James Callahan

VIDEO PREMIERE: In the violent chaos, NYC rockers Killcode summon a ‘New Superman’

VIDEO PREMIERE: In the violent chaos, NYC rockers Killcode summon a ‘New Superman’
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I went to grade school at a place called Fishing Creek Elementary in the shadow of Three Mile Island. Many of my classmate’s moms or dads were employed at the power plant. The facility had melted down in the middle of my fourth grade year. The entire ordeal was horrible.

It was official – summer of 1979 was the pits. I was in my last year of the single-digits age grouping and my folks had just split up. Everything that I knew was imploding all around me.

Post-divorce, we moved from Harrisburg to Northeastern Pennsylvania – new home, new friends, new life. Armed with my comics, some Star Wars sheets, a couple choice toys, and the Panasonic suitcase model record player packed with a stack of KISS records, I faced my new reality.

Once we were settled, my mother did her best to put me around kids my age who were naturally the children of her childhood friends. For all the obvious reasons, I met Charlie Banellis just like that. My mother had gone to school with his dad. She hooked up a hangout. Today, they would call it a play date, but this was 1980 and the play date was still a “hangout.”

I had heard from my mother that his father mentioned that he played guitar, which was really fucking cool… you know, because he was in fifth grade and I was in sixth. I didn’t know any guitar players up until that point. I was 10.

Now, this is where the story fractures: I recall definitely reading comics, discussing KISS, Chas playing the acoustic guitar, us being instant friends, and us being super cool. In recent discussions with Chas, he recalls we discussing which member of REO Speedwagon had the coolest hair. That fact is not that cool. Either way, we were feral ’80s kids and we rocked.

Charlie and I maintained a tight bond through high school with Chas’s band, Nutz, being the soundtrack at every underage, clandestine grove party in the Wyoming Valley.

Flash forward to Y2K: I live in Brooklyn and work in Manhattan at BIG Management Ltd. as an agent and marketing advisor to their international roster of artists. Charlie had married his high school sweetheart and moved out somewhere on Strong Island and was still playing somewhere out there with someone.

Life disconnects for a bit, hooking up a couple times at Irving Plaza – once, when his act at the time, Dirty Rig, performed and another time to see Dog Fashion Disco. Chas had a pal in the band, I believe. We lost touch again until we ran into each other one night at a booked-solid label showcase that I was hosting at a second-floor venue called Snitch. The place was owned by Scott Weiland, Brett Scallions, and a few other big rock gods. I caught Charlie out front with his current act, Killcode, getting ready to load in.

There had been some mistake. Someone had booked them onto a fully overbooked showcase without telling me or anyone on my team. It sucked ass to have to tell my lifelong partner in rock that I couldn’t fit them due to time constraints. It broke my heart, truly. But Charlie? He was totally cool and explained it on my behalf to his guys.

Another decade passes and my path leads me back to NEPA. I begin doing what I had always done – book concerts, shows, and events. Killcode became a secret weapon that I could wield for special occasions. Their live show, local popularity, and ability to pack all rooms that I put them in were all equally massive. They are also produced by Joey Z from Life of Agony, so there’s yet another reason to adore this act.

Present day: Charlie and I are, well, let’s say we aren’t those unbreakable rocker boys from Wyoming Area anymore. What we are now is so much more than that. We are boys from Harding, for sure, who chased and found their professional dreams nationally and abroad in the music industry. We are two cats from a tiny village along the Susquehanna that have toured the world, on their own terms, in the name of rock.

That all being said, when the recent call came in about a Killcode comic book music video, like Bruce Wayne to the bat signal, Camp Rattler was there. Shout out to Kristin, Shawn, Chris, and all his dudes on this one, especially our technical wizard, Jared Sokirka. It was a beast of a project.

Killcode’s release of the track “New Superman” from their latest album “Life, Death, Rock ‘n’ Roll” via New York City record label Mother West touches on an omnipotent superhero who, after losing faith in humanity, turns his back on us.

I loved the challenge of writing a companion piece that stayed within the lyrical rails while touching on relevant issues in a comic book format. Mark Del Giudice, in the part of our unfortunate anti-hero, was a big part in pulling this off – his performance is spot-on (and local music fans may recognize him as Wilkes-Barre singer/songwriter Markus A. D.). We look forward to continuing this awesome storyline with Team Killcode. Cheers!