I grew up in a small suburb of Cleveland, Ohio in a house that was under the heavy influence of 50's, 60's and 70's, soul, funk, blues, and rock music. My dad, Abe LaMarca (Scottie Bro's Records, Santa Fe and The Fat City Horns, Rastus, Michael Grimm), whether he'd like to admit it or not, was responsible for this influence. At a very young age, he introduced me to bands and solo artists such as Tower Of Power, The Isley Brothers, Wilson Picket, James Brown, and Stevie Wonder. Although I love all of those bands and artists, my dad's personal ability as a singer and performer was, and still is, without a doubt my biggest influence. For this reason, selecting him to co-produce our latest EP, “For The Love Of The Game” with me, was a no-brainer. The combination of his old-school vibe with my catchy pop hooks resulted in a product that I've dreamed of creating ever since I was a young kid.
I formed Walk Off Hits as a pop-punk band during my junior year of high school with my buddies Jon Streator(drums), and Will Bauer(bass). The three of us played shows together and recorded a couple of singles, but after Jon committed to the University Of Nevada, Reno on a drum scholarship, Will and I decided to go in a different direction. The hunt for a new drummer was difficult, but we finally found our perfect fit in Spencer Sasarita during January of 2011. Our newly formed trio was energetic, talented, and dedicated. We played shows across the Vegas Valley, and slowly but surely started stretching out into California, where we were invited to play at Cerro Coso Community College in Spring 2011. Our travels inspired us to tour, so that's exactly what we did during that same summer. With nothing but a box of t-shirts and a van filled to the brim with equipment, we started our journey in Nevada and played gigs in Dallas, Norman, Nashville, Cleveland, Chicago, and Vegas. Each show was unique in it's own way, and we had an awesome time playing for our newly made fans.
When we got back to Vegas, a lot changed. Spencer had to go back to school in Arizona, and we all had different responsibilities that we had to take care of. For me though, Walk Off Hits was always the most important thing on my mind. So, without actually verbally calling it a hiatus, the band was without a doubt "split-up".
During Fall of 2011, following our tour, I began my second semester as a music education major at UNLV. During finals week, I was rehearsing for my Jazz Guitar jury, and to distract myself, as usual, began to jam on some of my original tunes. I thought I was the only person in the practice room area at the time, so I was singing pretty loud when I heard a knock at my door. I thought it was one of my professors coming to tell me to be quiet, but when I opened the door, it was a student that I had never seen before. "...My name is C.J., you sound amazing, did you write that song?" Haha, it was something along those lines. So I invited him into the room and we shared some of our songs. He would sing one, then I would sing one. Although slightly different in style, I knew that C.J. would be a great person to work with right from the start. When I asked him what other instruments he played, he warned me not to get freaked out, and continued to tell me that he plays a grand total of 11 instruments. I thought he was full of it at the time, but after a number of jams, he proved to me that he was telling the truth that day in December. So once again, without really confirming anything, Cedric was the newest member of Walk Off Hits.
With this change, I decided that it was time to dig deep and tap into my roots. I saw it as an opportunity to mature as an artist and as a band as a whole. I started writing tunes with the help of C.J. that were raw, and old-school, while still maintaining the catchy pop melodies that I always had a knack for coming up with. It came down to being respected: I want all age groups to be able to listen to Walk Off Hits now in 2013, and 40 years from now, all while maintaining my sense of self.
When we finished the writing process, we demoed all of the songs in our studio with the help of local Engineer Rion Rodgers. After about 3 weeks straight of recording, we ended up with a total of 13 tunes. As soon as they were finished, I brought them home to show my dad. Despite usually being tough on me and honest with how he likes the tracks, he showed some interest in what we were doing for the first time. We talked it over and decided it was time to lay a few of the songs down in a professional studio.
During the summer of 2012, I put it upon myself to move back to Cleveland and spark some interest in the project. My dad's long time friend, Pete Tokar(The O'Jays, Jerald Levert, Michael Stanley), was the first person I showed the tracks to. He ended up really digging the songs and offered to record and mix the album at his studio in Cleveland. With the help of Billy Sullivan(The Raspberries, Hermans Hermits), Edwin “Tony” Nicholas(The Backstreet Boys, Patti Labelle, Barry White), and my long time friend Chris Bukovec, we ended up finishing the EP in December of 2012.
Our debut album, “For The Love Of The Game”, is set to release world-wide on iTunes and many other online distributors in February 2013. The physical album will release the first week of March and will be available online, and at all of our shows. I want to thank all of my beautiful family, friends, and fans for all of the support they have given me throughout the years. Without you guys none of this would be possible. --Ross