May 062009
Authors: kelly bleck

For most bands landing on a name can be a decisive choice, and methods span from flipping through the phonebook to choosing a favorite book.

But for five local talents, the name came as easy as discussing a move across the street to the “other side of Clearview.”

Other Side of Clearview is a band of characters: the father figure, the eccentric dancer, the artistic heart-throb, the happy slappin’ bassist and the guy who takes stuff too far.

Matt Luizza, Corey Smith, Matt Simms and Evan Shelton live in the Fort Collins area, while Manuel Pacheco usually makes the trip up from Greeley.

But distance can’t keep the up-and-coming local band apart, as they try to keep music the main focus in their lives.

Now stamping through the music scene in both Fort Collins and Denver, the band proudly claimed Scene Magazine’s Battle of the Bands title in 2007 and second place in Herman’s Best New Band in Denver in 2008.

The band will release their debut album, “Sweet Release,” at their album release party May 15 at Hodi’s Half Note with special guests Vices I Admire, Improv and members of 20XIII.

The formation of a band

Each of the five band members grew up in Colorado Springs. Their connections can be traced back to high school and middle school, and two met as early as kindergarten. But some didn’t meet until college.

Luizza and Simms connected first in Edwards Hall their freshman year at CSU, meeting through a mutual friend. The two immediately began gracing the stairwells with acoustic tunes throughout the night.

“The RA would come shuffling out in her slippers and say, ‘Guys, you’re good, but please stop,'” Luizza said. “There were really good acoustics in the stairway, but apparently it went through the entire dorm.”

Realizing their compatibility, the two generated a commercial jingle.

“I think it was for an investment company?” Luizza said with uncertainty. “But that made us realize we needed to do a band again.”

And so the two began creating music for approximately six years before the creation of Other Side, which flourished with the recruitment of mutual friends in 2007.

“We were picky about who we brought in,” Luizza said. “We don’t want this to be a hobby band. We want to take this as far as we can.”Simms brought in bassist Shelton, followed by keyboardist Smith and later, after replacing another drummer, Pacheco.

“We’re completely different people; there’s never a dull moment,” Luizza said.

Shelton echoed a sarcastic sentiment, saying, “We’re like a boy band.”

Each member listens to a different genre of music, creating a unique blend that Smith classified as modern alternative classic rock.

“We write our parts and Matt (Luizza) writes the lyrics,” Shelton said. “We make some tasty grooves man.”

They like to bring the energy

Proudly flaunting their newly founded group, Other Side graced the alley of Chipper’s Lanes for the first time in 2007 where they blew the sound system out.

“We had to go a capella for about five minutes as they figured it out,” Luizza said. “We had about 35 to 40 minutes of material only. People were bowling around us, and Evan and Corey had never played a live show, ever.”

From that point on, however, Other Side has moved up to play the American Motocross Association’s Nationals at Thunder Valley Motocross Park in Lakewood, a NASA convention and many local venues.

“We try to get in front of diverse crowds, and they’ve been really receptive,” Luizza said.

Summer Alameel, the group’s manager, emphasized seeing Other Side live.

“I think everyone should see their live shows before they judge. You listen to a CD and you go to the live show, and what you see is nothing close. But these boys are spot on.”

When Pacheco joined, he said was unprepared for the energy Other Side emits at shows.

“I used to do rock stuff in high school. But, in January 2008 I played the first show after three practices. I was so shocked after that performance; it was completely different than what (rock) is in the springs.”

Simms laughed, replying, “Apparently we’re reserved during practice.”

Manny recounted the Road 34 performance, saying, “After the first tap, four guys just jumped up and kept jumping. I could feel the stage wanted to bust. Simms disappeared for a second until I saw him walking across the bar station. I was like, ‘What is going on?'”

A hazy future

“We don’t really have a clear view of where we’re going,” Luizza said.

The band hopes to make a career out of playing their music, something that will at least pay the bills and keep them from day jobs.

“I mean, a limousine and 50 mill. could help,” said Pacheco.

When it comes down to it, however, Other Side is focused on the music.

“It comes down to money because it is a business. But, we can just be making it and able to do it. We love playing more than anything else,” Smith said.

Pacheco said money sometimes corrupts bands.

“You see bands and artists constantly having to reinvent themselves. Others can do it with ease, but you can’t let money get between what you’re doing and what you enjoy.”

After playing with prominent local artists like Tickle Me Pink, members of the String Cheese Incident and Rosehill Drive, the band hopes to broaden their horizons.

“We want to play with bigger bands, get exposed to other crowds,” Alameel said. “We already have a big crowd, but we want to get theirs interested.”

With the release of a debut album, and recording the follow-up this summer, Other Side hopes to pin down a tour next summer and possibly some festivals.

“This summer is pretty limited, but we hope to eventually do two to three-day weekend warrior tours in California or New Mexico,” Luizza said. “We want to start getting exposure out of the state.”

The band is discussing doing a university tour in the fall while adding in mountain town tours in places like Steamboat and Vail.

“If I could play music everyday and get paid I’d never be happier,” Shelton said.

Staff writer Kelly Bleck can be reached at

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