Where are the Now?
First Light 20th Anniversary
1984 - 2004
Believe it or not 2004 marked 20 years since First Light first hit the streets. As Ed Marthey remembers:
"...our 1st show was @ the Variety Theater in Lakewood... i don't remember too much about it except that a lot of Cleveland high muckety mucks were there... jane Scott from the PD, Alex Bevan, a bunch of press & musicians. i met guitarist Mike Balas that night, which was ironic because he's from Wayne County too. it was 4/4/84, reason i recall that was 'cause the next day was my 26th b-day ... @ midnite i was @ a Bob's Big Boy & a bunch of people i'd just met were singing Happy Birthday to me. it's strange what the mind chooses to remember about long-past occurences... the next night was our 1st road gig, @ the Underground Railway in Morgantown WV.
those early daze were tough but full of promise. we were making $20 per gig, & sleeping 4 guys to a motel room. peole went gaga over us! i didn't know how to take it. still don't.
in may '84 we opened for the Clash @ Public Hall, that was just about the coolest gig we ever played.
in our 1st several months we were on the road a lot. everywhere we went we were billed as "first light- rankin' reggae... FEATURING ORIGINAL MEMBERS OF I-TAL!!!!!!!" we spent a lot of time in Bob's basement writing & learning songs, sometimes i went to Cleveland & didn't get home for a week. at the time our bass player was Ron "Uncle Wiggily" Jarvis, who was also from Orrville, so i rode w/ him in his small pickup. after a year he quit & the guys insisted i move to Cleve... i was in the band over 13 years but i never did move out of Orrville. Cleveland's a great place to visit, but...
we got a letter from Arista just before the Musical Uprising EP was finished, asking us to send them some product...we never heard from them again. maybe we weren't orange enough or something.
"we played about 250 dates a year in the 1st decade, got us thru the Reagan- Bush I era...
there were no jobs in ohio in those days, but people packed our shows. to me that proves the old axiom about people during hard times scrimping on everything but entertainment... who knows, maybe we wouldn't have been able to make a living as musicians if we hadn't been under a brutal fundamentalist dictatorship (which is not to minimize the dictatorship we live under now!)..."
I always had the idea to put a "Where Are They Now" page together for First Light. Many thanks to Ed Marthey for the logos and art you see here and the help getting the page together. All of our hard work paid off! First Light Reunited June 21, 2008 at the Nautica Stage (now called The Plain Dealer Pavillion) and has continued to play special engagements from time to time.
First Light On Stage at a Late 80's Midwest Reggae Fest - Photo: Rob Young
Bob still plays out with Carlos from time to time and is a member of PLUS Band. He also plays out with Ital which supposedly played its last show in late 2007. Bob is a registered nurse.
Chopper has played with his band Sammy's Good Eye doing contemporary rock music and has also has a band called Nappy Habitz. Chop's daytime gig is at Guitar Center on Mayfield Rd. in Lyndhurst, OH. More recently Rod, Chopper, Gino, and Ed have all been playing out with Outlaws I&I. Chopper resides in Cleveland Hts.
If you have made it this far you have figured out that Carlos busy with his new project Carlos Jones and PLUS Band. He worked a day job for a few years at a warehouse out in Chagrin Falls and quit in late 2004 to get back to music full time.
Just check out the web site here to see where you can catch him live or to find out more about his new CD "Roots With Culture". Carlos also plays out from time to time with Papa Dave and Ital. He lives with his wife and daughter in Woodmere, Ohio. The photo here is a bit dated, Soraya is planning on attending college in the fall of 2008.
You can get a hold of Carlos via e-mail by Clicking Here.
Gino was working just down the road from Chopper at Sam Ash in Lyndhurst and still plays out with Chopper from time to time. I saw Gino at the House of Blues show in late 2005 and he was looking and playing great. He, Rod, Bob, and Carlos played an encore set of "Apartment Living", "Running", and "One Love" along with Rod's new project The Prayer Warriors. More recently he earned his BA degree and may no longer be at Sam Ash. More recently Rod, Chopper, Gino, and Ed have all been playing out with Outlaws I&I. The photo below was from the HOB show:
See First Light Alum Ed Marthey Live...
At the Montavino Wine Market on Sept. 24
at 7 pm for 2 hours of highly entertaining piano music.
Admission is free! 330-262-WINE
Ed continued to live in Orrville where he recorded and played with his side project The Visitors as well as with The Mike Balas Project. He also played solo piano for a few years at restaurants and coffee houses
while working at the Schantz Pipe Organ Co.
In 2000 Ed and wife Jamie moved out to Boulder, Colorado. While out in the Rocky Mountain State Ed continued to do some solo playing and was in a few bands. He got a day job at Kinko's.
In 2006 Ed moved back to Northeast Ohio. He is working at the Kinko's in downtown Akron. He plays in the Akron-area band Lost Highway, and occasionally with the Dayton band Groove Therapy and Seefari from Wilberforce. He has also been playing out with Liquid Sky. More recently Rod, Chopper, Gino, and Ed have all been playing out with Outlaws I&I. He continues to play solo piano, gigging a couple times a month at the Montavino Wine Market in Wooster (330-262-WINE). He is
available to play piano for any occasion.
You can get a hold of Ed via e-mail by Clicking Here.
I found some information on Rod at the following web site:
The information appears to be a few years old, so I'm not too sure if he's still involved. Rod still plays with Ed in The Visitors.
In late 2005 the band which Rod has been playing out with, The Prayer Warriors, opened a PLUS show at the Cleveland House of Blues. Rod, Gino, Bob, and Carlos played a great encore set together. Another FL reunion of sorts took place at Tangiers around Thanksgiving 2005. Rod has also played out with Cats on Holiday and The Cletus Black Review. More recently Rod, Chopper, Gino, and Ed have all been playing out with Outlaws I&I. That's Rod way up in the left hand corner of this photo from the House of Blues 2005 show:
Larry "D" Rhodes
"Amazing Larry 'D' is on the mix. When it comes to dubbing he's a terrorist. Blows you away just to get his kicks." Larry was the Light's soundman and the band's seventh member. Larry passed away in January of 2007 after suffering from poor health for some time. Our thoughts and prayers are with Larry's family.
Larry Vern Rhodes
LORAIN -- Larry Vern Rhodes, 53, of Lorain, died Friday, Jan. 26, 2007, at Community Regional Medical Center, Lorain, following a long illness.
He was born Sept. 27, 1953, in Asheville, N.C. He moved to Lorain 30 years ago from Arizona.
Rhodes was a music engineer for several local bands. He recently had been manager of the St. Joseph Overnight Shelter in Lorain.
He enjoyed electronics and music and was a member of St. Joseph Church, Lorain.
Survivors include his daughters Melissa Rhodes and Genevieve Rhodes, both of Avon Lake; stepdaughter, Chandra Meesig of Springfield, Mass.; stepson, George Meesig of Cleveland Heights; sisters Paula West of Dearborn, Mich., and Diane Lislk of Wenonah, N.J.; and brothers George Taylor of Sacramento, Calif., and Albert Rhodes of Flagstaff, Ariz. He was preceded in death by his by his parents, Lee and Geneva Rhodes.
Memorial contributions may be made to St. Joseph Overnight Shelter, 317 W. 15th St., Lorain, OH 44052.
Ed "Cellis" Skinner
Another of our Brothers has gone on to the next life...
Our dear Brother, Ed Skinner, better known as Cellis (pronounced chellis) has passed on as of Sunday, Mar. 22nd. I came to know him as the bass player and arranger for various groups, before he joined First Light in 1985. After his time with us he formed his own band, Satta, which enjoyed a long run through the late 80s and 90s. His untimely passing is a shock and a loss to our community as well as Cleveland's reggae fraternity especially.
Please join me in sending prayers and comfort to his surviving family members, and let's do what we can to support them in this time of loss.
Rest in peace, Cellis
There were many others who played with the band over the years. If you have any other information or old photos you'd like to contribute you can e-mail me by Clicking Here.