Styrenes / Styrene Money Band / Poly Styrene Jass Band / Paul Marotta
The story behind the legend that is the Styrenes, and all the permutations of their moniker, begins with Paul Marotta. In 1973 -- when Peter Laughner was playing in the Cinderella Backstreet cover band, Crocus Behemoth was doing gigs with other Scene writers as the great Bow-Wah Death Band, and Stiv Bators was in the Mother Goose Band - Marotta recorded a few songs at home, had them mastered at Alcon, and released the first record to be connected with Cleveland's proto-punk/avant music scene.
The four song 7 inch was titled "Tool" and if you apply modern (2000s) rock criticisms, it can be viewed as way before it's time as a 'lo-fi' 'indie' 'DIY' twisted downer folk rock classic. The record hardly sold and it's not very common.
Before, and after, the Tool EP Marrotta had been in Mirrors. When that band split. Marrotta (keyboards), Jamie Klimek (guitar), and Jim Jones (bass) started the Poly Styrene Jass Band. While Klimek had been the leader of Mirrors, this band was led by Marrotta. Tony (Anton) Fier was the drummer. Not long after they started, they recorded their first 45 "Draino In Your Veins"/"Circus Highlights" and released in on their own Mustard label, the label that was the band's home during their initial existence.
The band continued to record off and on throughj 1976 and 77. Like the other bands in the Cleveland avant rock scene, live shows were not that common, the band played occasionally at PIrates Cove and a few other places, a long ways from the Agora, etc.
Jones left and they continued as a three piece, known as the Styrene Money Band. They made another 45 and an LP (credited to the Styrenes). Mike Antle joined on bass. By the 1977 recordings , they had a very distinct sound that had were short high energy songs, punk, but with elements of late 60s psych and possibly Kraut Rock.
By 1979 the original band split up. Marotta played with the similar minded Bernie and the Invisibles for a while, and then moved to New York City. After a couple years he restarted the Styrenes, releasing a compilation LP in 1982 and a 45 of new recordings.
Since then, Marotta has released a few LPs of new recordings as the Styrenes, collaborating with new players like UK Rattay. A few more archival LPs have also been released. He also released an LP"Agit-prop Piano" which sounds pretty much like it says!
Tis A Guiding Light That Shines My Way ; Anything / One Without Many ; The Wedding March Opus IV - Tool Presents A3DIM, Match 1973 (wrap around sleeve)
Draino In Your Veins / Circus Highlights - Musttard 101, 1975 - stamped plain sleeve
Radial Arm Saws / Just Walking - Mustard 102, 1977
I Saw You / Everything Near Me ; Jaguar Ride - Mustard 103, 1978 - pic sleeve
Jennifer Gymshorts ; Exasperation / No Deposit, No Return - Mustard 108, 1981 - artwork sleeve
LP - Girl Crazy - Mustard 4001, 1982