Caught Off Guard
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Caught Off Guard

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"Caught Off Guard - Playful foursome sells blood for beer"

When everything you do revolves around living, breathing, drinking and playing with each other for almost three years straight, you're bound to experiment. Calgary foursome Caught Off Guard have gnashed out their sophomore album, Let's Play, and on their unofficial three year anniversary, August 6, which is also the last stop on their cross Canada tour, they plan to formally uprear its veritable release.

Vigour will detonate while their imaginations accelerate and those home-brewed, hyper-exaggerated live-show theatrics shall once again become laced together while manifesting rigorous, surging licks atop whipping stick strokes to blow out a cumulative theme: unity. An unlikely group of musical assassins, creating their own dictum, singer Rafi Munoz, guitarist Adam Ostick, bassist James “Enzo” Moreland and drummer Nathan "Fitzy" Fitzsimmons bear down to deliver a glaringly self-sufficient effort, flashing their signature party ideology where the means justify the end, and they've got everything they need: people, pals and a predilection to party.

“Our biggest stance is about bringing people together,” Moreland begins. “If you wanna check out a band who's going to make you feel a whole lot better about the stuff that’s going on in your life and just get up and dance and make brand new friends with the person next to you - if even no more than just that moment - then we are the epitome of what you’re looking for.”

Capturing that live energy in the recording process took a while, which may be attributed to an endorsement from Rockstar, and most recently Big Johnson Ink, but Caught Off Guard's PR virtuoso Fitzsimmons - who may have been in law school, if not for his inclination to percussion - has been networking and the band has been gigging their way into a niche that, if nothing else, just wants to party their asses off and celebrate the essence of life: fun and enjoying whatever they can in the present tense.

Their harmonious consent to live in poverty for the next 20 years - with the provision that their lives are dedicated to music - Moreland admits, seriously, but with a wanton grin: “I will sell blood for beer for the band…. We all would be happy spending nine months out of the year touring and recording and having absolutely no money and barely scraping by.” He continues, “I think we've accepted that this is all we really want to do with our lives and we're willing to do whatever it takes to get us to a point where it is what our lives are about. We don’t need to make it big; we don't need to be successful; as long as we‘re staying true to ourselves.” - BeatRoute Magazine


"New Music Fest - Best Punk Nominee"

Caught Off Guard made it into the top 3 for Best New Punk at the New Music Festival 2011. - Barrie New Music Fest 2011


"CAUGHT OFF GUARD - ska punk party animals"

For over 40 years now, punk rock bands have been rebelling against mainstream manufactured-for-radio music with loud, distorted ballads and a ‘we’re-gonna-do-whatever-the-hell-we-want attitude’. The original image of this scene has transformed over the years, but its philosophy still holds strong. In the late 1990s, ska's third wave revival collided with punk rock and enjoyed a resurgence in popularity. But, the turn of the century and a saturation of ska bands in the music scene unfortunately contributed to this genre being left behind.

Thank goodness for bands like Calgary-based Caught Off Guard who have captured the essence of this '90s fusion and are not about to let it die. They cleverly combine elements of ska, punk, rock, and even toss in some select metal traits to achieve their own punk-ska sound that begs to be the soundtrack for parties. Drawing from influences such as Reel Big Fish and Rancid, Caught Off Guard’s music contains solid, up-beat drumming, exuberant, catchy bass lines, technically articulate guitar riffs and a contrast of punchy and screaming vocals.

That being said, it is not enough to just hear them to really appreciate what they do; you need to see them live. These twenty-somethings have been playing together since 2008 and as a result they possess a chemistry that allows each member to showcase their individual skills without losing any qualities of their overall sound. Furthermore, their stage presence has the ability to put even the mellowest show-goer in a partying mood. Crowd interaction is a top priority at a Caught Off Guard show. The band has been known to play on table tops, hang from light fixtures, crowd surf, and piggy back audience members (all made possible thanks to wireless equipment). It is no wonder bassist Enzo Moreland describes their energy level as a “9.7 on a scale of 1 to 3.”

Since touring eastern Canada in November, Caught Off Guard have been working with Wellcraft Music in Ontario (who featured them as Artist of the Month in January) to release their new album, scheduled to be complete in June 2011. However, according to drummer Nathan Fitzsimmons, most of the new songs will be kept in the vault. “We’ve been working really hard and we’ve been writing a lot of really good stuff. But we have a tendency to write it and release it and before we’ve even recorded it — it’s already old and familiar. We kind of want to save it so that the new songs and the new album come out at the same time.”

Lead vocalist Rafi Munoz adds, “Which is just more incentive for people to get the new album. The CD release party for the new album will be the first time that you hear half of the songs off the album.”

To coincide with the release of their new album, Caught Off Guard is planning a coast to coast Canadian tour in June. Specific dates and locations have not yet been confirmed, but there is no doubt that these ska-punk rockers will leave any city they visit with ringing ears, nasty hangovers and stories to tell the grandkids.

In the meantime, catch this quartet of party animals at their John Belushi memorial toga party this month. Make sure that you dress up, though – Munoz insists on it. Like any of their shows, this one is sure to be a full-out party filled with antics that only the boys of Caught Off Guard are brave enough to execute. - BeatRoute Magazine


"Live Review - CAUGHT OFF GUARD, COLIN DECKER FREE FALL, BLACK EARTH"

It was 10:15 p.m. when Black Earth took the stage. Lead vocalist Erika Leah immediately removed the pajamas pants that she was wearing to expose a pair of fake denim underwear atop a pair of leotards. This girl has sex appeal and stage presence. Her comrades are equally as entertaining to watch as each member plays their respective instruments with passion and precision, fully engaging their audience and encouraging them to sing along to some fantastic alternative music. Leah’s vocals add an innocent (but strong) melody to Anthony J’s articulate, speedy guitar riffs and solos and the punk-y undertones produced by bassist Glen Murdock and drummer Steve Richter.

Next up was Colin Decker Free Fall. To follow suit, frontman Darren Ollinger asked the crowd if he should take his pants off, too. After three songs worth of hesitation, he went ahead and stripped down to his skivvies. Colin Decker Free Fall filled the room with good old fashioned, high-energy punk rock.

The party shifted into fifth gear the instant Fitzy whacked his drumsticks together. Caught Off Guard brought a combination of old and new ska punk songs, including some choice covers, all performed with the utmost enthusiasm. The essence of a stage is totally lost on the boys of Caught Off Guard. The use of wireless equipment allowed bassist Enzo Moreland to lose himself in the mosh pit numerous times (crowd surfing included). You couldn’t always see him, but you could definitely hear that he never missed a beat – indeed, none of the band members did. Vocalist Rafi Munoz joined Moreland in the crowd and climbed on the speakers while guitarist Adam Ostick was bombarded by the mosh pit that continually overflowed onto the stage. It had been three months since the band played in Calgary but the double encore request they received is indicative of just how much fun these guys are to watch. - BeatRoute Magazine


"Wellcraft Music - Artist of the Month"

After starting work on our new record in Ontario, Wellcraft Music made us their Artist of the Month. - Wellcraft music


"Caught Off Guard- Local band works on a new pop-punk-party revival"

"Punk rock mixology 101: One part sour candy, one part beer in an unwashed glass, two parts ska-tinged riffs. Shake, stir, filter through a guitar amp and what do you get? A pint of raucous party rock 'n' roll that tastes a lot like Caught Off Guard."

"The party aspect that we have brought in the last year or so to our show . . . is really, really what's motivating us to keep doing it," explains Moreland. "All the music we've been writing has been really light-hearted and fun and just the stuff that you don't want to do anything other than pound back a beer and just dance with your friends to. Not saying we've lost touch with our punk rock or metal guitar roots here and there 'cause we definitely still do, but we're trying to make stuff that people are gonna love."

It's precisely that emphasis on interactive performances and a stance against genre elitism that make Caught Off Guard simultaneously aggressively punk and personally disarming. - The Gauntlet - U of C


Discography

2009 - The Carpet Store Chronicles EP

2010 - Caught Off Guard (S/T)

2011 - Let's Play

Radio Airplay: CJSW, CKUM, X92.9 "Project Punk" & "Xposure"

Self-Titled
Track #2 - Waste Away
Track #7 - This City Has a Severe Lack of Superheroes
Track #9 - Double Secret Probation
Interviews on CJSW & X92.9
Chart on CJSW Aug 2010

Let's Play!
Track #1 Dropouts
Track #2 Mr. President There's Been a Change of Plans
Track #3 Russell Crowe Crashed my House Party
Track #10 1, 2, Kung Fu
Interviews on CKUM, CJSW & X92.9
Live Performance on CJSW
1, 2, Kung Fu Charted at #5 on CKUM Aug 2011
Mr. President... Charted at #2 on CKUM Jan 2012

Photos

Bio

Since 2008 Caught Off Guard has taken up the challenge of bringing the excitement and raw energy back to rock and roll. Four young kids from Calgary who once came together from very different musical backgrounds, bringing with them their own flavor and influences, have grown and evolved into a group of musicians with a strikingly original sound and style. In the earlier years Caught Off Guard dabbled in tunes rooted in various genres ranging from metal and progressive rock to hip hop or punk rock. After a few years and their first 2 releases (The Untitled EP - 2009; Caught Off Guard - 2010), the band has found something uniquely their own. The final product was a blend of 90's skate punk, third wave ska feel, feverously fast lyrics and a touch of balls to the walls guitars. This new direction in sound has been embodied within their sophomore full length album ('Let's Play' - 2011) which has been release to much critical acclaim and success. Keeping with a rigorous touring schedule Caught Off Guard has become widely known for their incredibly energetic and highly entertaining live performance. For a group branded as 'Party Punks', they live up to their moniker by regularly hanging from ceilings, playing from the street, tops of cars and starting their own dance circles or mosh pits. Driven by their catchy hook filled music and a passion for bringing people together for a 'Good time, all the time', it is certain Caught Off Guard will continue to be a rising force in the Canadian music scene for a long time to come.