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The Calling

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The Calling are a powerful LA band that draws on its decadent Southern California roots to make their music defiantly upbeat and unsettlingly intimate. Fueled by the songwriting of guitarist Aaron Kamin and lead singer Alex Band, The Calling turns in one of the year's most auspicious debuts with Camino Palmero, their RCA Records premiere album. Produced by Marc Tanner, with eight tracks mixed by the legendary Chris Lord-Alge, the new album serves up an astringent view of love and loss, rejection and redemption.

"Too many people get lost writing just for themselves," says Aaron Kamin of his and Band's m.o. "It's a big world, and as writers, we're onlookers, describing what we see and feel."

Through it all, The Calling draws on its big guns: Aaron Kamin's skillful, atmospheric guitar work and Alex Band's remarkable vocals. "I actually think he's a genius," says Kamin of his partner. "His sincerity goes deep. You really believe him when he sings." The mutual admiration runs both ways. "Aaron is amazing too. He often takes the lead in our writing; and his guitar playing is great."

The kinetic energy between the two didn't develop overnight. Both Alex and Aaron were raised in and around LA's San Fernando Valley. The pair met several years ago when Aaron, who is a few years older, began dating Alex's sister. Once Aaron spotted Alex's guitar around the house, he grew curious. "I asked his sister if he was any good, and she said yes. When she told me he was 15, I said, 'Oh please.' But once I heard him sing, I realized I'd never heard anyone like him. The age difference became a non-issue."

Over the months, the two began playing together as often as possible. Recalls Alex, "My sister finally said to Aaron, 'Do you want to play music with my brother or do you want to date me?' Well, we're still playing together." Their adolescent energy and persistence paid off. An RCA A&R staffer discovered the two, and offered first encouragement, then an actual development deal. The ensuing years gave the two time to form a working band, which they did, performing all across the SoCal music scene. "Our first band was called Generation Gap," recalls Alex. "We found members out of the Recycler. Our first drummer was 58, and the bass player was 40, which we thought was cool."

Eventually, the senior citizens departed as A&A rededicated themselves to the basics. "We locked ourselves away and wrote about 100 songs," says Alex. Adds Aaron, "We knew that the only way to gain respect was to write our way into everyone's hearts and minds." All that focused energy paid off with a sterling line-up of songs, including the tracks on the new album, and even more explosive live performances. Says Aaron, "It was cool to go into a place and have everyone say 'Who the hell are these guys?' then watch the music blow them away."

With Camino Palmero good to go, The Calling is set to repeat that favorite pastime over a much wider area. They've already gotten one early break appearing in a memorable scene from the hit film "Coyote Ugly," performing live the song "Wherever You Will Go." Together with band mates Sean Woolstenhulme, Billy Mohler, and Nate Wood, Alex and Aaron are now gearing up for their first major national assault. Yet no matter how frenetic the pace of the coming months, there remains a core of quiet self-assurance among the band members. "We never stop writing," says Alex. "The people that work with us understand that things come fast and furious from us. This is the real deal."

Once music fans sample The Calling's RCA Records debut album, they'll know just how real. With songs this finely wrought, and performances this honest and impressive, there's no doubt that soon many will answer the call.

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