Stillwater News Press

May 26, 2012

Stilly Studio: New label, same Red Dirt sound for Sullins and Last Call Coalition

By Chase Rheam
Stillwater NewsPress

STILLWATER, Okla. — A little more than a month separates fans of Chad Sullins and the Last Call Coalition from the group’s newest album, “Incommunicado”, which will be released July 10.

Band members include Chad Sullins, Josh Rutz, Jerry Stanley and Jeremy Clark.

When asked what excites them about the new album, Sullins and Rutz replied “everything.”

“Hyping it up, we’ve got a label behind us now and everything is coming together really well and it’s really exciting,” Rutz said.

Sullins said that over the past few years, fans have said they liked the group’s first record “Uphill Battle”, but that it was worth going to see them live. He loves that, he said.

“I’d rather have somebody say that every day,” Sullins said. “But with this (album), I think it really encompasses what we can do onstage and it’s been put on a record.”

“Uphill Battle” was released in 2009. Sullins began the record by himself, without an official band. It was recorded in Stillwater. When the Last Call Coalition was formed, the recording process had been a year in the making and had been halted by a lack of money. The group pooled together the money to finish the record.

“If you listen to that first record, there’s like five songs that are really produced songs with studio players and there’s four or five songs that are just us getting in there and saying, ‘Let’s knock this thing out,’” Sullins said.

He said he wishes he could go back and record the album again with the knowledge he has acquired since. After “Uphill Battle”, Sullins released an acoustic EP titled “What’s Left of Me.”

For Sullins, the writing process is not standard. He said it’s not structured.

“Some of my favorite stuff has just come from about 30 minutes and I got it and it’s usually based on something that’s happened to me in my life at that point in time,” Sullins said.

Rutz and Sullins have different stories about how music entered their life. Sullins lived in Yukon when he began writing. A friend of his had introduced him to Red Dirt music and artists like Cross Canadian Ragweed and Jason Boland. He fell in love with it, he said.

“I grew up listening to country music because of my parents, but I always thought that Red Dirt music was kind of like the bastard child of country music, so I was drawn to it,” Sullins said.

His parents gave him his first guitar when he was 16.

“And, of course, just to piss them off, I learned every punk song I could get my hands on because they wanted me to play country music and I just couldn’t get into it,” Sullins said.

Okeene native Rutz said he grew up with music playing in his house all the time.

“I was a drummer at first and I love drums, but guitar playing got all the attention,” Rutz said.

He knew fellow musician Jerry Payne from No Justice and that helped him get into Red Dirt music.

“It kind of changed my whole outlook on how music is because they were singing about stuff I grew up to and then from there it just took off,” Rutz said.

Now, Sullins and the Last Call Coalition are hitting the stage to support their upcoming release. Sullins said performing live invokes only one word — energy.

“I want people moving around and bouncing around and jumping around,” Sullins said. “And I’m not going to tell them that they have to get rowdy unless we’re getting rowdy right back and we do. We’ve gone onstage, fully energized, rested up for the week and ready to go onstage and by the time we come off, we’re sweating bullets and we can barely stand up.”

Rutz agreed, saying they believe if you come to a show, you should get one.

The group has many goals. They have achieved some, but are still working on others.

For example, Sullins said he would like to see the group do a Live at Billy Bob’s album at some point.

“I don’t want to be the next Garth Brooks and make a trillion dollars,” Sullins said. “I just want to make a decent living and get down the road and play music for people. If it comes down to the point where I get lucky enough to make a million dollars and I’m on a tour bus and we’re getting down the road for 300 shows a year, I got no problem with that.”

But until that day comes, he said he will continue to write music and play shows for the rest of his life.

“Just get out and support live music is all I can tell you and give a band a shot if you’ve never heard them before because everybodys got to start somewhere,” Sullins said.