Meet the Band
Lead Vocals / Percussion / Guitar - Taurus
Timothy J. Goldrainer began singing at a very early age. Some of his finest childhood memories, he recollects, were entertaining family and neighbors at the local swim club, belting out Elvis tunes over the snack bar microphone.
“I was a skinny little runt, doing Jailhouse Rock and Teddy Bear at the pool… wearing a green Speedo. I couldn’t believe it. Everyone loved it.” He immediately discovered his passion for entertaining. His future was clear.
Tim attended The School for the Creative and Performing Arts at age thirteen in his hometown of Cincinnati, OH, studying voice and several types of dance. It was not long after this he met his best friend and future Menus partner, drummer Brandon Ryan. Their love for music and desire to form a working band bonded them instantly. Tim then attended Oak Hills High School in Cincinnati, winning the Prom King crown as well as the coveted Outstanding Senior Music Award. Graduation soon followed and after a stint in a local pizza parlor, Tim decided to pursue his love full time and entertain professionally. Tim’s unique and immediate chemistry with a live audience was incredible, and The Menus immediately were making a living playing music at young age. Tim’s strong vocal talents were always there, but his crazy stage antics began to appear, augmenting an already superb performance. His crazy, colorful costumes (most of them homemade); women’s swimsuits, brilliant hats, wrestler’s singlets and much, much more all became and remain part of his stage wardrobe. His jumping and high energy dancing are mesmerizing, as the look on the faces of the audience will attest. One of his signature tricks is leaping into the air, kicking balloons strung high above his head causing them to explode, showering the stage in a rainfall of confetti. Always a crowd favorite! Tim is also a gifted skateboarder, which he incorporates in his show, by riding through the crowd on his hands (a trick he perfected in his youth). Tim loves keeping the crowd interacting with the band at all times, and will usually know a great majority of the audience by name at the end of a performance. He also enjoying giving out gifts from stage, the most popular being a button down sweater vest circa the 1970’s. To receive one is an honor and a tradition, and many past recipients can be seen wearing theirs at the current show.
Tim believes that if someone has left a Menus concert without the dancing, laughing, and entertainment of a lifetime, he didn’t succeed in his goals. This rarely happens.
Drummer / Percussion - Virgo
Brandon F. Ryan has always liked to say he wasn’t born with a drumstick in his hand, but “found one in my crib not too long after.” He remembers listening to his father’s old reel to reel tapes growing up, and hearing the drums leap out at him in every song. It was the only instrument he seemed to have ever heard when he listened to music. It was here that his interest greatly developed. After years of pleading with his parents, they finally conceded and allowed drums in the house. First it was a rented snare drum from the local music store, and then an old set of Ludwigs he bought for 150 dollars from his hard earned snow shoveling money. He was thirteen at the time. From here on Brandon glided through his middle and junior high years, even winning the regional spelling bee in sixth grade. His love for drums continued to blossom and he spent most of his free time in his small basement bedroom teaching himself to play, pounding along with his vinyl favorites such as Boston, The Beatles, ELO, and many more. This continued throughout the entirety of his high school years, that and talks of putting a band together with his friend and singer, Tim Goldrainer. Upon his graduation from the famous Cincinnati Elder High School, Brandon started classes at the University of Cincinnati in the following fall. Although an excellent student with academic awards, Brandon still dreamed of being paid to play the drums on a regular basis. A few short months later, he threw caution to the wind, dropped out of UC, and with the help of his father, began to get some paying gigs. The Menus were now official. And they began to work. Hard. At the time of this writing (2001), that was eighteen years ago and Brandon continues to use his drums as his source of income. Looking back, he has witnessed The Menus and him go from young, naïve rookie musicians to the well established and successful organization they are today. He realizes to have survived so long in such a normally shaky and not always reliable profession requires a few things. A little bit of luck, the right people, natural chemistry, the under-estimated ability to survive a crisis, an immobile professional attitude, and sheer, unfaltering determination. He is grateful for all of these. The Menus was, and is, the only band he has ever been with. From hairless armpits to balding scalp. Knock on wood.
The Keyboard Player
Keyboards / Vocals - Aquarius
James G. Orwig grew up in a little town north of Cincinnati called Norwood, OH. Norwood is only a short drive from Corryville. Corryville is where during the earlier days, The Menus performed on a regular basis. Jimi used to drive from Norwood to Corryville on a regular basis. Jimi from Norwood met The Menus in Corryville. Jimi joined The Menus.
Maybe it wasn’t quite that simple, but you get the picture. Jimi did indeed become an official Menu in the summer of 1989. But that was certainly not the first band with whom he has worked. Maybe some of you older folks may remember some of Jimi’s groups from years back. Top 40 groups such as Target, Celebration, a short run with the Blades, and a handful of others, all playing the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky circuit. Jimi is a seasoned veteran, and has the resume to prove it.
“My first grade teacher sat me at a piano for the first time” he recalls, but unsure of the song she tried to teach him. From there Jimi continued his love for the ivory from toddler to adolescent, from adolescent to adult. He graduated from Norwood High School, as a talented keyboard player, but also now discovering his unique singing voice as well. From George Jones to Robert Plant, Jimi could cover them all, Led Zeppelin being one of his favorites. His keyboard passion is not just restricted to playing them, but he’s an avid collector as well. His basement is full of equipment he has acquired over the years, from the old Fender Rhodes to his beautiful Hammond B3. He enjoys the variety of sounds and styles of them all, as well as their history, and spends much of his free time at home “playing with his toys”. He is also diehard NBA fan. And maybe unexpectedly on some warm spring or summer day, you just might see Jimi riding around Edgewood, KY (where he now resides) on another one of his prized possessions. His Harley Sportster. If you do, give him a wave, and he’ll smile right at ya.
The Guitar Player
Lead Guitar / Vocals - Sagittarius
Some people call him Steve Peyote. Some people don’t call him at all. But there is one fact. No one can call him “rookie.” By age the oldest Menu, Stephen A. Chiodi has logged more hours on his fingertips than your average working guitar player. Steve strapped on his six string as a Menu on April 10, 1997 at Ludlows bar in Columbus. But this is really only the tip of the iceberg. When asked about his first professional job, he chuckles a bit and shares, “I was nine and played at a birthday party for the girl next door for twelve bucks and some ice cream. That’s the truth” he swore, laughing louder now. Not too shabby considering Steve strummed his first chord three years earlier, at the tender age of six. From there, he continued to master his craft, practicing all the time. Steve jammed in garages of friends, with guys at school, anywhere to perfect his chops and his sound. After graduating from Purcell High School in Cincinnati and a brief run at the University of Cincinnati, Steve became a full time guitar player. Along with assorted studio work, Steve was a long time member of the Blades (yes, the same one Jimi had a short stint with; they’ve been in two bands together and haven’t killed each other yet!), Babyface, Ice, and was musical director for Jam Factor at the Waterfront on the Ohio River in 1994. Steve also led a group for two years gigging at the Hard Rock Café in Acapulco. Steve has talked guitar and guitar techniques with many famous players, including Neal Schon from Journey.
When asked who his favorite guitar player of all time might be, there is absolutely no hesitation. “Eddie Van Halen” he quips. And for those of you who have witnessed him play, you will immediately recognize the influence. Steve’s ability to have his guitar sound as it needs to sound for any song or situation is also a wonderful addition to his playing talents. Anyone in The Menus would rightfully agree.
The Bass Player
Bass / Vocals - Virgo
Chip Stewart joined The Menus in September of 2019. The band welcomed him eagerly as they soon realized his long and successful history in the local and regional music scene. It begins like this. It was 1999 and Chip played his first professional gig with Suspicious Minds, an Elvis Presley tribute band playing bass and singing back up vocals. This brought him into 2002, where he lent his talents to The Mondays, a side project he enjoyed, covering bands such as Bon Jovi, The Foo Fighters, and the Hollies. January 2008 arrives, and Chip joins Dangerous Jim and the Slims, a popular Cincinnati band where he worked quite steadily for the next two years. During this time, Chip was utilizing and constantly developing his photoshop graphics, website, and social media skills, which would certainly work to his advantage as he would use these tools for a number of bands he would very soon join.
Next up was My Sister Sarah, a successful and long running group out of Cincinnati. Chip would share his musical prowess with them in two different tenures. From 2010 until 2014, and then again in 2018. A man of much drive and passion for music of all genres, he also helped form The Lounge Lizards, a dance party band, and played for a year with the country band Brocephus, performing the likes of Jake Owen and Tim McGraw. In June of 2015, Chip joined another staple of the Cincinnati music scene, Marsha Brady. Here he took on many lead vocal roles, covering a variety of artists including Usher, Def Leppard, Tupac, and Poison. It would suffice to say that Chip Stewart can cover a lot of ground musically. This would be a very important factor, as very soon The Menus would be looking for their next bass player and vocalist. With a resume as impressive as that, their choice seemed clear. After a few quick rehearsals and some serious and impressive cramming on Chip’s part to learn a lot of material, he was quickly hired and became an official Menu. And they could not be happier. They look forward to many years and many gigs with their new friend and band mate, Chip Stewart.
The Stage Manager
Stage Manager - Leo
When asked how he got the nickname "Johnny Love", the youngest player on The Menus' roster can only smirk. " I don't know what you're talking about" he later says, tongue protruding deep in his cheek. Sexual prowess aside, John M. Stanley's contributions to The Menus' operation are irreplaceable. Not only does he run the wonderful light show, but his artistic and creative talents shine through as well. John, a North College Hill High School graduate, has designed and penned numerous Menus' T-shirts, a cartoon spoof a few years back being one of the most popular. He is also the brains behind many stage effects such as smoke, unique lighting patterns, and even bubbles when the time is right.
John wasn't always a member of The Menus. As a matter of fact, becoming one was rather accidental. After their regular soundman left them high and dry in 1997, new soundman Mike Kunz needed help with the setup and transport of The Menus stage show. Calling on his friend John for assistance, a unique bond was formed. John began helping move and set up equipment and since the lighting position was now vacated by Kunz, the eager John Stanley filled in until the band hired someone else. They never did. John's natural ability and willingness to learn earned him his new title quickly. The band couldn't be happier. Unless they could share how he got his nickname.........but they won't.