Album release brightens difficult year for Secret Space

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  • Dean Tartaglia sits at a table inside Black Kite Coffee in Toledo while talking about how much time and effort went into making his alternative glam rock band Secret Space’s newest album AntiHero.

    “We were really patient with this,” he says.

    If You Go:

    What: Secret Space, Silver Age, Romancer, Teamonade, Antighost, Light Horizon

    When: 6:30 p.m. Friday

    Where: Frankies Inner City, 308 Main St.

    Admission: $10 to $12

    In the last year, Secret Space, a three-piece also featuring Steven Warstler and Zach Ruetz, has dealt with a few roadblocks: illness and cutting ties with Equal Vision Records, leaving the band without any representation.

    But on Friday, Secret Space will co-headline its record-release show with Toledo alternative band Silver Age at Frankies Inner City in Toledo. The lineup also includes Romancer, Light Horizon, Antighost, and Teamonade. 

    AntiHero includes seven tracks filled with fuzzy bass tones and synths and was recorded and produced by drummer Steven Warstler at his Master Bedroom studio in the Collingwood Arts Center. The release is a much different musical approach from 2016’s alternative rock album The Window Room. 

    “This album represents directly our strength as a band, because I think a lot of bands wouldn’t have been able to push through what we did in the last year and this is a testament to that,” Ruetz said in a separate phone interview. “What it represents to me is bridging the gap from all of the stuff we did with [Equal Vision Records] and that whole thing going into the future. This record is that bridge.”

    It was while recording the new album when Tartaglia was battling stomach pain.

    During the countless hours working in the studio, Tartaglia struggled with a stomach issue that included inflammation at the front of the organ during the last quarter of 2017. The pain became worse as he sang, causing him to feel nauseous and a burning sensation.

    “I really pushed hard on this record [and] you can tell; vocally I scream more on this record than I ever have and that was actually causing damage to my stomach and actually making me sicker,” Tartaglia says.

    The album is a much darker and louder release than anything in Secret Space’s discography.

    The band released its song “Loner” in August along with a music video recorded entirely on Warstler’s iPhone.

    The video was filmed during the winter in the back of a van while circling a Meijer parking lot, Ruetz said.

    “I was freezing,” Ruetz said with a laugh. “It was super fun to film. I tried to pretend I was some trash glam robber bandit. I’m really happy with how it turned out. I think people liked it. It got their attention at least.”

    Secret Space’s Friday release show also will include a pop-up shop of its new clothing line Trash Glam, which the band launched earlier this week. The approach is to include a catalog of thrift clothes available for fans to dress like the band members.

    Also in a separate interview Warstler said AntiHero showcases that Secret Space didn’t give up when it was left to handle all aspects of the band by itself.

    “This record is the most vulnerable we could possibly be because we did it ourselves, everything,” Warstler said. “I think a lot of bands in our position would have probably just given up. It was important for us to put this out just to show that we're capable of doing it. That’s a big win for us.”

    Contact Geoff Burns at or 419-724-6054.