By Rob van Alstyne
By Zach McCormick
By Emily Eveland
By Jack Spencer
By Michael Madden
By Reed Fischer
By Emily Weiss
By Emily Weiss
It is said that it takes a village to raise a child, but how about a progressive rock 'n' roll band? Mom plays bass, Daddy the guitars and vocals, and with best friends who drum and play keys, baby has the coolest parental guidance in town. Growing up in the arms of Bouncer Fighter, seven-month-old Charlie is one lucky lass.
Already showing signs of musical talent, little Charlie likes to rock out on her keyboard, and thus far, Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon seems to be her album of choice. Parents Isabel Waryan and Caleb Pease joke that all this musical influence will cause their babe to rebel in the opposite direction.
"Watch, someday she'll turn out to be a lawyer or DEA agent," Pease laughs.
One may assume that the family state would've hindered or at least put Bouncer Fighter's music—an eclectic, eccentric mix of edgy rock and crude country—on hold, but the band saw the situation as a make-it-or-break-it point and decided it was time to get more serious—to a degree, of course.
In anticipation of the new human, the band held a Baby Rock show at the Kitty Cat Klub the day before Waryan's due date. It was one of their favorite shows to date; Pease even recorded Charlie's heartbeat in the womb, which he played to start the show.
"I was huge and the dress I was wearing made me look like a bell," Waryan says. "People kept shouting, 'Have the baby already!'"
Meeting at Espresso Royal on a Monday night, the group slouches into plush couches, wearing worn-in T-shirts and cool smiles. Little Charlie is passed between Mom and Dad, cooing and kicking with a bandana tied around her head for a baby-gangster appearance.
With attitudes more positive than presidential candidates, the members of Bouncer Fighter are genuinely optimistic people—and it's surprisingly not annoying.
Calling themselves a satirical American band, they agree that once you get past the corruption, they love America for "the right reasons": its beauty, creative culture, and good people. In the lyrics Pease wrote for the song "Grizzly Bears & Electric Chairs," he speaks exactly to the band's bright outlook.
"Life's too sad to be cryin' all the time and it's too good to be hiding out/Even if god's on the side of the grizzly bears and electric chairs, all the dungeon spikes and shark bites of this world/You just gotta put on your good livin' suit/Be it skin and bones with lungs attached," he sings with rough, wild confidence, echoed by Evan Malone and a frustrated thrashing of guitars and symbols.
Bouncer Fighter formed in the fall of 2007, but three of the bandmates, Malone, Pease, and Waryan, had been playing music together since high school. The three friends were playing a basement show as their other band, the Illusive Little Dippers, when they met Graham Faulkner. Their music writing process is still as organic as it was on their first practice.
"It's funny how we work because we don't have everything crazy together," Pease says, while the others nod.
The band collectively jokes that they used to be such a "ghetto band," borrowing equipment for shows and accidentally breaking the stuff they had. Waryan said at some point she even lost her bass, and for eight shows she was left to find one by chance.
"I'd stand on the stage before a show and ask the audience if anybody had a bass I could borrow," she says.
"Regardless, we always make it happen," Malone assures, not without a smirk.