Monday, June 18, 2012

Split Pea/ce: rare video of Cleveland's lyrical poetry revolution

Mike Marcellino and Abe Alvido as Split Pea/ce
(Video by John Burroughs)

Split Pea/ce rips poetry, electric guitar 
at  legendary Mac's Backs on Coventry

This is a rare, maybe the only known video recording of poet Mike Marcellino and guitarist Abe Olvido performing their lyrical poetry music.  Thanks to fellow poet and friend John Burroughs for being at the show and recording this video.

This show with Marcellino and multi-media artist Olvido as the band, Split Pea/ce, was recorded at the legendary Mac's Backs Bookstore on Coventry in Cleveland Heights, Ohio on October 8, 2008.  That was the year Mike started his musical poetry adventures after showing Abe one of his poems earlier that year.  He's not sure which one started it all.

In this video Split Pea/ce performs several of Mike's early songs: been down ta Las Cruces, Asterisks after innocence, Full moon Baltimore and West of the Pecos. 

In case you're not familiar, Coventry Village in Cleveland is a miniature Midwest version of Greenwich Village in New York City or Haight Ashbury in San Francisco - places where the Sixties still survives in spots.  Also, in case you wonder, looking at this rare video, Abe rarely faced the audience while creating his music.  

Mike now knows why he left the snows of Cleveland for the surf of St. Augustine as he looks rather peaked at the Mac's Backs show. His hair and beard are mostly blond now bleached by the tropical sun, salt spray and lemon juice.

Split Pea/ce performed many times in Cleveland in 2008 and 2009 from the East Side to the West Side and South.

The band's home base was the legendary Barking Spider Tavern on the campus of Case Western Reserve University, just down the road from Algebra Tea House on the old red brick Murray Hill Road in Little Italy where Mike and Abe met. 

Mike reads his poetry songs at International Human Rights Day in Cleveland as renowned reggae musician Carlos Jones jumps off stage.  (Photo by The Plain Dealer)

Some of the classic performances of Split Pea/ce included The Battle of the Bands at Peabody's where the crowds of teens and twenty somethings went wild, jumping up on stage and asking Mike to sign copies of his rip and read lyrics on perforated rolls of computer printing paper.

Split Pea/ce performs at Visible Voice Books in Cleveland

Mike Marcellino with noted poet and musician Ray McNiece at the Barking Spider Tavern

While Mike did talk with record company scouts, Split Pea/ce wasn't signed to a label. Another of the band's memorable shows was at Visible Voice Books in the Tremont neighborhood, just across the Cuyahoga River from downtown.

In September of 2009 Mike left Cleveland to bring his lyrical poetry to the cafes, art galleries and festivals of New York City from the Lower East Side to Greenwich Village and Williamsburg in Brooklyn. Now he surfs the beaches of St. Augustine, America's oldest city.  Mike performs and records with musicians Tomas Texino in St. Augustine, Florida and Randall Leddy in New York City.  

In the fall of 2010 to help promote his New York City shows, Mike and Texino produced a 6-song CD "Notebook Writer."  A few copies remain and can be had for a price.  Just comment on this bog if you're interested in this classic album. 

Mike Marcellino as Split Pea/ce on MySpace

Check back as Mike's out looking for the lyrics to these four songs to post up.