The members of the newly formed Sioux City band Calling Grace made sure they had everything planned out before they played a single show.
Shawn Fertig (vocals), Alex Newman (lead guitar), Logan Lansink (rhythm guitar, backing vocals), Billy Pelchat (bass) and Jake Rains (drums) decided they would do all the knitty gritty stuff first like designing a logo, preparing t-shirts, creating setlists and recording a few songs. They did everything in advance –except a band photo.
Calling Grace’s first impromptu “promo photo” was a selfie of the guys eating ice cream. Hey, it works. But at least everything else got done, right? Much to the band’s delight, word about Calling Grace was successfully kept under wraps for quite some time. In early May, the band announced that it would be playing three shows in the tri-state area.
The group’s first Sioux City show begins at 8 p.m. Thursday (June 29) at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Sioux City. Calling Grace will open for the rock bands Anchor and Scarlet Canary. While the band seemingly popped out of nowhere in the scene, Rains said the band had actually been “busting ass” writing songs and getting things figured out since December 2016.
They wanted to come out “hard and heavy” right out of the gate.
“Here’s something good to listen to,” said Rains. “Here’s something that you can watch. We got these shows right here. By the way, when you come to the show, we have t-shirts you can buy. All of this, all at once.”
At first, the band consisted of Fertig and Newman from Stop Motion Skeletons, and Rains and Pelchat from One Pimp Avengers. Lansink, who sang in Solstice on Fire, was the last member to join Calling Grace.
Effectively a supergroup of sorts, the guys in Calling Grace attribute their planned approach as a result of the experience they’ve gained in other bands. The band also allowed some members the chance to try something new.
“For Newman and me it was a chance to do something heavier,” said Fertig. “Way heavier than something we’d do with Stop Motion Skeletons. This music is more on the hard rock side of things, which him and I are both big fans of.”
They put their noses to the grindstone and recorded a few songs at Cathouse Studios in Sioux Falls, pushing themselves and exploring their sound.
“We wanted to come out of the gates with a product – a polished product,” said Newman. “We wanted to come out and say, ‘Here’s how we sound, here’s a finished product for you to listen to. Come check us out.’”
Lansink added, “I think we’ve all learned from other bands that we’ve been in, too. It’s important that you put yourself out there with a little bit more professionalism right off the bat so that you can kind of prove yourself as something people can some see.”