- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 12, 2002

LOS ANGELES — Alex Band and Aaron Kamin had just finished a sound check at the Roxy Theatre when the club's bouncer approached them.
He wanted to know if they had wristbands allowing them inside for The Calling concert a few hours later.
"Yes, we have wristbands," Mr. Band said.
When somebody pointed out the two were in the band, the man sheepishly walked off.
Obviously, he hadn't seen the band's recent television appearances, which included NBC's "Late Night" or MTV's "Total Request Live."
"At some point, I thought we were pretty successful getting to do what we wanted to do most of the time," Mr. Kamin says later. "But for a lot of other people, success is something else."
Like being recognized?
"Yeah. Even my family didn't really get it until we were on TV," he joked.
But the fans are getting it. With solid lyrics and acoustic-flavored rock, The Calling's debut album "Camino Palmero" was recently certified gold.
Their single "Wherever You Will Go," an ode to the loss of a loved one, also has been climbing the charts. Last month, the band kicked off its first headlining tour.
At first glance, it's easy to dismiss Mr. Band, 20, and Mr. Kamin, 24, as another boy band with their youthful appearance and good looks.
But listen to their music and they transcend age with songs about the death of loved ones, indifference to suffering and unconditional devotion, says producer Mark Tanner, who helped put together the band's RCA debut.
"There is something being said there," he says.
He compared Mr. Kamin and Mr. Band's collaboration to that of Aerosmith's Steven Tyler and Joe Perry.
"Alex is the voice and Aaron is the sound," Mr. Tanner says.
Mr. Band and Mr. Kamin heard the musical calling at a young age in their upscale upbringing in Los Angeles' San Fernando Valley. Mr. Band's father is a film producer.
From an early age, the two gravitated toward music. Both say they began as teens writing and playing their own music.
The two met several years ago when Mr. Kamin, then a premed student at UCLA, began dating Mr. Band's sister. When Mr. Kamin, who plays six instruments, saw guitars lying around Mr. Band's house, the two immediately bonded musically.
Over time Mr. Kamin began to spend more time writing music with Mr. Band than taking out his girlfriend. Then came "the ultimatum" as they now call it from Mr. Band's sister: Me or music with my brother.
His choice?
"Music was my passion," he says.

The two formed Generation Gap, named for the age disparity between its young singing-songwriting frontmen and two members in their 40s and 50s who responded to an ad they placed looking for musicians.
Mr. Kamin and Mr. Band began making demos and shopping their music to Mr. Band's next-door neighbor an RCA record executive.
RCA signed the two, who dropped both their band name and older band members at the label's urging. The duo then became The Band Next Door.
Mr. Kamin dropped out of college and Mr. Band quit attending high school earning his diploma through home schooling to concentrate on their music.
Once in the studio, Mr. Band and Mr. Kamin said they were sure they were on their way. But RCA had other ideas. At the time, the label was having major success with pop acts, such as Christina Aguilera.
For five years, Mr. Kamin and Mr. Band toiled in the studio, writing and recording more than 100 songs, including "Wherever You Will Go." They worked with dozens of producers.
The two thought they got their break when they were asked to perform in the movie "Coyote Ugly." An early performance of "Wherever You Will Go" can be glimpsed in a concert scene in the movie.
But the duo chose not to include the single on the movie's country-driven soundtrack, which eventually went multiplatinum.
"When we filmed the movie, we didn't have a record. Then the movie came out and we still didn't have a record. We were ripping our hair out," Mr. Band says.
A year later, RCA finally gave the two a shot at an album. Mr. Tanner was brought in to put it together.
"When you get a record deal, you're so happy to have it. You have illusions of MTV dancing in your head. Unfortunately, it's not like that," Mr. Tanner says.
Thanks in part to their years in the studio, Mr. Kamin and Mr. Band recorded the album in three weeks.
"We didn't have a band then. It was just the two of us for the longest time," Mr. Kamin says.
Late in the recording effort, Mr. Kamin and Mr. Band brought in guitarist Sean Woolstenhulme, bass player Billy Mohler and drummer Nate Wood to round out the musical effort.
By the time Mr. Kamin and Mr. Band finished the album, they had a new name The Calling.
"It seemed right. This was a calling for us," Mr. Band says.

The Calling will perform Friday at the 9:30 Club. The show is sold out.



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