For the self-proclaimed "worst-behaved rock band" in Kansas City, burnout was inevitable.
The dissolution of Shots Fired occurred on the heels of endless months of touring, including a full summer of Warped Tour in 2005 and a stint as part of Reggie and the Full Effect's stage ensemble (a gig that involved wearing pink bunny suits). "We weren't doing six-week tours like you're supposed to. We were out on the road for, like, eight months," singer and guitarist Zachary Aaron tells me over a recent round at Harry's Bar and Tables.
Drummer Billy Johnson recalls a couple of high (low?) points from the period, including a hungover phoner with The Pitch from a Los Angeles toilet and blowing a cool grand in Las Vegas after selling his house while on the road.
It has been at least two years since the all-around best band that Johnson has ever been in played live, which is why this Saturday's reunion show at the Record Bar is such a big deal. "We've got people flying in, asking us about getting group discounts at hotels," Aaron says with an air of amazement. "We're gonna do what we've never done, which is play the album cover to cover."
The album in question is a self-titled, self-released, nine-track collection of dissonant rock that came out in 2004. "It's old as fucking dirt," Aaron says. But the punching aggression of songs like "Cocaine" and "Celebration" hold up on the recording. And the sound is about to get bigger.
Previously rounded out by bassist T.J. Matthews, Shots Fired now features an extra guitarist, Cory White (who plays with Matthews and Johnson in Paper Cities), with whom Aaron and Johnson look forward to possibly writing new material.
The lineup isn't all that has changed. Although they can still party like rock stars, making a living as such isn't a goal for Aaron and Johnson. "In a band, the best you can hope for is to make it to the next day and try to get your art off," Aaron says. "It's kinda something that if you don't figure it out, life will figure it out for you."