Nick Kizirnis put CAGE together not too long after THE RAGING MANTRAS (a.k.a. THE KILLJOYS) broke up. Whether playing as KILLJOYS or MANTRAS, that band had been a Dayton staple for five or six years before drummer Jim MacPherson joined THE BREEDERS in 1992.
I want to pause here just a second and put in my own two-cents to the effect that Jim's leaving the MANTRAS for THE BREEDERS was the pivotal event in the old Dayton music timeline. That one thing, in my opinion, really shifted the landscape here. Before it happened, the general thinking around here seemed to be that if you were in Dayton and you wanted to be successful playing music, you had to move somewhere else. BIG BROWN HOUSE did it. AFGHAN WHIGS did it. GUIDED BY VOICES did it. It just seemed that nobody in the tri-state area started a band without also deciding where they were going to move to at some point.
That seemed to change a little when THE BREEDERS drafted Jim and then had a top ten hit with "Cannonball." Suddenly (and briefly), Dayton was the cool place to be.
I doubt Nick had any of that in mind when CAGE got together, but along with BRAINIAC, I think of CAGE as one of the first bands to sport that indie-rawk sound around these parts. You know what I mean: tuneful pop stylings with a healthy dose of feedback, noise, squelched vocals, and lyrics full of ironic self-deprecation and vague pop-culture references (lots of hyphens too -- let's not forget how much we indie rawkers love our hyphens). Others followed, of course -- OXYMORONATRON, CIGARHEAD, MY LATEX BRAIN. Some of them still exist today. But I think of CAGE and BRAINIAC as the first. And when I think of the time when CAGE got started, I also think of the time when most people stopped looking to move somewhere else in order to "make it." But I'm still not sure if that's a good thing or a bad thing. For whatever reason, I still think of Dayton as a place that people should strive to get away from -- or at least not a place where one should be comfortable.
In any case, we here present CAGE's split 7" with Cincinnati's THE TIGERLILIES. As you might notice, the CAGE lineup draws heavily from THE RAGING MANTRAS' (only Rob Schaefer and Jim are absent). The only different member is Matt Espy (on drums) who came to CAGE from WALLAROO SOUTH. Finally, although Nick Kizirnis would perform most of the vocal duties in this band, here Gregg Spence (also of THE UNDERDOGS) gives us the lead vocal.
Download it! (13 MB) (link re-upped 2-4-2013)
UPDATE (4/18/2011): Andy Valeri tells me that Big Beef still has copies of this available for sale. Go to the Big Beef site to get one for your very own (lots of information about CAGE there too).