The Cliches are Homegrown Band

"The Cliches are a fun band . . . a terrific dance band!" - Mary Cronin

"The Cliches are a fun band . . . a terrific dance band!" - Mary Cronin


Three Fisher students, with one other musician from the dance band the Cliches, have gotten a little closer to stardom.

They were selected from about 130 bands to represent Rochester’s local musicians on WCMF’s second Homegrown album, a collection of one-track songs by 10 local bands, to be released around Thanksgiving, said Trip Reeb, program director for WCMF.

Seniors John Perevich, Geoff Proud and Jeff Laben comprise three-fourths of the Cliches. Drummer Tom Backus, 21, formerly of Berkeley, Calif. School of Music, completes the band -which makes “music that really isn’t punk or new wave, just dance music,” Laben said.

The Cliches' Stickers

Cliches' Stickers

The Cliches formed in April of 1980 and first performed in public as an opening act for New Math in September of that year. They’ve since built such a steady following that they recently “opened for national stars The Ramones.

The Homegrown appearance will be the Cliches first “on vinyl” release.
“We did some recording last April at Sandcastle Studios that never got picked up; never made it out of the can,” Laben said.

WCMF is paying for all studio costs for recording the Homegrown track, which is being produced by PCI studio’s Todd Schaefer. Hi-Techs, Cheater, Stoney Creek, P.F. Flyers, Insiders, Little Trolls, Dark Star, Lifter and Buxx will also appear on the album.

Their success, however, is somewhat marred by dissension. “I heard some of the competition… tapes by other bands that were fresher, more original and had musicianship of a higher level (than the Cliches) that didn’t make it,” said a Fisher student who asked to remain unidentified.

Geoff Proud’s position at WCMF has also caused some controversy within local musical circles. Many screamed “favoritism” when the Cliches were announced as Homegrown winners.

“It seems like the obvious thing. We were in a no-win situation. If we didn’t make it, the band would’ve blamed Geoff. We did make it and people are still blaming Geoff,” Laben said.

All of the Homegrown winners were put through a rigorous judging by five panelists. Their tapes were played, at random and unidentified, to the panel. Three of the judges recognized the Cliches’ tape and abstained from the judging. Their tape eventually came in third place.

Jeff Laben of the Cliches

Jeff Laben of the Cliches

The Cliches made it fair and square,” said Maureen Flaherty, WCMF disc jockey. ‘This has been an obvious problem from the start, but I have no qualms about the judging.”

Although the Homegrown project is a great stepping stone for the band, it can’t guarantee them any future successes. None of the artists on the first album have signed major contracts, but some “are close” according to Reeb. The first LP sold 4,000 copies locally,” said Evey Collins, a buyer for Rochester One   Stop,  a  record wholesaler. “The bands on this LP are 10 times better than those on the first album.

The local music scene has greatly improved.  More  people  have  started opening up to new music; “although they are in the minority, a Fisher following does go to see new music shows like the ones at the Triangle (Theatre),” Laben said.

The Cliches have a long road before their brand of “dance music” becomes a national music staple and chances” are good that they’ll never make it out of obscurity. They have, however, developed a sizable local following, a first step toward musical success that few bands ever reach.

Some of these followers are Fisher students like Mary Cronin, a junior, who said, “The Cliches are a fun band… a terrific dance band!”

Photos by Kathi Maniaci, taken at the Red Creek.

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  1. Stan the Man’s avatar

    Yup, did that and I found him on Linkedin. He (was) living in LA and is now back in Rochester managing PR/Communications for the RPO!


  2. Jlaben’s avatar

    Didn’t Mike Cidoni go on to write about music and the arts for the D & C and The T-U? I think he also worked at the House of Guitars for a while, although I may be mistaken.

    No idea what happened to him. Time to Google.

    PS. Those Cliches stickers are still available FOR SALE. Anything to help pay for this trip.


    1. Stan’s avatar

      Mike is back in Rochester and is presently the Manager, PR/Communications for the RPO


    2. Jlaben’s avatar

      I just remembered that he also did movie reviews for WOKR-TV, now that I think of it.


    3. DJ Thurmie Thurm’s avatar

      The cliche’s….never heard of them.


    4. Jlaben’s avatar

      You’re not alone. Not many have.


    5. DJ Thurmie Thurm’s avatar

      Every Time Jeff L came out of the men’s room…he would sing the songs faster and faster.


    6. Jlaben’s avatar


      I mean, what the hell are you talking about?


    7. DJ Thurmie Thurm’s avatar



    8. Jlaben’s avatar

      shhhhhhh. Take your Xanax and lie down.


    9. Del Rivers’s avatar

      The Cliches were one of the first local bands that I followed. I always remember their treatment of Tommy James songs – like Draggin’ The Line. I always ran into Jeff at grocery stores or at Red Wings games. Great time at the Reunion with Riverside Restaurant – a song ahead of its time for the gay population!


    10. oger’s avatar

      as the former “manager” of the cliches, the gig in kelsey’s back yard was like altamont and the stones, one eye and bordeaux made sure nobody got hurt. nice vid of lead singer laben pounding out riverview restaurant, sweet, sorry i missed it, will make some scorgie reunion later. miss scorgies, cheers
      the oger
      tommy o


    11. TBackus’s avatar

      Ho w much for the stickers? I need some for my scooter.


    12. Rich’s avatar

      Where was Martin Edic in all this anyway? Why is he not playing in the PE’s?
      Is it sort of Bill Wyman/Stones type thing where he just became weary of the whole thing and threw in his hat?
      Also, can anyone shed light as to why Kevin Patrick is no longer singing for New


    13. joe hendrick’s avatar

      Come to think of it, where was Dale Smedley for New Math and why didn’t they play “I can’t get off the ground”? I had a Cliches t-shirt and I gave it to Joe Minotti ( The Royals) to give to his kid around 2002-03. Didn’t fit me anymore. It must have shrunk lolol


    14. Jlaben’s avatar

      We were asking the same exact questions regarding Dale and “Can’t Get Off the Ground”…Probably the best New math song ever.

      I have a couple of different Cliches t-shirts from 27 years ago that have shrunk to the point that they would be a tight fit on a “GI Joe” action figure.

      There are exactly 9 Cliches stickers remaining in existance, to the best of my knowledge. There is one now stuck on the mirror behind the bar at Abilene and I also stuck one in the hopper at the German House.

      Email me your address, Rich, and I’ll send you one. You too, TB. Everyone needs a Cliches sticker on their bike. It’ll help you score with chicks.


      1. Susan M Manning’s avatar

        I still have one on my old Anvil briefcase! Pretty battle scarred…😎💪


      2. joe hendrick’s avatar

        I remember one night New Math launching into “Can’t get Off the Ground” with Smedley playing that rhythm right in the face of WCMF’s Dave Kane (I’m pretty sure) as if to say “screw your classic rock music!!!” The crazy things we remember !!


      3. Peggi’s avatar

        Dale came into town the weekend before the reunion for Danny’s Dad’s funeral and couldn’t make the trip the following weekend (from New Jersey where he lives with Myrna (Human Switchboard) and their kids). We hung out with him the following night and had a lot of fun. Dale & Paul were in the original version of New Math for a couple years before they left. Dale wrote some great songs during that early period. He and Myrna showed up at our Margaret Explosion gig at Abilene last Fri night. He’s still the same – an original.


      4. Peggi’s avatar

        Re: Martin. He was going to come up and do a couple songs but his Dad was dying and in hospice during the weeks leading up to the reunion. His Dad died the morning after.


      5. Stan the Man’s avatar

        My thoughts go out to Danny, Martin and their families. It’s tough to lose a parent, especially this time of year.


      6. Mike Cidoni’s avatar

        Wow! So cool finding this site and fondly remembering so much of the music that helped me learn to rock — The Cliches’ classic sets included. Still haven’t ever heard anything quite like that band. And, sadly, I never found another place quite like Scorgies — not even here in Los Angeles. Happy New Year one and all!


      7. Jlaben’s avatar

        Thanks for stopping by, Mike!

        I imagine that this article was the springboard to your succesful career as a writer, reviewer and LA media magnate.


      8. Chris Chance’s avatar

        Jeez, when did Scorgie go under, wasn’t that on Andrews St. near now Liquid? Also, remember IDOLS on Liberty Pole Way? I saw the Ramones there maybe in 1988. I loved IDOLS.


      9. Richie’s avatar

        Nice to JL up in West Palm Beach earlier this month at the Palm Beach Kennel Club. Let’s have a Scorgies Southern Hemisphere reunion!
        What thinks everyone ?



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