Everyone needs a hero, and one cranky but passionate punk band from Cleveland, Ohio has embraced the name of one of its hometown's underground icons as its own.
The five members of Harvey Pekar named their group after the Cleveland-based writer best known for creating the indie comic book American Splendor, and his often combative appearances on David Letterman's talk show. Featuring vocalist Nick Kratsas, guitarists Elliott Frank and Tyler Sickels, bassist Nick Schmitt, and Nate Kelly on drums, Harvey Pekar came together when Frank's group Heads Held High broke up, and he and his longtime friend Kratsas noted that while they were both musicians, they'd never done a band together. They decided to form a project where Kratsas could write lyrics and sing while Frank could focus on his guitar work, and over the space of a year, Eddy Marflak, Nick Schmitt, and Nate Kelly came aboard and the band began playing out and recording demos, with Kratsas picking the name. In December 2011, Harvey Pekar released a five-song EP, Thirty Ghosts, and their first full-length album, Upward, Not Northward, appeared in July 2013 via Ohio indie/punk label Escapist Records. By the time the group began work on its second album in 2015, Eddy Marflak had left the group, and Tyler Sickels became Harvey Pekar's new guitarist. ~ Mark Deming, Rovi