M897 Artist Spotlight: June 2014
The Lash Inspires Celtic Mayhem for Over 15 years
Story by LCC Radio Staff Reporter Karen Hopper
Lash are Lansing’s go-to celtic rock band and it’s not hard to understand why.
Rob Klajda (guitar, banjo, sittern, and vocals), Andy Wilson (accordion,
whistle, harmonica, and trumpet), Bob Bryan (drummer), and John Herrmann (bass)
are all seasoned musicians who work steadily in Michigan. Of the four, Rob
Klajda is the only remaining original member of the band, which started with
seven local musicians who wanted to cover the Pogues. They meant for it to be a
one-off project, but “Celtic mayhem” turned out to have considerable staying
power, and now fifteen + years later The Lash are regulars around town with
three original albums under their belt and a fourth slowly being recorded.
These days it isn’t so much the mayhem that the band sells as it’s eclecticism--”eclectic celtic” is the new tagline.
Says Klajda, “One of the things we’ve always had a problem with is being too folk for the rockers and to rocky for the folk. Even with the irish stuff we aren’t just going out and making jigs and reels. At least in comparison to the other bands that pass off as irish at all, we’re more eclectic, bringing in blues and americana.”
Eclectic is a good way to put it. Klajda has played in nearly every kind of band, from punk to reggae. He says Wilson (also of Steppin’ In It and The Springtails) seems to know everything about every kind of music; Bob Bryan has a background in avant garde jazz, and Herrmann plays bass for “everybody in town.”
Over the years, The Lash have opened for some pretty big names--Hootie and the Blowfish, the Clancy Brothers, Black 47. Flogging Molly, in fact, opened for The Lash before going on to become one of the biggest names in celtic rock. In the late nineties and early 2000s, an agent based out of Chicago sent The Lash to both coasts and around the Midwest. For awhile, they were playing in Chicago of often that they were mistaken for a Chicago band.
Don’t worry--they’re not!
Klajda says he likes the supportive community he gets here in the Lansing area. Knowing the music scene so well means it takes him maybe five minutes to find a replacement when he needs somebody to cover for another member of the band.
And at this point, after nearly seventeen years of playing together, Klajda says the longevity is pretty special--that people still seem to like The Lash, and “It’s a variety of people. There are people who were college kids when we were big the first time and now they bring their kids to see us.”