Charm City Devils—John Allen (lead vocals), Ted Merrill (guitar), Jason Heiser (drums) and Rick Reynolds (bass)—are proud of their native hometown of Baltimore, and they’re not afraid to wear their heart on their sleeves. They even named themselves (at the suggestion of then-Eleven Seven Music label President Nikki Sixx) after Baltimore’s nickname for which it was anointed in the ‘70s. Most recently, their beloved city has been described as a “rodent infested mess” and a place where “no human being would want to live.” But they has another side to that narrative.
The band is dedicating its fourth studio release, a five-song EP titled “1904” (which refers to the year of the great fire that burned the city to the ground as evidenced on the EP’s cover), to its favorite metropolis.
“1904” will be released Nov. 22 via Broken World Records. The first single, “Skipping Stone,” will be available worldwide on Friday, Sept. 20 on all digital outlets. A video for the song and an album trailer can be seen below.
“While writing and collaborating on the songs for ‘1904,’” Allen said, “I started reflecting on my life and music career and how the town where I grew up impacted my view of the world. The story of Baltimore is a direct parallel to what most people experience in life. In everyone’s life, there is a change arc. We begin that change with ‘uninformed optimism’ only to find out that optimism quickly turns to ‘informed pessimism,’ and as the spiraling continues, they ultimately bottom out at ‘crisis of meaning.’ It’s in the crisis part of life where a person has to decide if they are going to be stuck or are they going to pick themselves up and begin the upward struggle toward happiness and fulfillment. The first single, ‘Skipping Stone,’ is a journey into self-awareness and ultimately about being resilient.”
Charm City Devils are planning shows all around the Baltimore area, with a full tour in the works and to be announced soon.
The band also released the following statement:
“We can write about CHARM CITY DEVILS returning to their bluesy, modern-edged and southern-tinged hard rock anthems. We also can tell you about the desire to rock the masses, but you have heard all the puffery before. Rather than bore you with the same old bio, we want to give it to you straight. We are Baltimore and Baltimore is in all of us! We have lived our whole lives in and around this city. Baltimore was once vibrant. The town had jobs, low crime and was a place to truly call home. While it is tough to argue that Baltimore doesn’t have a myriad of issues, we still want to tell the story of what still thrives here, which is the Music.
“Real life experiences are what we write about, what we sing about and what we care about. It’s gut wrenching to see our once ‘Charmed City’ fall to ruin. We all want to be a part of something grand and we all want to have a sense of pride, not only in ourselves, but also in our community.
“We have lost friends to addiction. We have moved venues due to safety. We have been the victim of robbery, and almost every night the local news the leadoff story is about a murder. Yet we pray that one day, this will turn around and peace and love will conquer, but we know we are far cry from that salvation.
“We write and play music for the distraction from all the negativity and anxiety that surrounds us. Through personal experience we are reminded that when things are really bad, and we mean really bad, we have the outlet of music to channel all those emotions and hope that those that feel the same way can find the same hope through our songs.
“Baltimore to us is what Detroit is to Kid Rock or Boston is to Aerosmith. It keeps us ground, motivated, and inspired. It’s the main reason we chose this profession and why we will always pursue our dreams.
“If nothing else, the return of the CHARM CITY DEVILS is a reminder that not all the news in Baltimore is bleak and in the face of adversity we have to “Roll on, Roll on, on like a Skipping Stone!”