Cuyahoga Falls band Grim Republic revives pop punk sound

Maria McGinnis

For some, the idea of starting a band with friends and playing music for a living sounds like a dream. Fortunately, for the Cuyahoga Falls-based group Grim Republic, it has become a reality.

Band members Chris Stewart (guitar and vocals), Kirk Baglia (drums) and Kyle Spreitzer (guitar and back-up vocals) attended high school together, where they began their musical careers by playing Metallica covers.

Near the end of 2014, the group posted a Facebook ad and recruited bassist Matt Frantz, who helped finalize the band and push its progression forward with the appeal of a full band and more recording opportunities.

Grim Republic’s rhythms are standard pop punk. The group members also pull heavy inspiration from the bands they grew up listening to. They said they idolize Tool, Green Day, Blink-182 and other bands that encompass the ‘90s and early 2000s pop punk sound.

“We’re making the throwbacks cool again,” Stewart said.

Grim Republic has played several local shows at venues such as The Outpost in Kent and Musica in Akron, and going as far south as Columbus. The band was an opening act for rock band Hawthorne Heights, which originated in Dayton.

Grim Republic has been playing together for nearly four years. The members said their team mentality and holding the band as top priority sets them apart from other local groups in the scene.

“We’ve practiced every Wednesday night religiously for the the past three and a half years,” Stewart said as his fellow bandmates laughed in agreement.

The guys also pride themselves on what Baglia referred to as the “pro-band versus bro-band” mentality, meaning in order to make it professionally, they have to work toward goals and communicate with each other.

“Our willingness to play covers (also) makes us unique,” Baglia said. “It gets the crowd invested.”

The band frequently covers The Killers’ hit “Mr. Brightside,” which gets the audience excited and more likely to enjoy their original music after hearing them cover a classic the audience is familiar with.

Although the band is incredibly important to the members, they are all either in college or heading back to college to further their educating.

“Music wasn’t really the plan to start,” Stewart said. “You need a day job, but (music) is the one thing that if we were presented with (an opportunity), we would drop everything to do it.”

The band released its first EP, titled “Bunker Lane,” in winter 2016. Currently, they are working on their second EP, which they hope to release in spring 2019.

“The new EP follows the trials and tribulations of being in your 20s and going out in the world and realizing you’re on your own and have to figure yourself out,” Baglia said.

With the coming of this new EP, the group is working on more merchandising and marketing for the band.

“We really hope this new EP takes off,” Stewart said. “I feel like our new songs blow our old songs out of the water. It’d be silly as a band to say we’re not constantly evolving.”

Baglia attended Stark State College for audio recording and landed an internship in Nashville at OmniSound Studios, where the band will be heading soon to record drums and vocals for the new EP.

The band members all agreed they would’ve never imagined they would be where they are today, preparing to record at a well-known studio out of state to release their second EP.

“Looking back, we’ve come a really long way,” Baglia said.

Grim Republic has a music video for its single, called “Tell Me Something,” on YouTube, and all of its music is available to stream on Spotify and iTunes. “Tell Me Something” has also been played on local radio stations The Alternation (88.9 FM) and Canton’s rock station (106.9 FM).

For more information on Grim Republic, upcoming shows and links to music, visit the band’s social media on Facebook, Twitter (@Grim_Republic), Instagram (@GrimRepublic) and Snapchat (Grim_Republic.)

Maria McGinnis is a features writer. Contact her at [email protected].