From Beatles to Broadway to Punk’s Valley Musicians Score | News, Sports, Jobs

STRUTHERS — Local musician Don Yallech recalls how music found him in his youth.

It all started at age 6, when Yallech got his first record, The Beatles’ “Something New,” released in the summer of 1964, after their iconic “Ed Sullivan Show.”

The Beatles also sparked Yallech’s interest in drumming, which led to his future playing drums in numerous experimental and famous new wave performances.

Yallech, 63, recalls standing in line at the Paramount Theater in downtown Youngstown to watch “a hard day’s night” with his family.

Yallech is the Music Director of Easy Street Productions, a position he assumed at the end of 2017 following the death of former Music Director Jeff Sanders. Over the years, Yallech has collaborated with Easy Street co-founders Todd Hancock and Maureen Collins on several shows.

“At Easy Street Productions, I was the music director of musicals including Putnam County Spelling Bee, Peter and the Starcatcher, Matilda, Nunsense, Miracle on Easy Street. I also had the honor of being Easy Street. Street was the musical director of two works with the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra led by the late conductor Randall Fleischer, ‘Guys and Dolls’ and ‘South Pacific,'” Yallech said.

Yallech began making drums at the Youngstown Theater from the late 1970s to 1984. He was the music director of the production of “Grease” in the early 1980s and was also the music director of the Youngstown Theater production of “Chicago” in 2006.

“Recently, I played their production of The Purple in late 2021 with the Youngstown Symphony. It was a work with the Youngstown Theatre and the Youngstown Symphony following the tragic death of Randall Fleischer . With Easy Street, I’ve also finished producing and performing Crap. That’s what we were working on when we shut down due to the pandemic in March 2020. Currently, I’m working on some new stuff for Easy Street’s Christmas show Charts. Hopefully this year we can actually do that in front of a live audience,” Yallech said.

band experience

Yallech joined his first band, a polka band called The Keynotes, in seventh grade. While attending Struthers High School in the 1970s, Yallech played in a trio called Tobin Count, which covered material from popular rock bands of the time such as King Crimson and Genesis.

By 1976, Yallech was graduating high school and entering the early years of college, when punk and new wave were major influences. By 1978, Youngstown’s steel mills were closed, and Youngstown’s younger generation was absorbing the music, art, and fashion of the punk and new wave scenes of Pittsburgh, Akron, and Cleveland. During this time, Yallech formed the local band The B-Minors with local musician John Chianese.

B Minors was one of the well-loved post-punk bands of the early 1980s at Cedar’s Lounge in downtown Youngstown.

“Playing at Cedars became a local music and art scene that started to flourish. It brought local music acts like Nancy Bizarri, The 8-Balls, The Sonics, The Elements, Mephisto Waltz, The Infidels, etc. Poster Art is very popular, most of our work is Pernotto done by artist Louise Corsi and occasionally local artist Jim who also designed a great t-shirt for Cedar. We also do it for Peggy Millard’s fashion show or 8 Balls’ Beach themed nights doing music. That was the beginning of Cedar’s for me with an artsy atmosphere. Of course I still do other gigs during this time, like playing at the theater or the Youngstown Symphony and finishing at YSU my undergraduate degree,” Yallech said.

B-Minors include Yallech on vocals, drums, and keyboards; Jody Rizer on bass, conga, keyboards, percussion, and vocals; John Chianese on guitar, bass, and vocals; and Ben Neill on vocals, guitar, keyboards, and vocals. small.

to New York

By 1983, Yallech, Chianese and Neill had moved to New York City. Both Yallech and Chianese attended the Manhattan School of Music. After Yallech completed his master’s degree at the Manhattan School of Music in 1986, he worked on “A Chorus Line,” “42nd Street,” “Sophisticated Ladies,” and “Chicago.” It was also during this time that Yallech and Neill began to travel long distances to Europe, performing in Holland, Germany and Italy.

“In the late ’80s, I was working on Fiddler on the Roof in Beverly, Massachusetts. At this moment I got a call asking if I would be interested in joining the acclaimed London Post-punk/new wave show, fan Phantom Fur. This call didn’t come out of the blue. Peggy Millard, a friend and resident of the Cedars Lounge gang, moved to New York in July 1984. Since I was out on Long Island, she moved into my sublet on Claremont Avenue Eventually, she met and married Tim Butler, bassist from The Psychedelic Furs. Tim and I became good friends and would paint around town whenever possible, usually to be any hit in town The band’s drinking buddies and club goers,” Yaleh said.

This moment was a new world for Alek. He has been a fan of The Psychedelic Furs’ previous albums. In fact, Yallech says The Psychedelic Furs’ influence can be heard on the B-Minors song “17 Believers.” Yallech ended up playing drums on The Psychedelic Furs’ seventh studio album, World Outside, which was released on Columbia Records in July 1991. The album was produced by British record producer Stephen Street, who produced The Smiths, The Cranberries and Blur.

Yallech toured with The Psychedelic Furs in support of the album, which included performances in many cities in the US and Western Europe. He said some of his favourite moments included playing at a seaside music festival in Barcelona, ​​Spain, which was attended by around 100,000 people.

“I remember being on the ‘World Outside’ tour in Athens, Georgia and spending an evening with REM’s Peter Buck at shows and bar parties. After the tour, our tour manager Phil MacDonald ( Phil McDonald bought us tickets from Paul McGuinness for the U2 Zoo TV tour at Brendan Byrne Arena in March 1992. Often tours together, so It was a pleasure meeting them after the show in what I call the green room,” Yallech said.

“Fast forward to 2018, Ben Neill and I were asked to recover material from the 1992 album ITSOFOMO at the Whitney Museum of Art in New York. The museum is planning a retrospective of David Wojnarowicz’s work. We haven’t done it in 20 years This piece is out. We got together in June to rebuild/rehearse and then later in October we performed at the Whitney. Wojnarowicz’s vocals were taken from the original 1991 recording,” Yallech said .

Yallech moved back to Youngstown in 2004. He now teaches private music lessons at the Struthers’ home. He mainly teaches percussion studies.

To recommend Saturday’s profile, contact Feature Editor Burton Cole at or Metro Editor Marly Reichert at

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