Chad Sullins and the Last Call Coalition are having a great year. Their new CD, Incommunicado was released on July 10 and the first single, “Thank God For Jack Daniels,” has broken into the Top 100 of the Texas Music Report after only two weeks.
It’s sweet success that’s been a long time coming for the band. In fact, the album’s title, “incommunicado,” is a word that means unable to communicate. Sullins explains that he went on Google looking for words that represent the band, and he said that’s how it’s felt over the last few years.
“When I saw that, it just hit the spot,” he said.
Sullins notes that it is a bit ironic that the band is starting to break out with the Incommunicado CD: “With our first record, we couldn’t get anyone to play our record on the radio.” Sullins became a music fan at a very early age. He said his mother gave him a record player, and he pretty much wore out a John Cougar Mellancamp record. He said his influences include Mellancamp, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, Tom Petty, Pink Floyd, Motley Crue, Keith Whitley and others.
Although he was raised on and influenced by some of country music’s greatest artists, he hasn’t always been in a country band. He said he got his first guitar when he was 16, and his first band was a punk band. He said he came back to his roots and started writing country after his divorce.
Incommunicado represents Sullins growth in many ways. He said he started working on the Uphill Battle CD five years ago, which took two years to make because of the lack of funding. He said the CD was his first real record, and he didn’t know what he was doing then. Half of the CD was recorded using studio musicians and half was recorded with his band. He said he prefers recording with his band in the studio and hopes he can always record music that way. Sullins has also grown as a songwriter.
“My songwriting has changed a bit,” he said.
The Uphill Battle CD does contain some great songs. Sullins said they have talked about redoing songs like “Little Things” and “Johnny Met The Devil.” However, he said he’s still writing and hopes to keep putting out new songs.
Sullins either wrote or co-wrote all but two songs on Incommunicado. One of the songs Sullins didn’t write is the first single. “Thank God for Jack Daniels” was originally recorded by a punk band called The Sex Slaves. The Chad Sullins and Last Call Coalition’s version of the song has been very well received.
“The response from the people and the radio stations has been amazing,” Sullins said.
The other song that Sullins didn’t write was “Dance With The Gypsys.” The song was written by Bob Childers, who is known as the Godfather of Red Dirt Music. Childers passed away in 2008, and Sullins put the song on the CD to honor him. The Incommunicado CD also contains a song called “Oklahoma Moon,” which Sullins began writing the day after Childers passed away.
Sullins said his favorite songs of the record are “Oklahoma Moon” and “August Sun,” which he called “a very dark song.”
Although “Thank God for Jack Daniels” was at No. 99 on the Texas Music Chart after only two weeks of release, it’s not the best-selling song from the CD on iTunes. “Only Girl” is a ballad that Sullins said they knew fans – especially female fans – would love.
The band talked about releasing “Only Girl” as the first single, but Sullins said they didn’t want to give people a false sense of the band. Chad Sullins and the Lost Call Coalition is a high-energy band with a hard-driving sound. They wanted to make sure that was represented, and it comes through with “Thank God for Jack Daniels.”
Sullins said “Only Girl” would likely be the second single from the CD. “I think it will show how diverse of a band we can actually be,” he said.
Despite the recent success, Chad Sullins and the Last Call Coalition remain an independent band. Sullins said they have done pretty much every aspect of the business on their own. The band has recently signed a distribution deal with Smith Music.
“I’d like there to be a day when all we have to worry about is [to] show up and play,” he said.
The band has been offered record deals, but none the band feels is a good fit. As for now, Sullins says the band is “very independent.”
The Internet and social media have tremendously helped the band. They can see where people are from that are buying the music. According to Sullins, the band has sold music from places they have never played like Florida. The band plays a lot of shows in the Oklahoma area, but they have been to places like Chicago and Dallas as well.
Story by: Krys Midgett