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The best kept secret in music


"Band of the Hour"

Peggy Allen wrote this article following Zerohour's performance at the Almost Famous Band Night at the Innsbrook Pavillion on June 21st. Zerohour is a garage band trio and rightfully so. The oldest member is 15, so their exposure to outside bulls**t influences is limited, except for maybe Pokemon and Playstation. They took the stage at Innsbrook with confidence and ran through originals and covers. It was raw, but it worked for these ultra young rockers. The 11- year-old girl-- thats right, 11-- playing bass was hard to see, but it was the perfect "awwww" factor. Just think moms. Her bass was as big as she was, but size did not matter. She had a natural flair for entertaining, jumping in place and singing back-up vocals, as well as playing some keyboards. It'll be years before you can see them in a club, but a record label should snatch this band up and market them to the same audience force-fed Brittany. All the other bands cheered the youngsters on. It was enough to bring tears to your eyes.Zero Hour doesn't try to be cool. They're just themselves. They did their version of Aerosmith's "Mamma Kin" and the crowd loved it. Their faults for instance, their pacing,can be explained as inexperience. But they have enthusiasm and desire. What more can you ask? - Richmond Music Journal, Vol. 9, No.10, Issue 106, August 2002


Jim Westlyn writes, Full Moon has been up and running for almost 4 years now. Lots of sessions, lots of hours of mixing and mastering. But, in the last few days of August, a trio booked time here that helped break up our routine pretty well. Zero Hour spent a busy summer playing gigs like the "Almost Famous Band" night out at the Innsbrook Pavilion, doing a video shoot at the Fusion Cafe, to air on FolkTV, and decided to come out to Full Moon to start work on their second CD. The band's lead singer/songwriter/ guitarist is Sean McCalla, his younger sister, Sarah, plays bass, keyboards and sings back up. Austin Tevis is the drummer. Nothing remarkable about a hard-working, ambitious band working a heavy warm weather schedule except that the eldest is 15 years old. With Sarah logging a full 11 years on the planet and Austin falling right in the middle at 13. I'll admit to a few concerns early on; not knowing what to expect and hoping not to feel like I'm babysitting. It took about ten minutes of working with them to dispel any of those notions. They came in with their stuff together, a relaxed but serious attitude, and ready to work. Plus, the tunes were more creative than a lot of stuff I've been hearing on the radio lately and they've got a definite unique style already apparent; you don't listen to a Zerohour song and think "That sounds like..."  I'm looking forward to being behind the glass with Zerohour for the rest of this project, with the plan being to release the CD by year's end. Keep an eye out for updates in the next few newsletters, or, better yet... Visit the Zero Hour Website at - Full Moon Studios Newsletter, September 2002

"Not a Kid Band"

Sean and Sarah McCalla's parents never tell them to turn down the music. "We were brought up with Aerosmith blaring in the house, all the time," says 11-year-old Sarah. Her brother, now 14, began guitar at age 7 "because he wanted to rock," says the bands bio. Sarah started learning piano at the same age. So no one was surprised when the siblings, with longtime friend Austin Tevis, 13, formed a band. Sean winces when people say "Awwww, how cute!" Not a lets-pretend band. They've been playing together and rehearsing faithfully for two years now; Zerohour is a real band. And it rocks. It's sound is upbeat and hard-edged, utterly unlike the sugary pop produced by more famous young musicians. Zero Hour plays songs from classic rock and pop-punk bands it admires Aerosmith, Blink-182 and Green Day but Sean's original compositions outnumber the covers. He usually sings "about something that happened in my life, or somebody I know." The petite and loquacious Sarah sings and plays keyboard, harmonica and a blue bass guitar thats almost as tall as she is. Her high-pitched voice harmonizes with Seans, who plays guitar. (The two sang in a karaoke contest at last year's Aerosmith concert, says dad and manager John McCalla. "Everybody else was out there halfway lit, trying to sing," he recalls, laughing. The kids harmonized flawlessly and won.) Austin, the quiet one, pounds the drums. The group was born in spring 2000, when Austin got a drum set, Sean brought over his guitar and they started a jam session. The next week, Sean says, Sarah joined. "It was more like the next day," she interjects. Now the band even has a Web site, There are arguments over artistic direction, but what else would you expect from a brother-and-sister team? (The first track on their first album is titled "Shut Up.")The biggest challenge they face is simply time. All three play sports, adding after-school practices to music lessons and rehearsals. Yet "they seem to be juggling," McCalla observes. The trio drew applause and shouts from road-weary runners at their most recent gig, playing in the Ukrops Monument Avenue 10K on April 13. Next is a concert at Liberty Middle School, then the Almost Famous Band Night on June 21 at the Innsbrook Pavilion. "We don't want to be known as a kid band," Sarah says. "We just want to get respect for our music." But, she adds, if that's what it takes to get a record deal, so be it. - M.S.S. - Style Weekly, May 2002

"Club Reviews - Zerohour"

Universal Bar & Grill
North Hollywood, California



The Players: Sean McCalla, guitar, vocals; Sarah McCalla, bass, vocals; Derek McCalla, guitar; Austin Tevis, drums.

Material: Much in the same vein as old-school acts like Kiss or AC/DC, but with a modern edge similar to that of the White Stripes, this unassuming group have a firm grasp of good old rock & roll. They even bust out a Hendrix cover and do it with style far beyond their years. From rock to blues, these kids (none of them are over 18) know how to jam with the best. Their rendition of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Give It Away” is a bit messy, but a crowd pleaser nonetheless.

Musicianship: Garage-style rock works well for this act. Lead vocals are fine, and most of the harmonies are good, except for a few missed notes. Sean McCalla’s voice has an almost eerie Cobain quality to it and suits the material. And most surprising, the bassist can sing the blues as well as most people twice her age –– considering she’s 13 years old.

Performance: These kids had a great time onstage and the effect went right into in the audience. The energy levels of Sean and Sarah were high, but the other two players seemed almost indifferent at times. Sean’s guitar solos were, unfortunately, drowned out and lost in the fray of a poor sound mix. Zerohour truly blazed and exhibited their utmost potential with a rousing rendition of ZZ Top’s “Just Got Paid.”

Summary: For such a young act, Zerohour’s music has an incredibly strong, highly palatable old-school rock & roll feel with a modern garage-rock edge. Siblings Sean and Sarah McCalla seem to be the focal point, but as a whole the group is still strong. While Zerohour sound good now, with more incubation time they could really go somewhere.

—Dale Hill
- The Music Connection Magazine, January 31 - February 13, 2005 Issue

"Richmond Local Notes"

Jay Smack writes "When a band is all about their music, you hate to focus on something non-musical and novel. When it comes to the Richmond band, Zerohour, their youth only underscores the seriousness with which they address their goals. The pop-punk three-piece consists of Sarah McCalla, Sean McCalla, and Austin Tevis, and when their CD Absolute Zero was released last year, the members were 12, 15, and 14 years-old respectively, but this is not some cute project by a bunch of kids. It is serious recording and they are serious about it. The band has recently even gotten themselves incorporated (Zerohour LLC), and hocked up with a booking agent from Shady Grove Entertainment/Double Down Booking. They are in the process of sending out press kits and planning a summer East Coast tour. They are also getting some high-profile gigs, having played the Fan Free Clinic Benefit in February and the South by Southwest conference in Austin in late March. Check them out online at" - 9 Volt Magazine, No. 131, April, 2004

"Local rock band on the verge of making it big"

On June 17, 2004 - Wesley Hester wrote:

Listening to Zero Hours most recent song, “Black Eye,” which will appear on their third full-length album currently in production, you get the sense that this is a band that knows rock-and-roll. Their sound is gritty and raw with a broad appeal and a personality all its own. Theyre the type of band you picture playing dirty rock clubs in the city, a band on the verge of making it big. None of this is too far from the truth. What may surprise you, however, is that the combined age of the band is 44.

Zero Hour is a Goochland rock outfit comprised of Sean McCalla, a 16-year-old Goochland High School student on guitar and vocals, his 13-year-old sister Sarah on bass and also singing, and their friend Austin Tevis, 15, on drums. Despite their ages, Zero Hour is a veteran rock band with four years experience under their belt. “We play about one gig a weekend usually, and in the summer its almost every day,” said Sean.

This summer will be more of the same schedule but in different locales, as the band embarks on their first tour of the east coast in August. This will not be the first time the band has traveled. "We just played the South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas and we did a show called Go Girls Musicwhich was only for bands with female members," said Sarah. Zero Hour is also no stranger to the Richmond rock club scene where they frequently play clubs such as Alley Katz, the Canal Club and Potters Pub.

The three band members first got together in 1991, when Sean and Sarahs parents brought them to a day care service run by Austins mother. Sean and Austin have been best friends ever since. Sean and his father both began taking guitar lessons when Sean was 7 and then Sarah decided to learn piano when she was 7 and later switched to bass guitar. In 2000, Austins parents bought him a drum kit, which he picked up immediately and that was the birth of the band.

In sixth grade, Sean decided to put a unique spin on his book report for “Call of the Wild.” Rather than write it, Sean decided to perform it with guitar and singing. Seans middle school teacher, Mahr, was so impressed that he hooked the band up with the Goochland Arts Festival where they played their first gig. Mr. Mahr, being a musician himself, sat in with the band on bass while Sarah played keyboard.

"I liked the keyboard but we needed a bass player so I started playing about three years ago and Ive done it since then,” said Sarah. Asked about their style and influences Sean explained; “We blend a lot of different hard rock styles." Sarah continued, “The bands we listen to a lot of are Aerosmith, Jet, Audioslave, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The White Stripes, stuff like that.” Austin added that their influences go back a bit as well, “We listen to some older stuff like Jimi Hendrix too.”

The bands style and sound is certainly getting them some attention and not just from local fans. “We are going to meet in July with EMI records to talk about a possible contract," said Sean. The major label interest is a stroke of good luck for the teens brought on with some help from vocal coach, Kim Woods Sandusky, who has worked with artists such as Beyonce Knowles and Destinys Child to Cinderella among others. Sean explained, “We [Sean and Sarah] went for lessons and we played her two original songs and she really liked them and she got in touch with some friends of hers at EMI.”

Currently Zero Hour is in the process of recording their third full length album by themselves at their own recording studio in the McCalla's other home in Lancaster. “We prefer recording on our own and then sending them out to get mastered," said Sean.

“We definitely plan on staying together through school and college,” said Sean. And why wouldn't they? With major record labels knocking on the door, a summer tour planned, regular radio play in Richmond and the band members just getting started on high school, Zero Hour seems to have nowhere to go but up.

- "The Central Virginia Gazette", Volume 48, Number 24, page 14


Still Want More - Currently in progress. 7 original songs have been written, 3 of which have been recorded. Anticipated release is late, 2006.

I Want It All - CD was released in April, 2006. It includes 12 original tracks. Four songs from the CD have received airplay in Richmond, VA and Santa Fe City, Argentina.

Absolute Zero - CD released September, 2003, and is available through This is a 10 track CD of original songs. Two tracks from the CD, "Absolute Zero" (title track) and "Because You Can" have received airplay on Richmond, Virginia's rock stations.

The Hour Has Come - Demo CD released in October, 2001. This CD was created as a demo and contains 9 original songs. It is in very limited circulation.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Zerohour formed in the spring of 2000, when Sean and Austin were hanging out at Austin's house and started jamming on drums and guitar. Sean's sister, Sarah, joined the next week, originally playing keyboards before making the switch to bass.

The thing that sets them apart from other bands is the age of the members. Sean is 18, Austin 17, Derek 17, and Sarah is 15. But, they always amaze audiences with their talent, confidence, maturity, and stage presence. The band is influenced by artists such as Aerosmith and Nirvana, but have worked hard to create a "Zerohour sound".

In the summer of 2002, Zerohour was one of 16 bands selected from hundreds of applicants to play the "Almost Famous Band Series" at a large outdoor venue in Richmond, Virginia. In the beginning of 2003, the band was featured in a segment on PBS TV.

In the summer of 2004, Derek McCalla, cousin of Sean and Sarah, joined the band to provide a second guitar, thereby completing their live sound.

Zerohour continues to play the club circuit in the Richmond and surrounding areas, and are perfecting their sound until they make their break into the national spotlight. They moved another step closer with their first appearance at the SXSW Festival in Austin, Texas in 2004. The band caught the attention of a number of people resulting in some Los Angeles gigs in July/August 2004. Zerohour also toured in the summer of 2004 to cities that included New York, Baltimore and Virginia Beach. They finished the summer of 2004 with a gig at New York City's famous CBGBs club.