Cian Liaskos, a Cleveland State University student and bassist for bands like False Teeth, Whiffler and Who Saved Who, now sprawling the floor of the stage finishes out another night of performing. It’s easy for a bass player to fall to the wayside, but Liaskos’ presence is felt and heard by audiences across Ohio. From venues like house shows, climbing gyms, the Grog Shop and Mahalls, Liaskos is diving headfirst into the local music scene at just 20-years-old.
Liaskos performs as a bassist, but like most musicians has proficiency in quite a few. He’s been creating music for seven years. Beginning at eight-years-old, Liaskos musical interest began in drum class. “There’s instruments I can play and there’s instruments I can play well” says Liaskos “I play bass, but otherwise keyboard, guitar, drums, I could survive as all of them. But I definitely am a bass player.”
Being a part of three different bands, managing rehearsals, and keeping up with CSU’s music program is no easy feat. Liaskos is studying music performance, and is involved in the program’s jazz groups. When asked how does he manage, Liaskos remarks, “The day that I’m not doing this, I’ll look back and wonder how I did it.”
His involvement in each band varies. He describes his role in writing, recording, marketing and booking for both Whiffler and Who Saved Who. As for False Teeth he credits lead vocalist Joey Anthem as the driving force for the band’s success.
Preparation for a show is no easy feat. From garnering audiences via social media marketing to rehearsing, countless hours are poured into each performance. “We try to rehearse at least every day when we have a show that week,” Liaskos says.
Passion is a necessity in the music business, and the money can often be sporadic depending upon the venue’s policies according to Liaskos. “There are gigs where we took home four grand at the end of the night and some just $20,” said Liaskos “It depends on the venue though, when we played in New Jersey the show is free so they just gave us $50 from the bar and we spent it all on Taco bell…” Additional expenses such as gas, hotels and merchandise must be factored in as well. Who Saved Who and False teeth are both registered as Limited Liability Companies (LLC). Benefits of doing so are liability protection and pass-through taxation. Meaning that revenue from each band goes into the account to pay for band-related expenses and the band is collectively taxed rather than individuals.
Liaskos is inspired by a number of bassists, and even has playlists to get in the headspace for each band and match their respective energy. He credits Jesse Broer of the band Prom and Christian McBride who has played for names like Freddy Hubbard, Las Angeles Philharmonic and Christian McBride Big Band as his biggest influences.
As a performer, Liaskos is active and engaged with his bandmates on stage. When asked what advice he would give himself at his very first performance, he wishes he moved more on stage. “Now I take my bass and rub it on the keyboard or juggle it, at first I was just standing in the corner.” As he gained confidence on stage, he became comfortable letting loose on stage for the audience’s interest. “It’s about 40% the music, 60% the show because people won’t remember every note you played, but they will definitely not forget how you act and could play,” siad Liaskos.
Aside from his passion and study of music, Liaskos unwinds by playing video games and card games. He pulls out a deck of cards labeled “Gubs” and describes his favorite card game. “It’s this whimsical game, you have to capture all of these guys and have the most Gubs at the end of the night” Liaskos said “It’s nice to just turn your brain off.”
Liaskos intends to stay involved in the Cleveland music scene, and urges students to support the artists and get out there. “There’s alot of great bands coming out of CSU” said Liaskos, “And the music faculty here is incredible, like Bill Ransom who’s touring Europe right now and Chris Vance where he has like six shows every weekend.” As a student it’s great to have mentors involved in the industry, and Liaskos is sharing the stage with them.
Liaskos upcoming performances: