I’d bet two or maybe even three drink tickets that every musician who’s ever had a “main band” has at least fantasized about doing his or her own project on the side, moreso if said member is not singing lead. Insert your own jokes about disgruntled drummers or under-appreciated bass players, but I like to think that when a member of an existing band finds time to start his or her own thing, it’s because they have song ideas that either don’t get enough attention at their main band’s rehearsals or don’t make sense in the context of the established band’s signature sound, which probably explains why punk and metal frontmen end up doing country projects.
I call those side projects “rec sports bands,” and I think I could easily fill a cover story’s worth of space talking about them. For the sake of both brevity and contemporaneity, I researched only one, Springtime and the Changes, the rec sports band of Teenage Sexx drummer Charlie DeBolt.
DeBolt is a native of Fort Worth who made his foray into the dubiously rewarding world of rock bands with Roar Shack, a post-college garage rock outfit he formed in the Georgetown area with guitarist Dusty Calcote (most recently of Animal Spirit) and bassist Zach Tucker (Dead Vinyl, Panic Volcanic, and a thousand other bands). DeBolt and Calcote moved to Fort Worth a few years ago, in part because Tucker lived up here, but also because they were both inspired by the greater North Texas music scene, especially Fort Worth and Denton.
Unfortunately, Roar Shack kind of fizzled out. DeBolt and Calcote had lived together for a while, and as these things go, being roommates strained their friendship enough to dissolve their musical partnership. While Calcote has kept the project in a state of suspended animation, DeBolt joined Teenage Sexx after the band moved to Dallas from Waco two years ago. “I auditioned and got the set down in a couple hours,” he said. And he’s been playing with them for a year and a half now.
Drumming in Teenage Sexx is DeBolt’s main role, but in high school, he’d taught himself to play guitar. Around the time he joined Teenage Sexx, he had picked up his axe and wrote some songs of his own. By then, he’d moved from Fort Worth to Denton and befriended a couple of other musicians: a metal shredder named Drew Kee, Monk Berries drummer Ray Vaumgaratz, and Fun Buttons bassist Zachariah Walker. Toward the end of 2016, the foursome jammed his songs one afternoon, and about a month later, when Teenage Sexx had to back out of a house show, DeBolt volunteered his songs and that lineup to fill in, which ended up being Springtime and the Changes’ first show. “It was five songs with people I’d played with once,” DeBolt said.
A couple months after that, DeBolt’s girlfriend Erin Devany joined the band to share vocal duties, and in November of last year they recorded an album at Green Audio Productions, the Eastside studio of sound engineer Ben Napier, as a returned favor for helping Napier book a show at The Grotto. “Being true to our no-budget name, we kinda stole four hours of recording time,” DeBolt said. “We had one of his interns, Austin Lyons, mix and master the album.”
Called Deadlights, the seven-song album debuted on Barfwave, the Dallas-based indie label started by Loafers’ Kevin Adkins, Savannah Loftin, and Eric Vaughan Eisenman. DeBolt said he spent all of $100 printing it on CD. The band put it out last week, playing release shows at a house in Denton, MASS in Fort Worth, and Transit Bicycle Company in Dallas. Their next gig is Sat, Mar 10, at Denton’s Backyard on Bell, as part of Fun Buttons’ EP release show. Besides playing with his bassist’s main band, DeBolt will share the marquee with Roar Shack.
“It’s the first time we’ll have played together since I left the band,” he said.
In that regard, DeBolt’s musical journey has come full circle. Of his time spent playing music with Calcote, DeBolt said the two “really vibed together. We could probably write an album in a day. … It was the first time I felt that fire with another songwriter.”
And side projects often beget more side projects, so DeBolt and Calcote could possibly play together again in an entirely different band. After a few beers, I bet they’ll at least talk about it.