If you go
Who: Presque Vu with MC Homeless and DJ Ludo
When: 10 p.m. Saturday
Where: The Lemon Grove,
122 W. Federal St., Youngstown
Tickets: $3; call 330-301-0282
110 W. Federal St., Youngstown
By John Benson
Among the influences a musician can cite today that are taboo, former Genesis singer and ’80s pop-rocker Phil Collins’ name is probably near the top, alongside Vanilla Ice and Shaun Cassidy.
However, that didn’t stop Presque Vu visionary Eddie “Johnny La Rock” Fleisher from giving the “Sussudio” singer a shout out when mentioning what acts inspire his electronic, hip-hop, folk and indie-rock-sounding Cleveland-based band.
“My influences vocally are like a weird mix,” said Fleisher (vocals, programming, keys, guitar, harmonica), formerly of the rap act Johnny La Rock & Mush Mouth. “I’d say I’m channeling a strange mix of Dave Gahan from Depeche Mode, maybe Elliot Smith and Phil Collins. I love Phil Collins. He’s one of my favorite vocalists of all time. I’d like to cover a song of his at some point. I guess ‘Against All Odds’ would be my choice, but it’s been done by Postal Service, so maybe I’ll pick ‘I Don’t Care Anymore.’”
Not embarrassed by the fact he’s dated himself with the Collins reference, Fleisher, for the record, is quickly approaching 30 (“I’m old school”). The office manager by day is excited about Presque Vu, which started two years ago as mainly a solo project to help him get over a terrible breakup documented in the group’s debut effort, “Capgras.” Its title is a medical term used to describe people who see their loved ones but think they’ve been taken over by somebody else.
What a great (and overt) metaphor for attempting to come to terms with the actions of a former lover who has gone their own way.
“That describes how dark I was in that period after our breakup,” Fleisher said. “Our new CD, due out in February, is a lot poppier than the first record. The last record was essentially a break-up album, and I’d call this one the sort of bitter period after the breakup where you’re more into writing anthems, moving on and getting through it.”
The singer said the band will be playing unreleased songs from the new CD “210 and a Mustache” at its Youngstown debut Saturday at the Lemon Grove. He also promises a cathartic evening for unsuspecting audiences. Just shy of a discussion regarding the healing principals of music, Fleisher believes Presque Vu helps the broken-hearted.
“People can really relate to what we’re saying; it’s something they can really get behind,” Fleisher said. “I feel like if anybody has ever struggled with feeling like [expletive] and wanted to feel better, they can find something in our music to rally behind.”
The real question is what would Phil Collins say about Presque Vu?
“I think he’d respect our pop sensibility,” Fleisher said. “I also think Phil Collins is a pretty emo dude himself. He’s a sad guy. So I think he would like it. I hope one day I’ll get the chance to find that out.”