Getting to know Tape-Toons, local alternative band


Dylan Gomez, Andrew Bittaker and Allen Bittaker, all members of the Kent rock group Tape-Toons sit in a bay window Sunday. The group plays music throughout northeast Ohio and is scheduled to be on Black Squirrel Radio Feb. 10.. Photo by Nikolas Kolenich.

Kaylee Remington

Andrew Bittaker knew when he cut his ear in half on his drummer’s cymbals that his band was not like any other. Rolling around the stage and dressing in different costumes, including dresses and wigs, the band Tape-Toons is trying to reinvent modern rock.

Bittaker, 23, recently graduated from Kent State with a degree in music. He met drummer Dylan Gomez, and the two formed Tape-Toons, a catchy, alternative noise-rock band, with Bittaker’s bass-playing brother, Allen.

“I’ve been writing songs a long time,” Bittaker said. “I was too scared to do it by myself.”

The three started playing together in summer 2009 and went from there.

“It was pretty experimental,” Bittaker said.

The band’s first album, titled “Gravel Love,” came out September 2010.

The album, which comes in hand-made packages, features nine songs of the heartbreak and struggle of youth in the Midwest.

Bittaker said he doesn’t want the band to be like any other modern rock group out there. The rock scene now, he said, is dry and boring, and the band is trying to bring it back.

“We kind of all hate the modern rock scene,” Bittaker said. “It just all sounds the same to me.”

Judging by his morning attire — long johns, rain boots and a Super Mario shirt — he doesn’t want to look the same as everyone else.

Allen, like his brother, wouldn’t mind playing his bass pants-less if he could.

Having different attire is no problem for Tape-Toons, and they cycle this individualization to the stage. Andrew said looking like ladies is not an issue.

“We’ve worn dresses more than once,” Bittaker said.

Tape-Toons brings a punk attitude to the stage, but it’s just the guys trying to have fun.

“We try to improv as much as possible,” Bittaker said.

As much as Tape-Toons doesn’t want to be the same as the average rock band, they do have influences that guide them: The Beatles, Pixies, Nirvana, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and some artists in the jazz and classical genres.

To really get Tape-Toons launching, Bittaker said he and the band want to start recording another album.

The band will record with Steve Albini in August. Albini is a singer, songwriter and producer and has been a member of the bands Big Black, Rapeman and Flour.

“He recorded Nirvana, the Pixies, Explosions in the Sky,” Bittaker said.

For now, Tape-Toons is continuing to make music until they begin recording their second album.

“We will just keep changing and writing new stuff,” Bittaker said.

Tape-Toons has performed in Kent venues like Professor’s Pub and Euro Gyro.

Their next show will be at the Grog Shop in Cleveland March 5 with Digiraatii, a more electronic-sounding band.

Contact Kaylee Remington at [email protected].