12 has been gaining lots of attention thanks to radio play and
an exciting live act. The band will headline the House of Blues
on Friday. (Photo by Megan Johnson)
12 moving to the front of the stage
By Zachary Dzurick
Published April 26, 2006
members of Cactus 12 are young, but don’t mistake that youthful
appearance for inexperience. The band, now in its fifth year, has
evolved from the teen pop/punk scene to a sound of their own crafting.
Formed while still high schoolers, singer/guitarist Sam Getz, bassist
Phil Palumbo, a Westlake resident, and drummer Mike Gould, a Fairview
resident, have stayed together because of their mutual music respect.
That trust in each other has allowed the band to move forward musically.
“Our music changed into what we like,” Palumbo said.
“We were part of that pop/punk scene. Sam has always played the
blues and the rest of us like the Beatles and older stuff. Our music
now reflects what we like.”
“At first we were juvenile and that was the scene,”
Getz agreed. “We have musically matured and now make the music we
want to make.”
Finishing the sound was the addition of keyboardist/rhythm
guitarist Jimmy Weaver two years ago. The band met Jimmy while recording
some songs and he fit right in step with the band.
a while Cactus 12 stepped away at least publicly from their own
music to be the backing band of Bay Village resident Kate Voegele.
The gig allowed the band to tour with John Mellencamp and John Fogerty
and perform in front of countless A & R reps. The experience
sparked a desire for the band itself to move to the next level.
Over the last year, that progress has been marked
with several significant road marks. The latest being this Friday
when the band headlines the main stage at the House of Blues along
with View from Everest, The Hours and Mo Andrews.
“Since it opened, the House of Blues has been a staple
in bringing in the best shows,” Getz said. “For us to play there
it is one of those landmarks. It is another notch in the belt to
be on that stage where they have consistently had so many good acts.”
“We have played the House of Blues twice before, but
now it is our show,” Palumbo said. “It is a new level. It is something
you can tell people as we have now started to tour regionally.”
Over the past year there have been several other signs
that the band is moving up the musical food chain.
It started with the release of their CD “Stay” in
August with a CD release party at the Beachland Ballroom. It continued
with two singles “You” and “Stay” receiving heavy airplay on WBWC
88.3 and having four weeks of being one of the top five most requested
songs. On Sunday, the band was the studio guest on the 92.3 KROK’s
Inner Sanctum radio show. During the interview, the guys learned
that this Saturday, they will perform at the IX Center with three
other bands for an opportunity to open for Fallout Boy. Each step
of the process has inspired the band to do more.
“It is always your hope as a band to make it big,”
Getz said. “I doubt any of us when we started thought we would try
this hard and go even this far. But you get a boost with each success.
From getting a good write-up, having a positive MySpace comment,
hearing your song on the radio, getting a gig at the House of Blues,
you need those little pushes. It keeps you going.”
Both Palumbo and Getz admit to having those cool “rock
star” moments of hearing your song on the radio (including on WMMS),
but for both the true reason for the band is to be on stage.
“Our CD is very professional sounding and we are proud
of it,” Palumbo said. “But our live show is better. Sam is insane
on guitar. Our goal is just to get people in the door to hear us
and then we will wow them. That is out style.”
Getz admits the rest is just a set-up for the live
“Singing and songwriting is not necessarily something
I think I’m that great at,” Getz modestly said. “But they are vehicles
for me to play guitar. I lose focus sometimes and go nuts. Often
I even forget that I am performing and I just start expressing myself.”
That doesn’t mean Getz doesn’t hear the fans.
“It is like you are a second baseman in baseball,”
he said. “You would never just lay out and dive for the ball, but
then the crowd gets your adrenaline going and you do it. It is the
same on stage. You get this feeling from the audience and you lose
The band’s name also speaks to its members desire
to put the music first.
“Cactus 12 has no real meaning,” Palumbo said. “Our
goal was to just pick a name and then let the music do the talking.
The band is hopeful that the high-profile gig at the
House of Blues will allow their music to speak to even more fans.
Count Voegele as one fan who is thrilled the band is moving out
of the shadows and to the forefront of the local music scene.
“I am so happy for the band,” Voegele said. “They
are great guys and they have worked so hard. they truly do deserve
this. They have great music and on stage they are true showmen.
It isn’t a music recital. Anyone who goes to the show is going to
Tickets for the April 28 show are $10 at the door.
For samples of Cactus 12’s music check out www.cactus12.com