Call Me Friend is Having a Party (and Releasing a New, Full-Length Album)
Parkersburg, WV’s Stoner Punk Rockers, known as the band Call Me Friend, have their very first full-length album (called Room for Error) coming out this Saturday. They’re having a party for it, inviting some of their favorite bands to play alongside them, and celebrating all night at Sixpence Pub. I had a chance to sit down with the whole band (Bryce Pearson-vocals and guitar, Zach Roberts-bass and vocals, and Addam Ewing-drums) at Taco Bell last week, to talk about their music, their lives, and how they make it all work together. And as much as I love Taco Bell, I loved our conversation, more.
So let’s start at the beginning:
Hold the Note: Where did your (band) name come from?
Addam: It was a bunch of things that Bryce had written on a piece of paper.
Bryce: I was sitting at work one day, and I basically had a bunch of music from another band that didn’t work out. So I told Addam “Hey, I wanna try and make this stuff work”. And Addam said he wanted to play drums. Addam and I have done stuff together for years. …I was sitting at work one day, thinking of band names. I just wrote down words that came to mind on a scrap piece of paper. And I just started drawing lines to them. What were some of the other ones?
I think Orange Julius was one of them. Call Me Friend was an option.
Addam: We just matched a bunch of words together until one sounded good. But it’s a catchy name, though, It’s easy to remember.
Bryce: There’s actually been some confusion about whether it’s “Call Me Friend” or “Call Me, Friend”…one guy actually thought it was “Kamikaze Friend” one time.
Zach: I wish we’d actually called ourselves Kamikaze Friend, now.
HTN: So speaking of different band names, do you see a possible reunion of Dino Friend (where Call Me Friend and Dino Drive combined to perform sweet musical magic)?
Zach: It’s a secret.
Bryce: …Dino Friend will never die.
HTN: Okay, thank you.
Zach: It’s like a hero in the night. You get it when you least expect it.
Bryce: We want to do a lot more with Dino Drive because, they are like our best friends in the scene. And they’re on the album. All of them are on the album, aside from Kyle, (because he recently left Dino Drive).
…They (Dino Drive) played a new song at their last show, and it’s their best song, yet.
Addam: I like that they’re really finding their sound, now, like that niche pocket. They sound like a grungy Metallica, with better drums.
Bryce: I would say Melvins meets Alice in Chains.
Bryce: But legitimately, I love all those dudes. Being able to work with them on stuff like Dino Friend, and having them scream into a microphone on the album, it’s just great that we have people like that in the scene that we can work with.
HTN: Are there other artists outside of Dino Drive that played a part in the album?
Bryce: Wes Meadows, the guy that recorded us, did a part in it.
Addam: Flowerpot Records.
Bryce: Yeah, he did some vocal stuff, and he also did some other stuff. It’s actually on the title track, Room for Error.
Addam: He influenced some of the extra bits on the songs.
Zach: A lot of what Austin (from Dino Drive) was doing with keys on the album, Wes was pointing him toward what to do, and it turned out great.
Bryce: Austin is on almost every song on the album. He’s going to play the release show with us. Out of any band in the scene, if I could go and see Rise Against in Columbus, right now, for free, or go see Dino Drive down the street for five bucks, I’d go see Dino Drive. I’m really looking forward to more recordings from Dino Drive (and everyone agrees).
HTN: I love that we’ve talked about Dino Drive as much as we’ve talked about your music.
Bryce: Yeah, let’s talk about Room for Error.
HTN: So you‘ve released a single before, and you have a new single out, now. And you’ve been playing music (as a band) for a couple of years, out and about. How many songs will be on the album?
HTN: Does that cover your general set list?
Addam: We have, like, 11 songs, I think. There are 11 songs that we still play. We’ve dropped like, 4 or 5.
Bryce: We dropped a few songs when we lost Sam (their former second guitar player), because they were so different without him, and trying to rework them was a bit more hassle (than it was worth). The only one we kept, that he played a significant part in, was Skeletons, which was the single we released before. But we held onto it, and made it work. I mean, it was the newest song we had, and the only recorded song we had at the time.
Addam: And as we grew, we kind of got away from those old songs, too. The songs we have now, I think fit more with what we want to do.
HTN: So what do you want to do?
HTN: I always ask this: Imagine someone is coming to your show for the first time, they’ve never heard your music, they’ve never seen you play live, what do you hope they’ll tell their friends about you after a show?
Bryce: I like the idea of people describing us as “delightfully odd”. I like to think we’re different from other bands in the area-not in a bad way against any other bands. It’s just we want to have variety.
Bryce: We draw too many influences from soo many different genres. My two favorite bands are Queens of the Stone Age and The Pixies.
Addam: I like Mastadon and Cake. And we got “Pop Punk” over here (points to Zach).
Zach: I listen to all kinds of stuff. I grew up with mostly a metal background. I’ve been changing a lot, recently.
Zach: Lately it’s been a lot of Hip hop.
Bryce: Which honestly kinda shows in the way he (Zach) writes and plays.
Zach: That, and I learned traditionally through Jazz, too. So I still got that feel for Swing, that Jazz style of writing.
Addam: It kind of shows in some of our songs.
Bryce: Especially the newer ones like Pickles, honestly. Zach you wrote everything on Pickles…
HTN: And that’s your most recent single, right?
Bryce: Yeah, yeah. So you can tell there’s a lot of influence from all different areas. I learned how to play guitar from just basic Blues. So there’s a lot of deconstructed Blues riffs that you can pick out. I think Pickles is one where you can really pick that out on.
Addam: I’ve tried to think of where my drum influence comes from, but I can’t tell ya. I’d like for there to be one, so I could answer that question.
Zach: Bands aren’t as subjected to fit into any one sound, anymore. Even within Metal, with Punk, even the difference between Hip hop and R & B…there’s Trap, Trance…you can send people in the right direction by telling them a “foundation sound”, but you still have to hear it to really know what it is.…
Bryce: We’ve been called a lot of things over the years. I still think one of my favorites is “Psychadelic Grunge”. That was courtesy of Chris Reinbold. It’s hard to nail it down. I always go to Stoner Rock, because that can cover so much.
Zach: I love all of the artists collaborating right now. One of my favorite bands, Issues, had a country artist on one of their songs, recently. I didn’t even know they were a country artist until I saw an interview with them later on.
HTN: So in that vein, tomorrow is Valentine’s Day (even though this will publish after that)…if you could collaborate with any artist, who would you choose?
Bryce: The first artist that comes to mind in any shape or form is Go Go Buffalo, for me. Not only are they incredible dudes, and are playing the (album release) show with us. But if I had to pick a band that, they’re my favorite band I played with, it’s them.
Addam: They’re incredibly talented.
Bryce: And Jeremy is the saint of the Cincinnati Music scene. He’s just awesome.
Zach: That’s a tough decision for me. I like a lot of the local bands. I think that eventually doing something with Cassius (at Best) would be fun. As far as the music industry goes, I think it would be cool to work with Post Malone. Because he’s such a weird and wild guy. I feel like he’s got that same mentality we have about a lot of things.
Addam: I think if I could have the most fun with any collab, any artist, it would be Red Fang. It’s just that they do things along the lines of making suits of armor out of beer cans, and fought these kids that were LARPing… (for a music video). They made things like “Beer Zombies”…
Bryce: I would love to collaborate with Wes Gilbert, the guitar player from Smizmar. I miss Golden Bear…
HTN: Last weekend (at Undercurrent Winter Festival), we dedicated a break between bands to Call Me Friend. Did you, in fact, make new friends at Undercurrent?
HTN: Did you?! Yay!
Bryce: Wilson Raps blew me away, so I wanted to talk to him afterwards.
Zach: Actually, one of our friends asked if we’d collab with Wilson Raps, and I’d be totally down. I’m kinda dabbling in production and making things like that. If anything it’s a stepping stone.
Bryce: I’d work with Wilson in a heartbeat.
Addam: Maybe we can get him in on Salami Tsunami
Addam: Yeah, Zach and I, and our friend Jake had this idea for a comedy rap group called Salami Tsunami, and we wrote a song that is mostly recorded and it’s called “Dick on the Moon”. It’s about having a giant lazer, and drawing a dick on the moon. There were other ideas. “Hot Dog Water” was one. It’s almost done. Paul from Sealed for Phreshness came in on that one.
Zach: He threw a pretty hot line on that one.
Addam: Orbeez Foot Bath was another one…
HTN: So what do you want people to know about your album, besides it has 9 songs…
Bryce: One thing I realized that I thoroughly enjoyed about that album is, there are nine songs…and there’s three eras of Call Me Friend, with three songs, each. There’s three brand new ones: Pickles, Shindig and Room for Error, and not many people have heard them, yet. Shindig and Room for Error have only been played (live) once, and even then, they were different (than in the recording).
HTN: Are you playing the whole album on Saturday (at the release party)?
Addam: Ohh yeah, Plus, some other ones.
Bryce: Yeah, we’re playing all the songs we have at the release show. But then there are three songs we wrote that gave us the idea to do this album, and then three songs that have stayed with us since the beginning. Being able to look at it like, ”This really encompasses what we’ve done over the last three years”…(it’s cool).
Addam: They’re all good songs that we still like to play, and they’re all different and show how we’ve figured out how we want to sound.
Bryce: It’s easy to watch us grow through those songs, I think.
HTN: So your album is available…
Bryce: It’ll drop the day of the show. We’re doing our best to have it on all the sites. We’ll have it on our Bandcamp, Spotify, Google Play, Apple Music...
Addam: And we’re gonna have physical CDs made up. (for 10$ at the show)
HTN: And Shirts?
Bryce: Shirts, and hopefully we’ll have some stickers…If I have one dream as a musician, I hope that one day I will walk into a bathroom in some gas station in Akron, and then there’s just a sticker from my band on the toilet.
HTN: So speaking of merch...
I’ll gladly wait til the 24th (at the album release show), but if you have any fatherly advice, I’ll take it, now. Is that something-do I need to bring you a question? Is that how that works?
Bryce: Is Jake doing merch, again?
HTN: Does Jake do the advice?
Bryce: Yes. Yeah.
Addam: He’ll probably just tell you to not shit in his toilet, honestly. He says things like that. One time, he told me one day to invest in a glass stomach. And when I asked him why, he said it was “So you could see your head planted up your ass”. Stuff like that.
Zach: We could write a whole book on Jake-isms…
HTN: That would be a nice t-shirt, really.
Bryce: Actually I have a collection of words I hope to put into a song one day, that’s just a bunch of things Jake has said.
Addam: The mayor of Ravenswood tried to buy one of our shirts with a check, and Jake turned it down, and told him he’d have to give that check to a friend, and bring him the cash. And that’s exactly what the Mayor of Ravenswood did.
HTN: That is the best story.
Bryce: It was a fundraiser for a friend who had died-a friend of the guys from Atomic Peasant.
And actually, if I could give one shout out to a band in the area, it would be Atomic Peasant.
Addam: Yeah, if there’s one band people need to listen to, it’s Atomic Peasant.
Zach: That’s another one of my favorites, too.
Bryce: That’s what I love about the scene around here. It’s less about the heirarchy, of who’s at the top, and it’s more about collective growth. It’s the only way for the scene to grow.
Addam: I just love punk rock, and that is what those dudes are. They are Punk as fuck.
Bryce: They’re like, old school Dropkick Murphys** and I love it.
Zach: Plus, their drummer is great. All of them are incredibly talented. I was even saying to Jude the other day that people in the “Punk Demographic” are usually labelled as rotten kids, and always getting into trouble. They’re the most accepting group in the industry…
Addam: To be punk rock, is to be accepting.
HTN: I think that’s why I’m (at least partially) drawn to the punk scene. It’s so comfortable to be a part of.
Bryce: And it’s getting more and more comfortable, every day. And I love it. There’s more and more bands popping up out of the woodwork, and seeing bands in the area that are getting involved with us, down here. I knew Roy Bush from being in Athens…and other bands I’ve seen in the area who’ve changed things up, like Crown Vic…just seeing stuff from them on Facebook, about how they gotten from here to there. It’s also really cool to be a part of something like this.
Zach: There’s a lot of positive growth, not a lot of squabbling like there used to be.
Bryce: The big thing is, there are people who are wanting to improve on what we have, already. And if they keep doing that, we’re just gonna get better and better. It’s like Ryan (Stair) told me the other day, “No one goes to a show and wants that band to do badly”. Because you’re not entertained if they’re bad, and no one benefits from it.
Addam: I’ll play a show with anybody. It doesn’t matter. I don’t care. I’ll play weird shows. I was in a hardcore band and we toured with Deek. We toured with a rapper. And not just any rapper, but Deek.
HTN: Speaking of shows, did you know the Dils is open to having shows in the basement…
Addam: Yes! That would be great.
Bryce: Another place I’ve been meaning to check out, that’s new, is The Hideout.
If we have more places to have shows, that gives us more reason to get out, write music and get involved. And honestly, if we don’t have these places to go out and share our music and our product that we bring out, how are we gong to thrive? We need that variety of different venues to work with.
Bryce: I’m glad there are more people who aren’t musicians out there who want to be involved in the scene. You, for instance. Miranda Brace has done SO much for the scene. She bought a PA, just to run shows. And now she’s talking about house shows…
Addam: I would love to have a good house venue around here. I love house shows.
Bryce: Did you ever get to see the Moose Box in Athens? Small space, lot of punk dudes. It was intense.
Addam: When they moved it up to the living room from the basement, it became more intense.
Bryce: But I loved the layout, though. Just those people in the area that try to make a difference. Yeah.
Zach: You see a lot of people at shows that are way into music, but don’t play in bands, and they’re popping up more and more. You don’t have to play an instrument to really, really like music.
Bryce: We wrote a thank you on the album…this album was made for friends. It has a lot of our friends involved. And it’s nice to actually have a finished product that we can say “We did this”. I’ve been involved in three projects now, and this is the first time we’ve finished a project.
HTN: I think you feel like what you have right now is working pretty well. Compared to some of the struggles you’ve had in the past, why do you think this is working?
Addam: Probably because we were friends before we even started playing music together.
Zach: We all have a similar process in the way we take care of things, and it’s not hard for us to get to the point. And when it comes down to us needing to make a decision, we make a decision.
It all boils down to good chemistry.
Bryce: We all have a similar outlook on a lot of things, and life in general. We’re three dudes in our early-to-mid 20s.
And I’ll be honest-all of the instruments we play? They are not our primary instruments. I was mostly a drummer before this. Guitar player (points at Addam), drummer (points at Zach).
Zach: I think another things that helps us to work really well together is, we all have an idea of what each other’s position is. We’ve all been in the other musician’s spot(s) before. So when we’re going for a translation (in music), we can make suggestions, and it’s easier to translate because we know where the other person is.
Bryce: And it’s also cool because we’ve grown with each other in these instruments. This is the first time I’ve legitimately played guitar in a band. And we’ve escalated to the point where people come up and ask us “How do you do this?”.
HTN: It goes outside of music though. There’s business decisions you need to make at whatever level you want to be “business-y”…
Addam: Oh I let them handle that.
Bryce: But whenever it comes to the visual stuff, that’s him (points to Zach), though.
Zach: He’s the business side (points at Bryce) who takes care of things like making sure the money goes where it needs to go.
Bryce: Yeah, I’m the accountant.
Zach: And I do all of the graphic design stuff, like the logos…and Addam’s pretty.
Addam: And I play drums. Basically, they come to me with all of the ideas, and ask me if they’re okay. And I give them a thumbs up.
Bryce: It also helps that we all have a goofy sense of humor. If you’ve seen our show flyer…
Addam: Yeah, Homer Simpson Godzilla, breathing fire down on Parkersburg.
Bryce: And I’m a huge Simpsons fan, but that wasn’t even my idea, that was Zach’s.
HTN: So can people buy your merch anywhere, besides at shows?
Zach: Not yet. But if someone wants one, they can just message the main page. I don’t think we have anything posted on the page, itself, about prices. Oh, but the prices are posted on the photos of the whiteboards.
HTN: Or they can just come out to a show.
Addam: Yeah, it’s not like we don’t play shows.
Bryce: This album release show is our baby, though. If there was one show we wanted people to come out for, it would be this one. There’s a reason why we booked the bands on that show that we did. Not just because they’re good people, and we enjoy their music, but we want them to be a part of that day with us. We want people to come out and see these bands. I genuinely want people to come out and see CityCop. and Go Go Buffalo. And of course, Dino Drive and Torture Store.
That’s another thing about the music scene-it’s bringing different audiences, different people, together. And you might make a new friend at a show, really.
Show tip from Bryce: "Bring a change of pants for in between every band, because I hope that every band makes you defecate, right then and there, as soon as they start. And don’t come out for just one band. Come out for every band that you can. Because I want people to get their money’s worth. And you’re paying 1$ a band."
Addam: The show’s gonna start out, balls-out, and it’s gonna be that way til the very end. It’s gonna be wild. It’s gonna be entertaining. And it’s gonna go til midnight.
Bryce: Getting to do this with some of my favorite people, people that we call friends, and some of my favorite front men of all time.
Zach: And a great amount of support.
Come out and support Call Me Friend, along with The Torture Store, Dino Drive, Go Go Buffalo, and CityCop, for the release of Room for Error at Sixpence Pub in Parkersburg. Music starts hard and heavy at 8pm.