Pop-punk has seen many evolutions over its time and is still growing today. With the incorporation of breakdowns and down-tuned guitars being part of the latest craze, the genre has seen many different spin-offs. However, at its core, it still remains trademark in sound.
Enthusiastic, youthful and boastful, the genre remains a popular staple. This month’s Aussie Spotlight feature centres on Brisbane locals, Call the Shots.
While 2011’s ‘Crank Up the Happy‘ saw the northern upstarts break into the world with their catchy and hook infused punk driven tracks, it wasn’t until 2013 the band captured the attention of local listeners.
“2013 was an amazing year for us,” guitarist Dion Cerreto says.
“We smashed out four tours in the last six months of the year, which was awesome. We even did our own headline tour and two with our mates Masketta Fall. We were rapt with that but then we got out on Warped Tour and we released our second EP ‘When Everything Goes Wrong’.”
With the Australian Warped Tour still a recent memory, lead singer Josh Setterfield‘s tells us how the band ticked off a personal and collective goal.
“It’s been a dream of mine since I first wanted to be in a band. To play alongside bands like New Found Glory and Simple Plan, bands that inspired me was amazing,” the vocalist says in reflection.
“To get to sit side of stage and watch those bands and The Offspring play every night was out of this world.”
While many of these young bands dream about playing big stages, one thing they forget is that a big stage can quickly look even bigger when you have no one to fill the space below it. Essentially, it can be a sobering experience.
Groups still need to be supported and backed strongly at these festivals by fans just as much as they would need to be at a local gig they play in their hometown; otherwise the experience can turn sour when only five people taking a pit-break show up to your set.
Thankfully, it’s a concept that was far removed from the Call The Shots experience.
The band has amassed a strong following over their early years as a group. Ranging all the way from an adolescent audience to ardent punk fans who will jump at the words “circle pit”, the young outfit proved they deserved their last minute addition to the aforementioned festival bill.
“I guess it’s really humbling I suppose,” Cerreto says on the band’s fan base. “Like, we even have people who tattoo our lyrics or logo onto their bodies and every time we see it just feels insane!”
“I can’t really explain it to be honest. I’m just very thankful for all the people who support our band,” Setterfield adds. “It’s really awesome when people want to meet you because they like what you do and you inspire the, because I was just like that as a kid.”
This month, the band released a new music video for their track ‘So Worth It’ from their second EP ‘When Everything Goes Wrong‘; and it’s not exactly pop-punk, with porn stars, thongs and all featuring within.
“We put a lot of time and effort into the video clip. We spent a lot of money in getting things like girls and porn stars and everything else. Really over the top I guess and stupid even though where the kind of band not to do that stuff. We just wanted it to be a lot of fun and like 80’s metal kind of vibe. Mind you we’re throwing five dollars notes instead of fifties and just being dicks like we are,” Setterfield laughs.
The band embarks on an acoustic mini-tour in the coming weeks. Aiming to do it in a way that branches them out and delves into something a little different, the outfit still aims to do another tour later in the year.
“Yeah we’re really excited about the acoustic tour. We just wanted to do something a little different as we’ve done a lot of main tours last year. But we’ll smash another full tour out by the end if the years when some new stuff comes outs,” says Setterfield.
Local bands are seen very often holding down either part-time or full-time work to sustain themselves. Gathered, it isn’t always just local bands, however, it’s still a balancing act for the members. Cerreto gives us insight on how he handles his work, band and social life (or lack-thereof).
“You don’t really have a social life. You just do band stuff,” the musician laughs. “You have to put that first. We’re all lucky in the way our bosses understand [about] the scheduling and stuff we need to do. Like when we got on Warped Tour they really realised it wasn’t just a weekend thing for them. You just have to be honest to your work and hope they understand you’re in a band.”
Cerreto also explains the story behind the band name, which has more interesting anecdote than other similar title creations.
“We were playing this crappy show in an equally crappy bar to like five people a few years back.”
“We finish our set and we load all our gear into the car to take back home. But first we thought we’d go grab a drink, except for Josh who was on driving duty. As we walk in, we look across the bar and I shit you not, there is Jimmy Barnes from Cold Chisel! He just sitting there, nursing a beer and so I warm up with a couple beers before I go speak to him. The guys were all nervous as shit but I walked up and for some reason, we just got to talking. He asked if we were in a band and he said he’d check us out, which I had to contain my excitement for”
“The guys all come over and before you know it, we all get a bit tipsy. He was such a nice guy and invited us to this club he loves in The Valley. So we of course went with him. Left our gear back there and walked all the way to this club. Inside it was packed as all hell! In our booth we had, Jimmy kept chugging down shots like no tomorrow! I felt impressionable so I did to and before you know it, I could hardly even see straight. All I remember of that night was because Jimmy’s voice was getting hoarse from all the alcohol and singing we were doing at the club, he kept telling Mitch, our bass player to “call the shots” so we could get some more.”
“Next thing I was aware of after an hour at the club was waking up in the alleyway outside a KFC and walking home with the biggest hangover of my life. And next band practise they were all talking about it and with my splitting headache I just shouted “call the shots” in part agony and in part nostalgia and we thought it was an awesome name for the band! And we never saw Jimmy again and we’re pretty sure he never checked us out.”
The story is apt. It’s what Call the Shots are all about. Good music and even better times.