MEET THE BAND: Bobby Vaughn (vocals, guitars)
HONOR ROLL STUDENTS: Early in 2006, singer Bobby Vaughn and guitarist Daniel Weiss, both of whom played together in high school in the indie rock band Honor Roll, started the Promise Hero. The group issued its self-titled album that same year and picked up some momentum by opening shows for the popular local hardcore act Between Home and Serenity. They quickly signed to the Chicago-based label TDR Records. The songwriting was originally a collaboration between Vaughn and Weiss, but Vaughn eventually became the sole member of the group. In the past decade, the band has released two EPs and two LPs; it has collectively sold over 5,000 albums to date. "I'm always looking for advice on what to call the group since the No. 1 thing that it is is fun," says Vaughn. "I always felt like there was a team of people working with me on the band. Even as members change, there's always a team. My dream is to have a solid lineup of musicians but I think I might just be waiting for the right people to show interest. I do love making it my No. 1 thing."
THE DOWNWRITE STUFF: Vaughn works as a Downwrite Artist and is part of a community where musicians tell other people's stories through custom songwriting. "I write personalized songs for people," he says. "It's fun for people to browse through the different artists who can write songs for you. I can sometimes go months without working on a song, but it's a cool thing that I'm happy to be a part of. Co-creators [Spitalfield's] Mark Rose and [Braid's] Bob Nanna are guys whose music I really like too."
WHY YOU SHOULD HEAR THEM: The band's new album, Demonstration Tapes, features a 28-track collection from the band's career, including demos, B-sides and acoustic songs. The album is limited to 100 physical copies only on CD. Tunes such as "Long Way Home" and "Oxygen" show off Vaughn's sharp pop sensibilities as he draws equally from emo rockers such as Weezer and classic pop/rock acts like the Beach Boys. "It's a little bit of everything," Vaughn says of the album. "There's even a new song I just finished recording a couple of months ago and songs that date back from 2006. I'm really proud of the demos we recorded with Chris Conley from Saves the Day. No one has really heard those before. The fun part about demoing is that I can try anything creatively. We have a lot of fun doing them."
WHERE YOU CAN HEAR THEM: thepromisehero.com.
WHERE YOU CAN SEE THEM: Promise Hero performs at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, March 3, at the B-Side Liquor Lounge & Arcade.