|Image courtesy Chris Gooden|
In case you aren't aware, Pittsburgh has a great local music scene. There are so many amazing local bands that play throughout the city at various venues. Through These Walls is one of Pittsburgh's hottest metal bands right now. Not only do they have great stage personas, but you could easily grab a beer with anyone of the four guys and not be bored. They begin recording their first album on November 5, so I thought this would be a great time to snag an interview.
When I first bumped into Brad Travis (guitar) and Ryan Goodworth (bass), we were all in elementary school. Of course I was obsessed with Barbie Jeeps and hair accessories back then (and they were obsessed with setting things on fire). Since then, along with Chris Callen (vocals, guitar) and Jesse Lee (drums), they have formed Through These Walls and turned into some talented guys. Ladies, these guys love women, so if you're interested, do your homework (by reading this exclusive interview) and catch up on what else they love. Visit their Myspace to check out their music & hit up a show. You know you'll be on the South Side anyway. They have one coming up on December 3 at the Smiling Moose (South Side, Carson Street). Check out their Facebook page, become a fan, you have to know the drill by now.
Through These Walls
Chris Callen, 25 (Vocals, Guitar), Day Job: Graphic Designer
Brad Travis, 24 (Guitar), Day Job: Cook
Ryan Goodworth, 24 (Bass), Day Job: Remodeler
Jesse Lee, 22, (Drums), Day Job: Best Buy Supervisor
Where they can be seen playing:
The Smiling Moose
The Vintage Rush: How did Through These Walls start?
Through These Walls: Chris and Brad decided to start jamming one night and realized that we could start up something that Pittsburgh hadn’t heard yet.
TVR: You’ve rocked a lot of drummers and bassists since the band started. Do you feel the band is at its best right now?
TTW: Yes, we finally feel that we have the line-up in place that is what we have been hoping for since the start. Our older music significantly sounds fuller and tighter with Jesse and Ryan in the line-up now.
TVR: What is your favorite beer?
CC: Rolling Rock
BT: New Castle Brown Ale
RG: Troegenator Double Bock
JL: Pabst Blue Ribbon
TVR: Favorite piercing on a girl?
TVR: I've noticed Jager bottles incorporated into your stage set-up, what is the best Jager induced story you have for us while completely trashed?
CC: Back in like 2003, my good friend Buddy had a party around X-mas time, and after a bottle of Jager I decided to attack and demolish the Christmas tree in his apartment, I was so out of control that the only way to subdue me was for Buddy to knock me out over the head with a frying pan.
BT: One evening Ryan decided to throw a small party. Instead of playing beer pong with beer we decided to play with Jager. In my whole “career” of beer pong I’ve never been able to beat Ryan one-on-one. Well since my game was on while he and I were a team I thought I could beat him. I lost and my body couldn’t take anymore Jager. So I passed out in Ryan’s living room. Well I fell face forward into the living room. I woke up the next morning with puke on my left shoulder. Not sure how I was able to puke on my shoulder but it happened.
RG: Its more of a summer than just one story… it was when Brad and I drank 19 bottles in 5 months to start the collection for the light box that you see during our live performance. But if I had to choose one night it’d be when, while hammered, we decided to play Jager pong and the loser had to eat a moth.
JL: The time that I drank Jager with the Clarks was a pretty cool memory.
TVR: Let’s talk egos, do you feel your ego gets in the way of creating good music, or does your music sustain your ego? How so?
CC: I think that having a musical ego drives who we are, and sets a standard for what we demand out of each other, and the way that we carry ourselves. If you can’t be confident and excited about what you do, then no one else will for you.
BT:I like to just call ego confidence. If you don’t have any faith in yourself to think that you are a good musician then you’ll never be able to be at your best. I feel my “ego” has only made me better. Like battling a brother to be the best at something its like my ego is my brother and it challenges me to make myself a better guitarist and writer.
RG: I think that you have to have a small ego to get on stage and demand the attention of the crowd, so I feel like my ego, in a small way, fuels my creativity and drive to write good music that demands the attention of your audience.
JL: I don’t have an ego, I have passion for my music. My ego shows when I beat the shit of out people.
TVR: Who writes the music for the band?
TTW: Chris and Brad write most of the music, and then take it to Ryan and Jesse to work out and add other elements.
TVR: Can you cook? What do you like to make most?
CC: Yes, chicken with brown rice and steamed veggies.
BT: Yes, but I don’t like to cook at home since I do it for a living
RG: Yes, working in a French restaurant for 6 years, with Brad, showed me how to cook all types of food.
JL: Sure, eggs.
TVR: How many tattoos do you have? Tell us the story behind your favorite tattoo.
CC: 2, right arm, a cross on fire with demon wings. Signifying my belief that good does not exist without evil and that there is no way to be all good, or all evil, we are all made up of both, and its up to us how we let each side unfold.
BT: 6 , left arm, New Castle Brown Ale logo, woke up on my 22nd birthday with it, don’t remember.
RG: 2 , my right arm, a memorial to my grandfather.
JL: 5 , skeleton key on my right wrist. It’s linked to my nautical star symbolizing that music is the key to my existence.
TVR: What are your thoughts on Ke$ha?
CC: She’s no Gaga, but I’d do them both, at the same time.
BT: She’s a valley girl that the record industry created. No talent.
JL: She’s an edgy pop star that I don’t have a problem with, pretty hot.
TVR: What music do you listen to when writing songs?
CC: It depends on the current vibe of my mindset and the current musical kick I’m listening to, and the fullness of the moon.
BT: Depends on the mood.
RG: Though I haven’t written any of the songs yet, what I play is heavily influenced by what I listen to.
JL: Billy Holiday and Hoagy Carmichael amongst other 1930’s and 1940’s tunes.
TVR: Best band/artist ever?
CC: Pink Floyd/U2
RG: CCR (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
JL: Jesse Lacey
TVR: Do you think that Ingrid Newkirk, the president of PETA, would buy a Through These Walls album?
CC: I’m currently looking into purchasing a guitar strap made of polar bear fur and hyde, so no.
BT: No, most PETA people are hippies.
RG: Cows, Chicken, Pig, Duck, Deer, Game Hen, Boar, Shark, Crab, Shrimp, etc., etc, are all delicious foods… so no.
JL: Yes, keep your friends close but keep your enemies closer.
TVR: Best moment on stage ever?
CC: Performing in front of around 8,000 people at a festival in Tennessee back in 2003 was a pretty awesome achievement for me.
BT: Opening up for The 69 Eyes because of the magnitude of how big they are internationally.
RG: My first show, all of my friends and family were there to support me.
JL: Having to play one song with ¾’s of a drumstick without anyone ever noticing.
TVR: Most embarrassing moment on stage ever?
CC: Once I screamed so hard into the microphone that I blacked out and hit my head on the microphone (while it was on the mic stand), which woke me up so I could catch myself.
BT: First time performing Sixxx Thirty, awful.
RG: Almost passing out during my first show because of the hot lights.
JL: Playing ¾’s of a song with one drumstick without anyone noticing.
TVR: How many times a day do you check facebook?
CC: I’m on 24/7
BT: Once or twice an hour.
JL: 26 times, everyday.
TVR: What’s your favorite article of clothing?
CC: My Gun’s N’ Roses briefs, I’m currently 9-0-1 when wearing them...in sexual situations.
BT: My Gucci shoes.
RG: My black billed beanie.
JL: My knit hat.
TVR: What’s your favorite article of clothing, on a female?
CC: Stripper boots/Very high heels, and band t-shirts.
RG: Wife beater – no bra.
JL: Anything skin tight or nothing at all.
TVR: Hottest girl, alive or dead, or both?
CC: Rhianna & Marilyn Monroe.
BT: Brea Bennett & Scarlett Johansson.
RG: Marisa Miller & Audrey Hepburn.
JL: Lauren Bacall circa 1945 & Sarah Chalke.
TVR: Statement you want the world to know about you, something crazy, something insane, anything.
CC: "She can’t get pregnant if she’s on all fours and you’re listening to Prince."
BT: "Can we delete this question?"
RG: "I’m single."
JL: "Ask me things, 724-650-2288."