Tonight: Lizzy Borden joins other metal artists at New Castle's CH-Changes


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As a young man in rural North Beaver back in the '70s, Charles Henry and his buddies didn't have a whole lot to do.

Thank God for heavy metal.

"We used to go to the Agora in Youngstown to see Deep Purple and Uriah Heep and all those bands," he said. "I'm a metal head from the day. I grew up with Alice Cooper and Metallica and all these guys. I know them all."

Tonight, you don't have to go to Youngstown as Mr. Henry presents a metal lineup of Lizzy Borden, Zion Cross and Metal Lords at his nightclub, CH-Changes, in New Castle.

For decades, music was Mr. Henry's passion, but it wasn't his livelihood. He was in the catering business, planning and producing more than a thousand weddings from his business on West State Street.

"Then I had an electrical fire and the place burned down in 2007," said Mr. Henry. "I was too young to retire and I couldn't live on the insurance money. And I was way too old for the catering business. You work 120 hours a week, and I wanted to do something that was a little less stressful. My pure laziness made me try to do this."

He erected a new structure on the same site, built for live entertainment. It can hold up to 700 and there are no TVs in the place.

"I wanted to call it 'Changes,' but there's like 10 of them out there, some ridiculous number," he said. "So my initials are CH, and I thought, 'Well, I always loved Bowie's song "Changes," ' so that's what I went with."

The next CH-Challenge was getting bands -- and people -- to come to CH-Changes.

"New Castle, yeah, it's very small," Mr. Henry said. "We like to book local acts on the weekends, on Saturday nights, because they have great local followings. But we get very few people from New Castle for the national acts. Most of the people come from Youngstown, Erie, Cranberry.

"Not so many from Pittsburgh. It's hard to compete with Pittsburgh, but I can compete with smaller shows. My tickets are always gonna be $5 cheaper. My beer prices are $5 cheaper."

Imagine. Lizzy Borden for $20.

You must remember Lizzy Borden.

"They're a theatrical group, like Alice Cooper and Kiss. They dressed with the makeup and all that stuff," Mr. Henry said. "And I think a couple of them are the original guys. I don't think any band is all-original any more."

Well, let's check the band's website.

Apparently, Lizzy Borden was created in 1983 in Hollywood, Calif. "Spitting venom, stage blood and dripping grease paint while breathing life into bizarre characters bred precisely for the stage," it says. Their albums include "Love You to Pieces," "Menace to Society," "Visual Lies" and "Master of Disguise."

The lead vocals, of course, are by founding member Lizzy Borden. He is accompanied by fellow founder Joey Scott on drums. The band has gone through a number of other players, but Marten Andersson on bass and Dario Lorina have been fixtures for several years.

"You have to be a real metal head to know who Lizzy Borden is or who Helstar was or Don Dokken," Mr. Henry said. "Even though Don Dokken sold 20 million albums, nobody remembers him.

"The best bands right now are the ones that bring in the 18-to-25 group. They come out masses. We got to find that niche, too."

So in the weeks ahead, CH-Changes will be host to Rap Fest 2013 and Fem-Fest, featuring a lineup of LA-based female bands.

"I love metal, but I got to make a little bit of money," Mr. Henry said. "So we're doing some different things."

But tonight won't be the last time the metal rings out at CH-Changes. That music means something to Mr. Henry.

"It's like a dream come true," he said. "I was talking to Don Dokken for hours the other night. It's amazing meeting and hearing these stories about people you used to idolize. Even though I don't make any money, it's like a private party for me."

Well, not exactly private. You're welcome to the party at 2003 W. State St. in New Castle. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show starts at 8.

mobilehome - music - neigh_north

If you have a suggestion for something to do some evening, let us know about it and we'll see if we can get some of our friends to join you. Contact Dan Majors at dmajors@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1456. This story originally appeared in The Pittsburgh Press. To log in or subscribe, go to: http://press.post-gazette.com/


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