Saying Goodbye to Chad Sullins and the Last Call Coalition
The End of a Chapter: Saying Goodbye to Chad Sullins and The Last Call Coaliton
Oklahoma City ~ The announcement came on Monday October 26th that Chad Sullins would no longer be playing with the Last Call Coalition. The band had already announced back in August that they would be parting ways as of the end of the year, their last show scheduled for New Year’s Eve at Grady’s 66 Pub. But sadly the band wasn’t able to make it to that ending, and have cancelled all remaining shows. There are irreconcilable differences, and different lifestyle paths being taken. It breaks our hearts as fans but sometimes these things happen and there’s not much you can do about it.
I didn’t grow up in the Red Dirt scene like it seems most everyone else did. In my youth, in the 90s, I was jamming out to Korn and Deftones, Smashing Pumpkins and The Cure. I hung out with the punks and Goths, the freaks and geeks, and was a hodgepodge of a bit of all of that. However I always had a love of old school country, having grown up on it through my parents. So even now, after years into the scene I always feel like the “newcomer”.
In March of 2010 a couple of girlfriends and I went to see Gretchen Wilson at Tumbleweeds in Stillwater. The opening band was some guys named Chad Sullins and The Last Call Coalition, and from the moment they started playing I was hooked on their music. I really thought they were a national touring act that was on the road with Gretchen, I had no idea they were a local band. I looked them up the next day online and discovered that not only were they a local band, but they were playing the next week in Oklahoma City, at a tiny little dive bar called Classics. I friended them on Facebook and messaged that I had seen their show and really liked their music and was looking forward to seeing them again at Classics. When I got to the tiny little bar, Chad walked right up to me and said “Hey, are you Tonya? Nice to meet ya darlin'.” and just jumped right into a conversation. This was my introduction into the Red Dirt Scene.
At first, I didn’t really have any friends that liked that particular scene, so when I came out to their shows, I was always by myself. I pretty much attached myself to the band, who welcomed me with open arms. Every one of the guys treated me right away as a friend, not just a fan, and made me feel welcome and comfortable. This is how I learned firsthand about the whole red dirt music scene feeling more like a family than anything else. Everyone was so warm and open and made you feel like you were instantly a part of it all, but like you had been there forever.
I loved the energy of the shows, and the music, and the entire experience. Eventually I made an entire new set of friends because it was the same faces every time I went, it became a music family reunion at each of the shows. Not only that, but I became aware of the entire local music scene, learning about new musicians and finding new bands to love along the way. In the process of this whole new adventure, I got to be a part of Chad and the LCC’s music videos, and they even thanked me in the liner notes of their album Incommunicado. I was invited to invitation only CD listening parties, and got to be a part of after-hours jam sessions in green rooms and buses. I got to be out at The Boohatch Studios while they recorded part of their album Wicked Spell with Mike McClure. I’ve recorded and uploaded hundreds and hundreds of videos from their shows onto my YouTube account through the years, trying to help spread the love. I’ve been to birthday parties for their kids, and they have come to my birthday parties. I was around when Josh had his accident and broke his neck and wasn’t able to play for a very long time. I visited the hospital room where Chad lay recovering after his heart attack, scared and worried like so many people about what that was going to mean for his music. Every single step of the way through the last five years these guys have made me feel included, special and important. They all show genuine appreciation to their supporters and fans. They are all truly my friends, and I care about each and every one of them more than I could possibly begin to explain.
Chad and the LCC are “my” band; The band that started this whole ride for me, the band that introduced me to the Red Dirt Scene, the band that helped me find this incredible music family full of amazing music lovers and supporters like myself. They helped me through one of the most chaotic and stressful times of my life when I went through my divorce. Their music and their friendship, and the amazing music family that surrounded me with love and encouragement and support might have been the only thing keeping me going on some days. Without them I would not have half the wonderful people that I do in my life, without them I wouldn’t have been introduced to so many phenomenal musicians and made so many great friendships built around a love of music. Without them I wouldn’t be writing for Red Dirt Nation.
Everything seems to lead back to this one band, whose music I simply fell in love with by chance when I stumbled upon them in Stillwater. The entire trajectory of my life, my hobbies and passions, my friends and my social circle, changed when I met them. So it is with a very heavy heart that I bid them- as a band, as a unit, farewell. They will all obviously still be my friends, and I will gladly follow each and every one of them on whatever new musical adventure their new chapter takes them. It still breaks my heart that they won’t be all together. I only half jokingly say that this feels like being a child of divorce; you realize that now there will just be several different “Christmas” celebrations to go to, but it’s just not the same as when there was just one all together.
Chad, Josh, Jeremy, and Jesse, I thank you from the very bottom of my heart for all the amazing music and shows you have given us through the years. Thank you for your passion and drive, for your friendship and love, for making me feel like a part of something amazing. I wish you all the best in the next chapter, and I look forward to supporting you guys in whatever that may be.