Upon first listening to Courtesy Call’s soon-to-be-released, self-titled EP, I was surprised by the versatility. The first three songs are crisp, lively, and would fit right in on No Doubt’s Tragic Kingdom album. Track four on the EP, “Another Day,” comes as a stark buzz kill to the sassy disposition that vocalist Elyssa Lee’s angsty wail creates on the other songs. Eerily similar to Natalie Merchant’s later stuff—post-10,000 Maniacs and that uncanny feminist phase—“Another Day” left me convinced that these guys are more than just a band to jump up and down to. Their music is clever, refreshing, and still damn fun to sing along with.
Walking into Lee’s apartment on the outskirts of Truckee, I was struck by how different each member, and their taste in music, seemed to be. The drummer, Adam Schwab, was a former member of local punk band Penny Dreadfuls, while the guitarist Nick Saxon gave the impression of being a borderline metalhead. Lead singer Lee presented a bubbly personality and, dare I say it, listed Christina Aguilera as one of her major musical influences. Bassist Silkin Corson seemed to act as a middle ground for musical tastes.
Despite their differences, the four came together pleasantly in one of the most error-free band practices I’ve witnessed.
“I would definitely say we’re rock music,” says Lee. “It’s catchy.”
Members of Courtesy Call are adamant about savoring a “raw rock” sound in their music. “We started off thinking we were going to go in more of an indie direction, but as we started playing and developing songs, we liked more of the clear rock sound,” says Corson. Despite suggestions to add a keyboard or synthesizer, band members stuck to their guns about keeping their sound pure.
“I think part of the reason our music started taking a different direction is because they were filling in the space with bass line and guitar,” says Lee. “We didn’t need another instrument.”
The energy this band emits is something to envy. Even if Courtesy Call’s music doesn’t jibe with you, you’ve got to give these guys credit for their sharp performance skills.
“That’s one of our biggest goals, to get on stage and look like we belong there,” says Corson.
Courtesy Call first began taking shape last June after Lee placed an ad on Craigslist. The band’s name embodies how they came together—“by making courtesy calls to meet each other in person,” says Lee. “The name was catchy yet mysterious.”
Lee liked the name Courtesy Call because it has multiple meanings and possible interpretations.
Currently, the band members have been practicing hard and working on recording their EP. They hope to have a longer album out by the end of the year and have aspirations to tour nationally.
Courtesy Call will have their EP release party on March 13 at The Underground.
“We’re still trying to break into the local scene a little bit,” says Corson. Corson and other members seemed frustrated at Reno’s tight-knit local music scene, but they’re excited to see it evolve in the future.
“We want there to be a Reno scene,” say Saxon, “and we want to be part of it.”