Library director moonlights as rock reveler
We all have day jobs, usually in a profession for which we were educated or trained. But most of us also have second lives, doing things we really enjoy and have a passion for. Such is the case for members of a local band, all of whom hail from Westlake, that rock out on the weekends around town. These Westlakers have careers as diverse as teacher, business executive and library director.
I stopped by Felix & Oscar’s Pub recently to check out this local band, The Screaming Armadillos (more about that name later), and to hear what their playlist included.
Expectations weren’t that high because these musicians are only weekenders and because we all have friends – of varying talents – that are in a band. But to my surprise, they were very talented instrumentalists with tight vocal harmonies and played a wide-ranging repertoire of songs by artists including REM, Queen, the Rolling Stones and Johnny Cash.
This is a family-friendly group as evidenced by the many kids in the audience, so lots of local friends and family come out to hear them play. But they do know how to play their tunes, and there is nothing like good, solid-rocking music.
Readers of the Observer may be most familiar with band member Andrew Mangels. As the director of Westlake Porter Public Library, he is often in the public eye promoting the library and serving as president of Connecting for Kids and member of the of the West Shore Chamber of Commerce education committee. Andrew plays lead guitar, a tad bit of bass and lends some vocals.
Brent Henry is the lead singer, rhythm guitarist and dynamic harmonic player. Brent is an elementary school special-education teacher in Lakewood. He also runs a rock 'n' roll club for future rock stars at his school.
Dev Riley plays bass and guitar and provides backing vocals. Dev is the president of OMG Borchers, a global chemicals company with an office in Westlake.
Dave Miller beats the drums and sings backup in the band. He works for Progressive Insurance.
Original members Richard Hong on drums and Rob Arndt on bass still sit in with the band from time to time.
As for the origin of the band’s name, here is an explanation from Andrew Mangels: “Way back in 1990 after driving straight through from Kansas City to New Orleans, a very tired driver inadvertently ran over an armadillo that was trying to cross the road. Instead of hunkering down and surviving, the creature jumped up into the air, let out a scream and then went straight to the great hereafter. It was most certainly not an intentional act and ever since, the band name Screaming Armadillos has served as an homage to the slain animal and hopefully a cautionary tale to other armadillos crossing the road.”
The Armadillos have been together for six years and play three or four times per year. Their next show will be Friday, July 1, 8:30 p.m., at Time Warp Bar in Westlake.