By day, city employees Paul Solanics and Matt Walker are hard at work at the Water Reclamation and Information Technology departments, but by night, they wear very different hats.
Weekend nights the two can be found on stage, cranking out the hits of the Beatles, Bad Company, Neil Young and more as part of the Not Guilty Band, which began about seven years ago.
Mr. Solanics, a 1980 graduate of Solon High School, plays guitar, a passion he has held since the age of 16. Not Guilty is not his first band, the Newbury resident said.
Mr. Walker, a senior network analyst who has worked in Solon for 12 years and is also a Solon native, took up the bass guitar only in recent years, he said
“It looked like fun so I taught myself,” he said.
Both Mr. Solanics, who serves as director of the Water Reclamation Plant since 2005, and Mr.Walker enjoy playing for audiences and ensuring they have a good time during their weekend gigs.
“I just enjoy music,” said Mr. Solanics, a 37-year employee of Solon. “I enjoy the sense of accomplishment from the band and all of us making a song sound good.”
Mr. Solanics, 56, also enjoys when the crowd gives positive feedback after a show or dances to their favorite hit.
Not Guilty is known for classic rock sounds of the 1970s and 1980s.
“I get relaxation out of my involvement,” added Mr. Walker, 61 and a 1976 graduate of Solon High School. “And I want the audience to have a good time.”
The two, who met during participation in a car club, play shows as part of the band two to three weekends a month. They perform at restaurant bars throughout Geauga County, Greater Cleveland and Akron.
Also part of Not Guilty is Andrea Rogers, who is a Solon native. Lead guitar Nelson Perz is the band’s founding member. During the summer, the band rehearses every two weeks.
Along with the Propts, which includes another IT employee Dawn Olsen, Not Guilty will perform at next month’s Home Days from 4-6 p.m. Saturday, July 27. Mr. Solanics has performed at Home Days in the past, and enjoys seeing old friends from Solon.
“It’s fun because a lot of people are there from your community and know who you are,” he said. “A lot come up and talk to you.”
Mr. Solanics’ favorite venue to play is at Iggy’s in Lakewood, which is a “good old fashioned dive bar.”
Mr. Walker prefers the Time Out in Windham where there is a small stage and great interaction with the crowd.
“We go all over the place,” Mr. Solanics said. Last weekend, they performed at the 322 Tavern in Chardon.
“For us, it’s not about the money,” Mr. Walker said. “It’s about having fun, making good music and making people smile.”
“We are the weekend warriors,” Mr. Solanics added with a laugh. “We just like having fun and playing music.”