Thriving Ivory heads for the big-time 

Clayton Stroope, vocalist of the Bay Area-based Thriving Ivory, isn’t worried about the death of the rock star.

"Why would you ever want to be drunk, playing sloppily, looking like you don’t care?" says Stroope, 25, whose band celebrates its first major release, a self-titled CD, Friday at the Great American Music Hall.

Best known for the Live 105 hit "Angels on the Moon," the group is ready for its close-up: "For the last couple of years, we’ve been in limbo, but in the last couple of months, it’s become what we’ve always wanted it to become," he says on the phone from Pleasanton, referring to the great treatment the band’s been getting from its label, Wind-up Records.

Thriving Ivory, which aspires to reach the level of Coldplay or U2, was born several years ago at UC Santa Barbara, where songwriter Scott Jason, whose parents exposed him to show tunes, met Stroope, who was brought up on classic rock.

The pair then teamed with guitarist Drew Cribley, bassist Bret Cohune and drummer Paul Niedermier. They played parties at college, but didn’t take the music seriously until they came back to the Bay Area, home to most of the group’s members.

"It kind of became real to us," says Stroope, who "was supposed to be a sociologist," while his band mates studied psychology.

Working day jobs — everything from waiting tables to telemarketing — the guys, after borrowing money from their folks, made a recording in Cribley’s parents’ basement. It came to the attention of Live 105, KFOG and Wind-up, also home to Creed and Evanescence.

"It was about 90 percent there," says Stroope, except the tune "Hey Lady," which has a beefed-up sound featuring the New York Philharmonic on the new release. That song, and a new tune "Alien," were produced by Howard Benson, who worked with Daughtry, of "American Idol" fame.

Stroope, whose big vocals could be "Idol"-worthy, doesn’t watch the show, and thinks it portrays an unrealistic view of making it overnight in the music business.

Yet he admits he did investigate auditioning, and promptly stopped when faced with, he says, "a four-page pre-contract where you have to sign over your likeness to Fox, or whatever it is."

lkatz@examiner.com

IF YOU GO

Thriving Ivory

Where: Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell St., San Francisco

When: 9 p.m. April 18 

Tickets: $13 to $15

Contact: (415) 885-0750 or www.gamh.com

About The Author

Leslie Katz

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