink Floyd and the Velvet Underground. Today those bands are canonical to sufffocation, but in1976 they sounded completely fresh and original.
The band included brothers Jerry (guitar) and Donald (bass, guitar) Parkins, Terry Walker (guitar, keyboards) and Nick Nicholis (vocals). The original band didn't have an ofiicial drummer until after they had made their first recordings. They released their first 4 song EP in 1976, way early in the US indie punk scene.
In 1977, Nicholis gave the Akron scene a big boost when he started a 'real' record label, Clone. The first Clone record was a split LP with the Bizarros and Rubber City Rebels. The LP included "Lady Doubonette" and "I Bizarro" from the EP. This LP was distributed to positive reviews in publications from NYC and was a big factor in spreading the "Akron sound" to the rest of the world.
The band recorded another 3 song 7" in 1978, with a permanent drummer, Rick Garberson. The band's reputuation spread to get noticed by Mercury records, who signed the band as another artist for their Blank Records "new Wave" subsidiary. However, the released Blank LPs (Pere Ubu and Suicide Commandos from Minneapolis) were almost immediately set to the cutout bins and the record was postponed until Mercury decided to release it on the main label. The cover has artwork to represent elements of Rust Belt life in 1979, crumbling old factories with belching smokestacks, a long way from stylized punk of the US coasts and the UK. The LP included re-recordings of a few favorites.
The LP got the band a lot of notice, and shows off their mix of influences well. However, record companies like Mercury didn't really believe that punk and new wave were lasting things and make little effort to promote the band and/or 'develop' them as they would for classic rock type bands. So, the band was left to record and play on their own. Nick Nicholis quit in 1981 and the band continued with new singer Kal Mullins.
The band continued to play local places like JB's but they never recorded anything else, and disbanded in 1983.
In 2003 the group (minus Garberson, who passed away in the 1980s) reunited to record an LP. Since then they have performed occasionally. Terry Walker passed away in 2018.