Drummer Dave Rosset, Tunesmith Tim Whitler and
JC Apking have been
jamming weekly since late 2011. In 2013, they released an experimental full length CD, "Foundation".
Following this rapturous experience, they continued wildly writing and
exploring musically. Around 4 additional albums of material has been
recorded and mixed thus far At some point, JC intends to organize and
start releasing these songs a singles on a steady and relentless basis.
In fact, the first batch of these has already been released as singles,
gathered under the full album working title of "Within
Check out the
Sentient Cement Website for more current details and massive amounts of
stuff to listen to.
JC Solo / The JC & Timmy Show
If you're curious what songs JC is messing
with these days, check out his rehearsal page.
On a musical side note, there was a reunion show with Shannara in October 2011.
Here's a page with some pics taken
JC Apking has traveled the globe engaging in a
wide variety of occupations and trouble-making, eventually landing
in Denver, Colorado. Here is the musical portion of his story.
Growing up mostly in Cincinnati, Ohio he was heavily
influenced by dueling musical genre's. Classical orchestral music was his
initial musical backbone as a piano student and trombone player. These
influences were juxtaposed with classic rock elements as he became a singer/keyboard player.
in various local Cincinnati bands. Later on, the focus shifted to bass
and most recently to the acoustic guitar.
As a classically trained trombone player, he played
with Cincinnati Youth Symphony Orchestra for
a number of years, including the musical highlight of playing 2 joint concerts with the CSO
"I'll never forget when the 1st trombonist leaned over during
Scheherazade at Music Hall where I had been taking my Granny to enjoy CSO
concerts periodically for years, and said - I'll let you get that double high B flat," says JC
At the same time, 60's-70's
rock and 80's new Alternative was finally percolating into the midwest and making a significant impression
upon him. After playing with a garage
band called Moral Minority (Eric
Falstrom, Mike Cassidy,
Danny Nachtrab) and an attic band called Sage
Ferrara, Doug Atkins,
Ashley Shepherd) through high school, JC met
Kevin Fox who was
already an established solo acoustic player. Shortly thereafter, Shannara
Shannara was a rock cover band that also produced
some original music. The first album was
This & That. JC
played keyboard for Shannara (with
King Fox) and sang backup and occasional lead.
Shannara frequently worked at the recording workshop in Chilocothe, Ohio, and played
any and all venues relentlessly, from Blues Brothers-esque dives to the
shores of Cincinnati's massive Riverfest celebration.
After a few years of this, JC (now going by "Johnny
Crowe") started a new project as the bass player with
Jim Farmer in a band called Mystery Wagon. The group focused
primarily on developing the loudest and angstiest underground sounds around.
They were firmly rooted in a punk/indy/goth genre and although the word
hadn't been coined until a year later, what they were a part of was the
birth of grunge. While they never released any albums, they built up
quite a following and a stellar core set of hard core pre-grunge whilst
playing in the seediest places available around Cincinnati's Clifton
Next up, JC released the solo
set - Sun Needle and around this time
also did some symphonic and other keyboard related
Eclectric experimentation. He also joined the original formation of the
Cincinnati alternative cover band Forehead with Mike Seta, Dallas Reed, and
the lovely Ryan Hebb. Initially JC fronted the band for the
first time as a lead singer until Chris Harris joined. After a
couple years JC shuffled out of the legendarily malleable Forehead lineup.
What came next was a more
focused, rebirth of Mystery Wagon with JC attempting to use his fledgeling
audio engineering skills recording a new brand of highly energetic angst
music on a TASCAM 4-Track whilst once again
focusing on playing Bass. In the new lineup, Kirk Hunter played lead
guitar, and John Earls replaced Jim on drums. They managed to put
together a set of recordings that was never formally released called
Shortly after the
completion of the Mystery Wagon debut, JC decided the time had come to grow
up a bit and move on, so he shocked his fans and friends by leaving the
seedy underside of Cincinnati underground bars and bands and joined the US Navy.
During his service, he served first as a deck seaman and progressed up to
being as a Quartermaster - which is someone focused on navigation in the
Navy, ye landlubber
In the Navy, he still had a musical twist to add
to things, first by heading up the boot camp marching band division
culminating in the playing a trombone solo for the nefarious
Admiral Boorda at the graduation ceremony a year or so before the guy
killed himself. As far as we know, the latter wasn't necessarily the
result of the former.
After boot camp, JC found
time to work up some tunes with fellow sailors. The informal Normandy
band played the classics (including a crash introduction to some real
country music with some of the guys) on the fantail of the guided
missile cruiser USS Normandy during steel beaches at sea in the
Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf. JC took the opportunity presented
during their deployments to spend much of his R&R playing
in port side venues and public squares around Italy, Greece, Spain, and Israel.
After two deployments in the Navy, JC returned to Cincinnati. For a brief time he played with fledgling country band
Reckless alongside former Shannara drummer
King Fox, but then he shifted
focus to work
in the "tech sector" for the next decade or so - almost (but not quite)
ceasing to make music altogether.
The Grendelcat Lair
website was created during this time. It used to be a sprawling
website with the notorious daily internet publication "The Grendelcat
Humorous Nuggets" as the main feature. During this musical sabbatical,
he moved to Dallas, Texas, and then worked the better part of a year in New
York City in 2001. Notably, his final visit to NYC took place just
weeks before 9/11. JC was on the phone with one of his NY buddies
watching the aftermath from across the bay as it unfolded.
With the NY project finished, during the year
before the tech bubble burst, JC snatched
an opportunity to move to Denver, Colorado where he finally set down some
These days JC writes and records new music with
Sentient Cement. He also has been
steadily working up a library of
acoustic covers and sometimes plays at local venues to keep his toe
dangling in the musical performance waters. He also is focused
on encouraging the musical endeavors of his son Val, who has been
demonstrating a whole lot of beginner talent as a trumpet and piano player.
JC's not really sure what comes next, if anything. But it's a fair bet
that whatever it is, there will be some form of tunage generation involved.