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CHS grad set to perform next weekend

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Editor's note: A previous version of this story reported that Ezra will be playing this Saturday. It has since been updated to reflect that Ezra will be playing on Dec. 11.

At 5- or 6-years-old, Scott Schlesinger began his music career performing pretend concerts for his babysitter.

Fast forward to today, his love for music is going strong as the lead singer for the heavy metal band, Ezra. Schlesinger – a Columbus High School graduate – said he discovered his love of metal through the band, KISS. Eventually, he found Mötley Crüe, Ratt, Slayer and Metallica which led him to want to perform.

“I just like the energy,” Schlesinger said of the metal genre. “It’s just full of energy.”

Schlesinger has been performing with that same level of energy for 27 years now. Soon, Columbus residents can see him and his bandmates in person.

Ezra – along with Trillion Ton Beryllium Ships and CPF – will play starting at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 11, at Micek’s Bar, 2506 12th St. The show is free but only available to those 21 and older.

The Lincoln-based band was founded in 1994 by Schlesinger who played some of his earliest gigs in Columbus venues. The high-energy group includes fellow CHS grad Shane Brandt on drums, as well as Andrew Ristow and Rich Johnson on bass and guitar, respectively. Ristow also has ties to Columbus as his family lives in the area.

Considered Nebraska’s longest-running death metal band, Ezra has performed throughout the state and Midwest. The group has shared the stage with well-known metal groups like Pentagram, Gwar, Hanzel und Gretyl, Puddle of Mudd, Cannibal Corpse, Kreator and much more.

When Schlesinger and Ezra began performing, the frontman noted their performances weren’t like anything else seen in town.

“We were doing this really aggressive, straight metal,” Schlesinger said. “We caught a lot of people off guard. It was a big attraction at first and it’s been carried on here.”

Micek’s bartender Joe Zuokoski – who is also responsible for booking the bands – said he wanted to bring in Ezra in part to the members’ roots to Columbus.

“We’ve been looking for new bands and they filled a hole for me so we decided to give them a try,” he said.

Zuokoski added Micek’s has had heavy metal bands before but hasn’t had one in some time.

As for Ezra, the group hasn’t performed in Columbus since playing at Shenanigans – 3808 23rd St. - in 2015, Schlesinger said, adding “we’ve been lost in time and haven’t made it back.”

He also said he enjoys coming back to his roots to perform.

“I never know who I’ll run into from way back when,” Schlesinger said. “I was out hanging up flyers and doing promotions and I ran into some people who I haven’t seen in years and years. So that stuff is really fun.”

Although Ezra has been going on for 20-plus years, Schlesinger said it has to be a consistent process for a band to be successful.

“You’ve got to keep working on your band as much as possible,” he said. “The more you put into it the more you get out of it. It’s hard work. I personally love the work. … It’s a lot of fun to play in a band.”

Andrew Kiser is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach him via email at andrew.kiser@lee.net.

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