author: ethan butterfield | contributor
Banding with Butterfield again, guys!
Hey everyone! Well, another week, another band interview. I had the amazing opportunity to have a discussion with the lead singer of Charm City Devils, John Allen. The Charm City Devils are a group that originated out of Baltimore, Maryland and have been rocking and rolling ever since. Here’s just some of what John had to say:
So the name Charm City Devils originated from Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx. How did you guys feel about the name when first presented with it?
Hahahaha! Well, we were tossing around ideas and one I had was a play on the nickname for our hometown of Baltimore, which is Charm City…I suggested Harm City! But as the weeks went by I thought it sounded like a gangsta rap name. So that one was out so we were getting nervous about not having a name and I thought that was the only thing that was holding us up from touring with The Crue so at that point I felt like “Hey man, call us “Shark Sandwich ” if it gets us on tour with Motley!!! Hah!
The Charm City Devils have a distinct hard rock style of music. What type of music is each member of the group inspired by? Any particular bands that inspire you?
Nick was really into Black Sabbath and Zep growing up. I think Vic loved Joe Walsh and Aerosmith. Anthony was a pop kid since he had older sisters that influenced him early on.
Jason loved Judas Priest and Maiden. I loved all that stuff and was a real big Deep Purple fan. The first time I heard a full out loud guitar was my next-door neighbor older brother playing “Smoke on the Water” through his Ampeg Stack!!!!
‘Unstoppable’, ‘Let’s Rock N’ Roll (Endless Road) and ‘Shots’ are just a few of the bands’ hit singles. Among those hits ‘Man of Constant Sorrow’ was very well received. Are there any other covers that the band enjoys performing or do you stick to your own original material?
We cover a Black Keys song called “I Got Mine” that lets me belt out some Deep Purple-esq screams! We also put some Hendrix and Zep riffs in the middle of that one too. The crowd seems to really dig it.
When performing live, what Charm City Devils song do you guys feel gets the crowd going the most?
It’s funny; the bands music really works live for the most part so it’s hard to pick one. But I will say the one that surprised us with an overwhelming reaction was a song relegated to the end of the Sins record called “Love N War.” It’s up tempo and has killer harmony guitar parts that make it special. It usually goes over like a MOFO!
Speaking of performing, how does it feel to perform live? What artists have you enjoyed performing with over the course of your career?
Opening for GNR, STP, Godsmack and Motley Crue has been awesome! We have great friends in Theory Of A Deadman and playing shows with them is always a blast!
Your newest album, Battles, recently celebrated its two-year anniversary. How was working on that album? Stressful? Fun?
Working on our records are always a little stressful. We usually cut them very quickly because of budget but I recently listened and I thought Skidd Mills, our producer, did another outstanding job.
As a fan question, my personal favourite album from you guys is ‘Sins’. I was wondering, what was it like working on ‘Unstoppable’? Any stories during development you could share?
Nothing crazy, the song started with an idea I had that in its initial form was very different but had the same verse lyric. It just grew from there. The best thing was the WWE grabbing it for its “No Way Out” pay per view special. The song has over 2.2 million streams on Spotify! Way more than our biggest hit! Another crazy surprise.
The band has been together for almost a decade. What are some of the high points of the bands’ career?
A lot of what I mentioned prior like opening for bands we look up to. For me personally, getting up on stage with Motley Crue at Madison Square Garden will be something I will never forget! It was so surreal that it was like a dream. I thought I would wake up any second.
Last question, if you can say, what are the bands’ plans for the future?
Just working on new songs that we can be proud of.
Well, there you have it. The Charm City Devils are making their statement on the hard rock scene and loving every minute of it. Their album Battles is available now!