Houston Calls - Sound In The Signals Interview

I recently had the opportunity to interview Josh Grigsby of Houston Calls. We discussed the band’s recent vinyl pressing of ‘A Collection Of Short Stories’, their time with Drive-Thru Records, upcoming reunion shows, and more. Check it out below.

First, thanks for the interview.

Of course! Thanks for having me! This is Josh by the way, the former and I suppose current drummer.

You just had a very successful vinyl campaign and sold out of the entire pressing of ‘A Collection Of Short Stories’. What are your thoughts about how big the fan response was?

Honestly, I think we were all blown away. We're not by any means a 'big' band, but we do have some loyal fans who I guess still care after all of this time. It means a lot!

How important is vinyl to you? Are you excited the album is finally going to be pressed? Do you have a favorite variant?

So to me personally, it's super important. Not only am I an avid vinyl collector, but I don't own a 12" with any of my drumming on it. So, big deal for me, haha. I like all the variants - but I think the splatter may end up looking the coolest. We'll find out in about a month or so!

I don’t know if you remember this, but I remember around the time the album was released that your music video was played in American Eagle stores in a series of videos they used to play. Do you remember this and/or what was it like having your music in a store that was so popular at that time?

That's an awesome call back, and I absolutely remember that. I was only 19 at the time, but I remember standing in the front of the American Eagle store at the Rockaway Mall in Rockaway, NJ just watching it in awe. I may or may not have told an employee it was me on there... In similar fashion, if I was at a mall with a Hollister store - I would go put all of the 'Collection' tracks in the queue and leave real stealth like. But hey, these are definitely things a 19 year old pop-punker would do.

Houston Calls was in the last batch of great Drive-Thru bands. What was it like being on that label initially and on the other hand what was it like near the end of your time on the label?

I will say first and foremost that most of the opportunities and exposure we got as a band would have NEVER been possible without Drive-Thru. They really loved the band and treated us really great for a long time. My first two trips to Southern California was to sign our record deal, and shoot the Exit, Emergency music video - all on their dime. It was totally surreal. 

That being said, things were a bit different at the end, not necessarily in a bad way, just different as our 2nd album 'The End of An Error' was the last full length put out by Drive-Thru before Richard and Stefanie moved on to create their management company. I am proud to say that we still have a great relationship with both of them, and they're the ones releasing the 'Collection' vinyl!

What do you think it is about the Drive-Thru era that has made a lot of those artists and their music so popular and revered for over twenty years?

Honestly, I truly believe that Richard and Stefanie had a great ear and eye for talent. They chose bands for their roster that were marketable, catchy, and usually super fun. All of their bands were easy to latch onto, and since so many of their bands achieved success, created a sort of DTR legacy. I mean from New Found Glory (still plays today), Something Corporate (Andrew MacMahon is killing it still), Dashboard Confessional (still plays today), Hellogoodbye (still somewhat plays today), Finch (reuniting this year), The Movielife (still plays today), The Starting Line (still plays today), Hidden In Plain View (still plays today), Steel Train (I mean Jack Antonoff!), etc etc - just a stacked lineup of bands.

You also announced some reunion shows. What can fans expect from the show in terms of the set?

I mean I don't want to give too much away, but I believe we're playing everything everyone would want to hear for the most part. The set is 'Collection' heavy, which is to be expected, but some others sprinkled in there!

Do you have any surprises planned? What’s been the most exciting part of planning these new shows? 

We actually do! I can tell you that we plan on releasing a b-side from the 'Error' sessions on streaming platforms, and playing it at the shows. A hint is, we've performed the song only one time live at Bamboozle Festival in 2007. As far as the most exciting part, I think it so far has just been reconnecting with the guys. One cool part is that we have both Kenny (2003-2006) AND Jose (2007-2009) playing - so we're rocking a 3 guitar setup. We all were able to get in a room for the first time since 2009 the last weekend in April, and it was just like riding a bike! 

What’s been your favorite part of reconnecting with the band? Is there a chance that all of this could inspire the band to release new music and/or even songs from back then that were not previously released? 

It's crazy because you share so much time with these guys in close quarters for 5ish years, and then mostly you all go and create completely different lives. So it's been really cool to catch up, hang out, and play together again. As of this moment, there are no plans for new music. This reunion was meant to be a one and done type of scenario. However, see my previous point about surprises, haha.

I’ve also heard rumor of some more vinyl pressings in the future such as a b-sides type album. I know the big question on a lot of fans minds is if this could possibly include ‘The End Of An Error’. Is this something you’re thinking of doing at some point? 

No official plans for anything right now. Not sure if we'd ever press 'Error', but I guess if there was an extreme demand, possibly?

Thanks for taking the time to answer the questions. Do you have anything else that you would like to add?

Thanks for having me! I guess the only thing I'd add here is that while our first reunion show is sold out, there are still a few tickets available for the second night - we're really looking forward to seeing and hanging out with everyone that weekend. I also want to thank anyone out there for still listening to our music and caring about a reunion after 20 years of the band. It's insanely cool, and makes all 6 of us feel great. Thank you!

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