December 15, 2020 by Rachael Contreras
For lucky number seven of Rachael-O-Rama, I bring you a fantastic rock band that is a must hear.  They are creative, energetic, detailed and talented.  They are Civic in the Sun.
Civic in the Sun may be new to most of us but they have been writing and recording for almost four years.  Their true love for music made it difficult for them to choose which genre of rock they’d like to create.  Since they didn’t want to change their style and leave their current fans hanging in the wind wondering what the hell happened, they took their time fine-tuning their craft and sound to create something they loved and wanted to stick with… and we are thankful for their thoroughness because holy hell, they are sensational!  Lead singer Aaron Perilo told me, “We want to revive rock in way we feel most connected to it.” Great words from true artists! 

Like most artist, it takes a little time before the masses catch on. That’s unless you come from some previous successful act, or from music royalty. The average Joe has to earn their way to the spotlight. For Civic in the Sun, they didn’t take any shortcuts. They’ve earned every bit of success thus far. That said, the masses started to take notice on September 18, 2020 when they made an appearance on the very popular Heidi and Frank morning show (Stay or Go segment) on 95.5fm KLOS.
The Music Gods were looking down kindly on the band that day. Ever since that appearance, music fans and industry insiders keep telling Alexa to play that song AGAIN and AGAIN and AGAIN!
Civic in the Sun is difficult to describe, and that’s a big compliment.  No one is looking for sound-a-likes and these guys have created their own sound and vibe.  They’re melodic, but also heavy and manic, they’re theatrical, but also raw and aggressive.  Civic in the Sun instantly stands out and you won’t be able to get “Tell Me I’m Pretty” out of your head” | Keith Cunningham, Program Director, 95.5 KLOS

I had the pleasure of interviewing Aaron Perilo front-man for Civic in the Sun that explained where the band name came from, “Civic in the Sun gets its name from a previous band that the other guys had.  Years ago, Xander was living in his Honda Civic and the rest of the name matched the street that Ethan lived on.  When we formed our band, we kept somewhat of the name and created Civic in the Sun.  Either that or they look at me as their source of energy like the sun.”  (laughter ensues) I told him I thought the story was going to go in more of a “I used to live in my car and want to be reminded of the hard days so I never forget where I came from” direction.  Aaron said that sounded much better so I should just go with that and strike what he said from the record (which was met with more laughter on both ends of the phone call).  So, if you’re wondering where the name came from, go with the latter part of that story.
CITS’s four song EP came out earlier this year with great reviews.  The EP’s songs, Crash, Drown, Tell Me I’m Pretty, and Fixes all have a great grunge yet alternative rock vibe. They liken their sound to Stone Temple Piolets, Nirvana, Queens of the Stone Age, Royal Blood (and I’d add Alice in Chains to that list!) and hit the mark with their heavy guitar and deep melodic vocals.  

I asked Aaron about their popular single and meaning behind the compelling video to Tell Me I’m Pretty and he told me this: “The song is about our frustration with the ‘selfie’ social climate and this obsession with having to be validated all the time.  By doing this you’re imprisoning yourself in this world that is never going to validate you as much as you want.  It’s a sickness, I suppose.  The whole violence part (of the video) is just an example of what this town can do to someone.  So many people move out here to just make it ‘big’ but it can chew you up and spit you out.  We’re a band from Hollywood so we thought it was appropriate to point it all out.”
Aaron went on to say, “The video is up for interpretation but the captors represent Hollywood and the ironic part is that I’m there on my own will.”  He said that the fun part of making that video was standing in those locations that were shot in black and white while he interacted with the general public (all wearing masks) in his “Charlie Chaplin” style fish-out-of-water costume in modern Hollywood with makeup on his face. He said that the awkwardness between he and the bystanders was not acting since he actually pretended to be a weirdo dressed up handing out papers (what was on those papers we will never know, kind of like the note in the teapot from Jim to Pam in The Office).  We can thank lead guitarist Xander for his exceptional cinematography on this video.
Although, no one asked to take a selfie with Aaron while in his 1920’s garb, he did have someone bow to him.  Hey, it’s Hollywood.

The last seven months have left an opening in Civic in the Sun’s masterplan which allowed them to work on a new album, come up with concepts, new songs, the music video… once the whole quarantine thing is over, they are excited to go on tour and share what they love with everyone else.  If their EP is this good, I’m dying to hear how incredible their new album will be!  They are even in talks with a few labels so they will soon be signed!  A well-deserved accomplishment.
Fun and exciting fact about Aaron, he is an actor and has played many roles but my personal favorite is the role of Blackburn in season 4 of HBO’s True Blood where he plays a sheriff from the American Vampire League to help Stephen Moyer’s character, Bill Compton with the necromancing witches and has one of the coolest death scenes in the franchise.  He also has a movie out on Amazon Prime that he co-wrote and co-stars in. 
Civic in the Sun is very active on their Instagram.  Aaron told me, “We try to be as interactive as possible and post to show we are just a bunch of ‘Jabroni’s’ trying to make some music” (they are big “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” fans).
A by quote Mark Twain, “Find a job you enjoy doing, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Has apparently resonated with Aaron.  He told me his bandmates are everything and having them to collaborate with is a blessing and “we’ve just grown a lot together in the last three to four years.”
2020 has robbed of us many things. Including being able to see Civic in the Sun live. They are electricity personified. The band features Aaron Perilo (Vox), Ethan Almeida (Guitar), Xander Gregory (Lead Guitar), Alex Wolfe “Big Al” (Bass/Backing Vox) and Nik Legg (Drums). Trust me, see them when we get back to life, they’re that good!

Since 2020 has also robbed us of a current photo of the band playing live, here’s a photo of a Civic in the Sun. Hopefully the band gets our humor.
All kidding aside, check this band out so you can say you knew who they were before they blew up.




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