Third Class is a band of modern artistic value, a trio of progressive-minded musicians. Their music’s intention is to bring art and life closer together through the display of “Nouveau Réalisme,” a term defined by Pierre Restany in 1960 as “new ways of perceiving the real.” This term has been redefined into a more musical setting by Youngstown-based artists who have been cohesively classified into the “Nouveau Rock” genre, a term coined by a Youngstown band called The Zou. With this in mind, here is the story of Third Class:
Third Class officially formed in 1999 with the brothers Lee and Jack Boyle and their friend Pepe Parish. These three teenage boys lived together in a small town called East Palestine, Ohio. In the winter of this same year, Third Class played their first show in a living room.
In the years 2000 and 2001, after the a number of shows in basements, living rooms and barns, Third Class made a successful attempt to break into the music scene of Youngstown, Ohio. They played their first battle of the bands competition and were featured on NBC News. They also played their first few shows at a venue that encouraged the original style that Third Class was developing. This venue was a bar called Cedars Lounge, the main place for innovative music in the city.
By the year 2004, Third Class had come to represent the offbeat style of indie rock music that had started an underground movement in many areas in Ohio. The band received a handful of interviews from local newspapers and airplay on 98.9 FM. They also co-headlined a big festival called The Nouveau Rock Festival with their friends in a prominent Youngstown band known as The Zou.
After becoming more established, Third Class decided it was time to expand its promotional methods. Being that Third Class was of such an experimental style to many skeptical ears, they decided they needed to travel and find more fans who wanted new and innovative music. Therefore, in 2005 Third Class ventured to Long Island and New York City. In their travels, the band spent a week and a half passing out demos, selling home-made albums, and playing small venues.
Then, in the summer of 2006, Third Class began to think seriously about a well-recorded project. A couple months after an interview on Kent State University’s Black Squirrel Radio, the band went into a professional recording studio in Youngstown called Ampreon Recorder. With the legendary sound engineer, Pete Drivere (The Deadbeat Poets, The Infidels, The Pretty Demons), Third Class recorded a full-length album in four days. November saw the album’s official release under the title Chloe’s epitaph is Chloe. In the following months, the album made its way to being available on a number of music sale websites including itunes, napster, and cdbaby. The album was referred to as an “attempt to classify [an] idiosyncratic sound” by Leonard Crist of The Walruss. In the Youngstown Vindicator, writer John Benson described Third Class as “a progressive pop band falling in the same mindset as Ben Folds Five and Radiohead,” and “a band to be reckoned with in Northeast Ohio.”
After the album’s release and a year of local promotion and numerous shows, Third Class set out on another tour in the summer of 2007. Throughout the process of growing and playing more shows as a band, Third Class had ventured to a variety of cities and venues. But, this was their first real, organized tour. Throughout their travels, Third Class played shows in Philadelphia, PA, Cambridge Springs, PA, Louisville, KY, and Youngstown, OH, with promotional stops along the way in Cincinnati and Columbus, OH. Then, in 2008, they received airplay on a show called The HomeGrown Show on 93.3 FM and an internet station called ruckus.com. They also got a short review of a performance in Salem, Ohio by The Salem News.
All three members of Third Class have a profound love for the literary arts, regarding anything from Harry Potter to As I Lay Dying in their range of tastes. The two brothers in the band, Jack and Lee, graduated in 2008 with Bachelor’s Degrees in English and went on to submit poetry and short stories to different publications internationally. Lee was published in a book called Off The Coast in Robbinston, Maine and nominated for a Pushcart Prize later in the year. This series of events inspired Third Class to title their next album, The Red Wheelbarrow, as such to recognize poetry as a strong intervening influence on their music and to embrace the ideals of William Carlos Williams, the author who wrote the poem which the album is named after. Williams’ philosophy was that there are “no ideas but in things,” a notion Third Class has strongly latched onto when explaining their lyrics to listeners. The lyrics can mean whatever one wishes them to mean. Third Class recorded and mastered this second studio album with the same studios they had used in 2006 and proceeded with an album release show on February 14th of 2009, a show proceeded by interviews from Valley24.com and The Youngstown Vindicator and recognition from The Salem News for their new songs performed at Friends Roastery in Salem, Ohio.
Today, you can find Third Class on myspace.com/thirdclass and thirdclass.net where show updates and album availability are shown, as well as a variety of band photographs and song samples. Third Class continues, at present, to define themselves as an influential part of the up-and-coming indie/progressive musicians of these times.