Chad Ely... Northern Ohio's Best Kept Secret

    ncv2
By: Trenda Jones June 9, 2011 Vol.11-Issue 10


North Coast Voice - Chad Ely Cover
This is the story of a man who has accomplished what many of us could only imagine. He says, he's just been lucky. If you are fortunate to know him, you will soon realize, if you haven't already, that what he posesses is more than just luck, what he posesses is a true gift. Many of you know him, or at least know of him. What you don't know is his story. A story that needs to be told for you, for him, for his angelic wife and beautiful daughter's, and the rest of his family.

Chad Emery Ely was born in Lake East Hospital on June 9, 1970. The proud parents, Annice and Bill, brought their first born home to Madison, Ohio. It was there they raised Chad and his three younger sister's, April, Daisy and Candy. Music was always a part of their lives. Annice was a flamenco guitarist and Bill, played lead guitar. Chad was five years old when he started to play guitar.He says, "It actually started when I was still in the belly. My mamma would lay the guitar on her belly and play for me. My dad has always loved the blues, he later played in the band Pig Iron.

voice-chad-2During the seventies, his Aunt Elaine worked for a company that provided refreshments for the Front Row Theater. When Chad was eight years old, she was able to get tickets for B.B. King & Bobby Blue Bland.As the Ely family sat in the audience, Bland noticed Chad motioning the guitar licks, "playing" along with the two blues legends. Bobby brought the young boy on stage and B.B. King placed his guitar over top of him with the strap still around King's back, and let Chad play. There he was, this 8 year old boy from Madison, Ohio playing Lucille for a sold out crowd, and King could see that Chad "felt it"! Chad said, "I can still feel that moment, it was just magical."

voice-chad-3He began his education in the local public school system and stayed until his I.Q. was tested in the ninth grade. His score was one of the  highest ever in the school system. The school board had to step in to make sure this prodigy had what he needed to continue his education properly. Board President, Bob Gardner hired Dr. Louis Morris, WWII aircraft designer to tutor Chad as he finished high school.Chad graduated with a 4.0 GPA. Chad became a professional musician at the age of 14,later playing lead guitar withMean Idea, The Fortunate Sons, and Petie Wheatstroh. During this time he also taught music at the Fine Arts School in Conneaut. At age 16, he was teaching Computer Technology, Basic Programming Language and Hexidecimal Programming Language at Back to Basics School in Madison. These classes were not offered in colleges at that time.The teaching ended as Petie Wheatstroh took off. Playing a mix of cover songs and originals, the band mainly toured the east coast from Cleveland to Florida, with extensive tours in Florida where they had a notably larger fan base. Their most popular song was co-written by Chad and Hank Hess of the Elm St. Blues Band. The band ended their career together after recording 5 studio albums and 1 live album, Chad, also being a recording engineer, mixed and produced the albums himself. He gave up performing professionally in 2002, but continued with audio engineer, Dale Eden at Dok Rok Records in Euclid. Incidentally, the name Dok Rok had nothing to do with rock-n-roll. Dale was nicknamed Doc Sheet Rock because he was known as the best drywaller in Cleveland. During his time at the studio, Chad personally produced over 300 albums, working for such artists as Collin Dussault, The Emperors of Swing, and his personal favorite, Robert Lockwood Jr.

voice-chad-4Chad became a professional musician at age 14, later playing lead guitar with Mean Idea, The Fortunate Sons, and Petie Wheatstroh. During this time he also taught music at the Fine Arts School in Conneaut. At age 16, he was teaching Computer Technology, Basic Programming Language and Hexidecimal Programming Language at Back to Basics School in Madison. These classes were not offered in colleges at that time. The teaching ended as Petie Wheatstroh took off. Playing a mix of cover songs and originals, the band mainly toured the east coast from Cleveland to Florida, with extensive tours in Florida where they had a notably larger fan base. Their most popular song was co-written by Chad and Hank Hess of the Elm
St. Blues Band. The band ended their career together after recording 5 studio albums and 1 live album, Chad, also being a recording engineer, mixed and produced the albums himself. He gave up performing professionally in 2002, but continued with audio engineer,
Dale Eden at Dok Rok Records in Euclid. Incidentally, the name Dok Rok had nothing to do with rock-n-roll. Dale was nicknamed Doc Sheet Rock because he was known as the best drywaller in Cleveland. During his time at the studio, Chad personally produced over 300 albums, working for such artists as Collin Dussault, The Emperors of Swing, and his personal favorite, Robert Lockwood Jr.

One evening within the music era of his life, Chad, while stopped at a BP station Mentor met Debbie Fuerst. He asked her for a date, and the two enjoyed an evening together the next night at Gatsby's.The very next day he proposed marriage - and she accepted! "It was like the hand of God came down and gave her to me." and he adds, "But I think she got the short end of the stick."

Debbie and Chad married on Oct. 22, 1999. They honeymooned in Florida. The first night, they had dinner in the hotel restaurant as a band played. Much to their surprise, the band began to play one of Chad's songs. As they played "Three Long Day's" Chad approached the stage. The lead vocalist leaned over and said "This ain't no jam man!" but the lead player recognized him, immediatley invited him up and handed him a guitar. "It was just crazy, I thought for sure it was a set-up, Debbie, or one of my friends put 'em up to it, but no. Everyone swears no."

Chad continued in the production business for a few more years. Then tragedy struck the family as his mother fought cancer, then lost her battle in 2002. "Three days after my mamma died, everything changed for me." "Now my mamma was a special lady, and I feel it was her that helped along, I firmly believe she was guiding me."

Three days after she died, his friend Stutz Bearcat invited him to attend a Ralph Nader speach at Bowling Green. They went to hand out leaflets and party a bit. Chad took his video camera for fun, hoping to get footage of some silly college antics. Just before the speech was to begin, someone sabotaged the sound system. The scramble was on to get audio feed to the TV stations .Chad was able to save the day. His camera was the only one with its own microphone. The crew asked for his frequency and they were able to feed Chad's audio to the stations. Democracy Rising then hired Chad as Ralph Nader's personal videographer. He traveled all over with Nader, then in 2003 while doing a video in Washington D.C., word was out that Dennis Kucinich needed someone to fly to Cleveland to tape him, Chad said: "Well, I'm going to Cleveland.", and he got the job. Again with Stutz, they went back to Cleveland - and the same thing happened! The PA system at Cleveland City Hall went out. And again, being the only one with good audio, Chad saves the day! After that, the Kucinich team wanted to hire him. Campaign Manager, Dot Maver appointed him National Director of Media.Chad handeled all media output to networks and affiliates for the 2004 campaign.

voice-chad-5After Dennis Kucinich conceded candidacy to John Kerry, a floor was cleared in Detroit's Cobo Hall for a meeting between Kucinich, Kerry, Ely and Andy Juniewicz, National Communications Director/Sr.Policy Advisory. One of Kucinich's stipulations was that Kerry hire Chad. Then Chad did video for Kerry's campaign until the end. Now, the ball was really rolling forward in politic's, as well as Chad trying to have a ball with the Secret Service with his boisterous personality. However, "Let me tell you, they (Secret Service) have no sense of humor, nor do the pilots!" "These guys are ALL business. said Ely.

Once, while on tour with Kucinich, there was a problem getting media to the networks. One day, while flying over Mexico in a Twin Engine Turbo Prep plane, Chad came up with the idea of sending B-roll to networks and affiliates via FTP (file transfer protocol). This idea set up the launch of Digital Newsreel, to make available editable footage to the networks via FTP. To do sync satellite footage to B-roll was available in 2004 at about $500 per 15 minutes. With Chad's method it could be done for about $50. Distribution by his method was going strong with work from such clients as The NY Mets, WKYC, NBC affiliates, Winterhaven, The Cleveland Auto Show, Link TV and HBO Films when they needed a documentary from England transferred to New York City for editing. Everything was haulted when Dennis Kucinich decided to run again in 2007, and it was back to the campaign trail.

Alright, let's catch up. Chad is now 37 years old. He has played guitar for a sold out crowd with B.B. King, taught music, taught computer technology, was a professional musician, production engineer, videographer, worked on 3 Presidential campaigns, invented Digital Newsreel, and became a husband and father. Wow! Not bad for a kid from Madison Ohio.

voice-chad-6Chad the inventor, assisted the Kucinich camp in 2002 with energy efficient computers. Chad was among the first in the world to build a computer totally submerged in vegetable oil. These computers run on half the electricity, run twice as fast, and are totally silent. He actually came up with the idea a few years prior to building one.

He's filmed Michael Douglas, Melissa Etheridge, B.B.King, Bonnie Rait, Steven Tyler and The Doobie Brothers, Danny Glover, John Glenn, and Janeane Garofalo, just to name a few. Sean Penn cooked a steak dinner for him while in California, and he spent a couple of days at Shirley Mcclaine's place in New Mexico when she was interested in partnership with Digital Newsreel.

He was at the forefront with Willie Nelson with the developement of his bio-fuel company, Bio Willie. Chad did his first video's and website, impressing Willie so much that he asked Chad for HIS autograph, and that moment happens to be on video. After reviewing Chad's Digital Newsreel architecture, CEO of Fox News, Roger Ales told Chad as they stood in his Time Square office, "Someday I'll be working for you!"

Chad says, "I've had a very exciting life, and alot of stories to tell, but my two favorite's are getting the best birthday present ever for my dad, and leaving a legacy for Robert Lockwood Jr."

While on a congressional campaign with Kucinich, Chad met Steve Zarlenga, he wanted to hire Chad to develop his website for The American Monetary Institute. Chad refused because he had just been so busy with other projects and looking forward to being home with his family. After several phone calls from Steve trying to talk him into it and offering him anything he wanted, Chad made him an outrageous offer, thinking it would be an impossible quest.

He told him to get him one of B.B. King's guitars and have him autograph it for his dad. Chad never gave it another thought. Then about a month later, this priceless arch backed Super Lucille with a diamond dust paint job showed up at his door, leaving Chad speachless and now employed by Zarlenga. "I'll never forget when I gave it to my dad, with him being a blues guitarist for decades, and giving him a gift like that, makes everything worth it, the joy it gave me is undescribable."

voice-chad-9Chad worked with Robert Lockwood Jr. for 10 years, on many projects from recording to the web. " Anyone who knew him, knows he did not like" white boys in suits." He was very leary of them, for his whole life. He just did not trust them, and in the beginning, we had are up's and down's too." Ultimately, the two worked very well together. They had a mutual respect for each other, and became dear friends. Robert passed away in November 2006. A few days before he died, his wife Mary brought to Chad all of his unpublished works for safe keeping. In his dying days, giving up the prejudice, the only person he trusted was this "white boy in a suit." Upon his death, Chad contacted Dennis Kucinich, he wanted to get Robert in the Congressional Record of the United States. Dennis worked with his team to build and preserve his story for future generations. They made it happen, and at his funeral, Chad personally presented to Mary Lockwood her husband's legacy in the Congressional Record of the United States of America.

Chad was then busy for a few months mixing and producing Lockwood's unpublished repertoire, with the help of John Walsh of Cleveland. The end result was three albums, mixed and ready to be produced. He handed over to Mary, the only copies in existance. "He was like a grandfather to me. I loved that man so much."

He's worked with world leaders and Hollywood icons and could have lived anywhere in America, but Chad chose to live here. He wanted to come back to his roots.

"I want to raise my daughter's here. These are good people here, it was a great place for me to grow up. What's most important to me, is being home with my wife and my daughter's, Annice and Emma. I love them so much, and it does my heart good to play with them on the beach."

Currently Chad is running his company, Ely Multimedia, still working with the "big wigs" yet giving local folks the same attention. He offers similiar services at affordable prices because he wants to give back to his community. His crew consists of people from around the world, including Great Britain, Manilla, LA, Florida and Philadelphia.

voice-chad-8Chad is the "go to guy" for any project, says Andy Juniewicz. They have worked on political campaigns together as well as web design. "Chad has an acceptionally rare level of versatility; the music, I.T., web and video. He is incredibly hard working. With the campaigns, we'd be working in 3 different time zones, sometimes 5 or 6, I've seen him work all night, with little or no sleep. He has never, ever faultered with not just work, high quality work. Chad is the most amazing professional I've ever worked with. Technically and technologically, he's a genius. Chad is my close personal friend. Beyond that, he is a professional colleage whom I would trust and entrust with anything. There is no one else in this nation that I would rather work with - political, corporate, non-profit, government, etc.- than Chad Ely."

A new adventure on the horizon, literally!:

On June 2, Chad rose above the clouds in a helicopter with its door removed, pushing the limit with video camera in hand. The object was to get aerial footage of area land for sale, and the surrounding area.

"I've done it before in planes, but not a helicopter, that was fun. I'll definetley do it again!"

 

Happy Birthday Chad!