Call Me Lightning: Rumbles of a New Album


Photo of Call Me Lightning by Travis Auclair

 Words by Erin Wolf

Call Me Lightning packs ’em in pretty much every single time they play a show in Milwaukee, and as they draw closer and closer to releasing new material (there hasn’t been a new CD since 2007’s Soft Skeletons), the frenetically tuneful trio naturally generates more and more agitated enthusiasm from their audience. Maybe this visible enthusiasm helps to speed up the process through a little adrenaline? If so, the band seems to be headed towards a new release for this Fall. In the meantime, there’s recording to be done and shows to be played: Nathan Lilley, CML’s guitarist/vocalist gives Milwaukee a peek into a loose timeline for the next release of one of Milwaukee’s most stalwart and energetic rock bands as they balance the process of creation with the creating-in-the-moment atmosphere of live shows.

  “Bronze Hell”, Call Me Lightning

Word on the street is, you have a new release in the works: any details you can share?

It’s true. We begin recording our third full-length next month and it should be released in October. If all goes according to plan, we’ll be doing some of it at Key Club in Michigan, where we recorded our first album, some of it at Shane’s [Hochstetler] Howl Street studio and then John Congleton will mix it. But, for better or worse, shit can change pretty easily, so don’t hold us to any of that. It might be recorded on a boombox and released in 2012, for all I know.

Have there been any major changes in songwriting since CML’s bassist change-up (from Bill Kutsch to Kris Maedke-Russell)?

Yeah, we work differently now, I guess. When Bill moved to San Francisco and we were still trying to make it work, we’d rarely ever practice and that’s when I started to simplify my end of the basic songwriting, because all I could do is sing and play guitar by myself. I kinda gave up on riffs. And that’s pretty much how it works now — I come in with some boring chord changes and off-key vocals and those guys fill it out and make it interesting. Kris is a really good lead bass player and Shane is a really good lead drummer, so I really like stepping back so they have the room to do more. I don’t even like hearing my guitar very much when we play.

Who are you playing shows with nowadays? Are any of the bands you’re encountering now influencing your own sound?

We haven’t been playing as much lately because we’ve been writing, but we’ve been lucky enough to have this great Israeli band, Monotonix, drag us around with them on their Midwest dates for their last couple tours. They’re wild, so it’s great to see them a bunch of nights in a row. And it’s always nice to make new friends from another country. We played with the Black Angels not too long ago and their tourmates got stuck playing before us and the singer was a fucking baby about it, so that was pretty funny. Honestly, he was right, they shouldn’t have had to play first, but he was such a whiny prick about it, you couldn’t help but want to antagonize him. So, we’ll probably never play with either of them again. 

Locally, we’ve ended up playing more with bands that are less, uh, loud than us, lately like the Trusty Knife, The Goodnight Loving, Jail, etc. These are all bands that we really like a lot and though I don’t think they’ve had much of an influence on us sound-wise, I think being surrounded by such good songwriters has been a really positive challenge. Coming up in more of a punk and hardcore scene or whatever, we can’t help but want every song to, like, hit you in the face with a baseball bat, so I’m always impressed with other bands’ restraint and taste: two things we generally lack.

Are you still on Frenchkiss Records or Forge Again Records? Your last album was put out on CD by Frenchkiss and on vinyl by Forge Again.

The CD will come out on Frenchkiss, yes. We haven’t figured out the LP yet, but it will definitely come out on vinyl. Forge Again is actually putting out the new Father Phoenix CD and LP pretty soon, I think, so that’s cool.

Any plans to do another split 7″ (like the 2008 split with Get Rad)?

That Get Rad split was a blast to do, but I don’t understand why anybody would listen to it. We just did it for fun because we’re all tight pals and were surprised that anybody would want to put it out. So no, no more of that. It’s pretty self-indulgent, don’t you think? We are, however, planning to record a couple songs for a 45 on Dusty Medical this summer, which we’re excited about.

Where will Call Me Lightning be this Spring/Summer?

Recording in the Spring, barbecuing in the Summer.

Call Me Lightning plays this Friday, March 13th at Frank’s Power Plant (2800 S. Kinnickinnic) with Thomas Function, The Terrible Twos and Blueblood. 10 p.m. 21+




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4 Responses to “Call Me Lightning: Rumbles of a New Album”

  1. fanbelt Says:

    That new track is the hot-fire.

  2. Erin Says:

    If their show with Jail and The Trusty Knife a couple weeks ago is any indicator, I’d say this show is going be amazing. Terrible Twos and Thomas Function are amazing bands. Go, go, go. Everyone.

  3. Kevin Says:

    Erin predicts the future!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Redbeard Says:

    People moved like sharks in blood infested water as soon as these guys started playing, It was so oh my god awesome.

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