Last Call Messiahs disband while frontman Chris Clark forms Babylon Shakes
Where one door closes, another opens. With Last Call Messiahs sadly calling it quits after releasing their debut full-length album Sermons Of Debauchery in late October 2016, their frontman Chris Clark has started a new band called Babylon Shakes.
Clark posted the following message on his Facebook account back on August 25, 2017:
“From former Last Call Messiahs frontman/guitarist Chris Clark, comes Babylon Shakes– a new project that combines the rollicking funk of vintage Aerosmith, the reckless punk edge of the New York Dolls and a good dose of straight up Hanoi Rocks. Clark founded the Raleigh, NC based Last Call Messiahs three years ago and penned the songs that would encompass the bands debut EP and full length “Sermons of Debauchery” CD. The guys played their final show together on July 16 of this year with Faster Pussycat, but ultimately decided to disband and pursue other musical ventures. Now fully immersed in writing mode, Clark and Babylon Shakes have begun preproduction work before recording a full length digital album to be released later this year. “The sound here is definitely older and closer to rock, punk and blues.” he said. “Its still my voice but the music is coming from a different place. I wanted to go back to the beginning-to the first music that really moved me and made me want to pick up a guitar-and for me that was “Two Steps from The Move”, (Hanoi Rocks) “Rocks”(Aerosmith) and “Exile on Main Street”. The band will launch a web site, Bandcamp site and social media accounts this September.”
Speaking exclusively to Sleaze Roxx, Clark explained what led to Last Call Messiahs disbanding as he stated: “I think ultimately, creative and personal differences really fueled the decision to end the band. At the end of 2016, the guys wanted to make some changes like bringing in a dedicated lead vocalist, playing more covers, and making more money. I was disappointed to say the least, and I personally felt like that would completely change the sound and the philosophy of where we had started as an original group. My vision of the band from the beginning was that of an all original, independent, unapologetic sleazy club band. I suddenly felt like we weren’t on the same page anymore. I vetoed the whole idea and we continued on honoring our live commitments throughout the year, but getting rehearsals together became next to impossible and communication was almost nonexistent. We were at a standstill and without rehearsals, there was no new music. You could feel morale plummeting as the months ticked by. It just wasn’t fun anymore. July 16th was the last date on our calendar of shows and it seemed like a good time to stop everything and re-evaluate.
In terms of whether the issues within Last Call Messiahs had a negative impact on the promotion for the group’s debut full-length album Sermons Of Debauchery, Clark opined: “Yes, those differences definitely hurt the promotion of Sermons. We released that album in late October 2016 and by year’s end, things were already beginning to crack internally. I think by then, everyone’s focus had totally shifted to “Okay. What’s next?” It became difficult to concentrate on the album we had just put out knowing that other members of the band wanted to change things from within.
In terms of the differences between Last Call Messiahs and Clark‘s new band Babylon Shakes, the singer/guitarist stated: “Babylon Shakes is much more trashy, bluesy, punk, funk rock n’ roll. It’s more organic and less metal. Its all me, completely uncompromised and straight from the heart. I got really inspired again hanging out in Hollywood last year and hearing some darker early ’80s stuff like Motorcycle Boy, The Joneses and X. My walls at home are covered with pictures of early Aerosmith, Hanoi Rocks and Guns N’ Roses. When I play guitar, it’s much more Steve Jones than Steve Vai. I felt like it was time to do something from my own perspective and my own point of view as an artist and not compromise that through collaboration with three or four other people. In a band setting, it’s easy to try and hear the finished product when you are writing, so you anticipate how the song could get changed or the arrangement switched around based on everyone else. So for this project, i just wanted to hear my ideas from start to finish.
In regard to how the name Babylon Shakes came about, Clark advised: “The name Babylon Shakes actually came from a song I started writing about three years ago. I brought it to the band early on, and it didn’t really stick but I always liked the title. It just sounds really trashy and loud, like some wild early ’80s glam band dressed in leopard print and police hats. I knew it would be the perfect name for this project.”
With respect to who are the remaining Babylon Shakes members, Clark advised: “I picked Babylon Shakes for the name and the image. I’m really fortunate to have a lot of friends all over the East Coast who have been very supportive and excited for this project. I have lots of demos that I have kept over the years and some of those are coming to life here as well as some brand new stuff that I wrote this year. I am writing and recording everything here at home and when all is done and mastered, I am going to put together a band to promote and play live.”