Local Band Spotlight: The Cliff Notes offer local spin on jam band classics
What do you get when you combine a classically trained vocalist, the brother of a professional drummer and a crew of chain of musical friends from Red Cliff? The Cliff Notes, of course.
A five-piece cover band, The Cliff Notes is made up of lead vocalist Mallory Parks, Amelia Neat and Trevor Lanpher on the guitar, Paul Kline playing bass and David “DK” Ketterer on the drums—all of them having lived in Red Cliff.
The band, which formed in early 2017, came together in a unique fashion; it was a chain reaction after various members had played gigs around town with one another in different combinations before deciding to link up as a group.
They began by playing open mic nights at Mango’s Mountain Grill in Red Cliff, which quickly turned into booking shows there, as well as other places around town.
The Cliff Notes really kicked it into gear after DK’s stint in rehab.
“It really changed the formation of the band,” Parks said. “It went from a hobby band to something much more focused.”
The band gained success pretty quickly, booking gigs all over the valley, but they noted that the popularity of their band came about like a “wild vortex.”
Despite their success, they’re still a garage band at heart, practicing two or three times a week in Neat’s garage.
They play mostly covers—including songs by The Rolling Stones, Melissa Etheridge, Guns N Roses and more, but they stay as open minded as possible.
“We try not to get in any groove,” said Kline. “We don’t want to stick to one genre to keep the audience happy and so we don’t pigeonhole ourselves into anything. We want to keep learning new music, too.”
Additionally, Parks noted that they’re “never opposed to bringing new stuff to the table” because they’re fond of learning together. The currently tout a repertoire of 42 songs, and it’s only going to grow.
Even though they’re busy with gigs, they have big plans for the future.
“I’m looking forward to taking a breather from gigs,” Neat said. “I want to work on some original stuff.”
Being natives of the valley, many of them residents of Red Cliff (a community of about 270 people), The Cliff Notes are very fond of playing in the valley.
“It’s an honor, really,” Parks said. The others echoed her sentiments.
“I think a lot of people in the valley are pretty similar,” Lanpher said. “We like the same places and the same music, so it’s really fun.”
Aside from playing at Mango’s, The Cliff Notes have played some pretty significant gigs—charity benefits, Primalfest and private parties for the likes of the ski patrol among them.
Their Septemberfest performance became well-known around the festival after their last few songs were performed in the dark after technical difficulties, but they soldiered on.
While their music is meaningful, it’s clear that they’re friendship, desire to learn and dedication are their strongest qualities, which may just be why they’re quickly becoming a hot band to host around the valley.
Clips of their performances can be found on their facebook page.