So you’re expecting another ho-hum New Year’s Eve. As usual, right? There’s always so much pressure to have big fun on the last night of the year that even if you have a good time, you still feel depressed the next day for not having had the time of your life. Don’t worry. I’ve been on this planet for more than 40 years and have been celebrating New Year’s Eves for nearly as long, and I’ve never had a blast. A lot of fun? Yeah, but a whale of a time? Never. And I probably never will in the traditional sense –– I hate crowds almost as much as I hate waiting more than 30 seconds for a beer.
My tastes also have become refined over time and in the worst ways possible. I don’t want to go to some acquaintance’s house and play drinking games with people I barely know, and probably wouldn’t even like if I really knew them, until three hours past my bedtime. I also don’t want to go to some public square and stand alongside hundreds of strangers, all of us painfully sober, waiting for some massive, glittering orb to drop. I just want to be with my family and get tucked in at the usual, pre-midnight hour, and then, two or three days later, I want go to a gritty, sparsely populated music venue and, fueled by regret and shame for continuing to break promises, I want to destroy my body slowly with alcohol and cigarettes while listening to Caliche Burnout.
If there’s one band that’s made for wallowing in the bad times, it’s this one. The brainchild of Fort Worth guitarist Cory Wells and drummer/vocalist Scott Feille, Caliche Burnout serves up greasy, loud, propulsive, twangy rock ’n’ roll that’s full of more angst-ridden desperation than Charles Bukowski’s liver. The band is sort of an extension of Blood Uncle, Wells and Feille’s former cover outfit specializing in dirty rock (Thin Lizzy, Faces, ZZ Top). Songwriter Feille, Wells said, “had plenty of good originals he’d recorded, so we decided to start working those up” last winter. The goal was to create “straight-ahead rock ’n’ roll that not many people seem to do anymore,” Wells said. “I guess it’s not fashionable right now, although people really respond when we end our set with [AC/DC’s] ‘Riff Raff.’ ”
Rounded out by bassist and co-songwriter Chuck Rose, who played with Feille in the legendary local punk outfit The Gideons, and rhythm guitarist Linc Campbell, Caliche Burnout played its first show in February. Before Rose and Campbell came on board, Wells and Feille recorded a four-song demo at Feille’s home studio in the summer with original rhythm guitarist Rick Sharp (Vorvon).
Every track, though understandably rough, is a gem. The strongest has to be “Out Here in Eternity,” a raucous explosion of crunchy guitar fury lousy with cowbell during the chorus. “Now I’ll tell you why I never found the nerve!” Feille growls, his countrified voice hoarse and airy, his right hand banging the hell out of that bell while his left mitt batters the snare, to which Wells responds with some hot lixxx. “To pay back every trespass you deserve!” More ringing string bends. “I’m not the judge, I’m not the jury!” And then Wells does a little Chuck Berry impersonation before the music drops out, leaving just the speedy thump of Feille’s kick drum and his voice: “Out here in Eternity, man / There ain’t no hurry!” Pause. “No!” And then Wells rips off a scorching solo. Supersuckers, eat your booze-soaked hearts out.
The youngest guy in Caliche Burnout is in his 30s, the oldest in his 50s. The band’s plan, naturally, is modest. “We’d like to draw a decent crowd in Fort Worth once or twice a month and hopefully get on some of the local festivals and other annual events,” Wells said. “We all have jobs and kids and things like that, so an occasional trip to Dallas or Austin is probably the extent of our rock ’n’ roll dreams.”
In addition to the band’s next show, Friday at Lola’s Saloon (2736 W. 6th St., 817-877-0666) with Vinyl, The Mammal Virus, and Morningside Drive, Wells and company plan to do more recording. Cover to the show is $10. The regret and shame are free.
Contact HearSay at firstname.lastname@example.org.