Califone is an experimental rock band formed in 1997 in Chicago, Illinois. The name of the band comes from Califone International which is an audio equipment manufacturer. The rock group has been critically acclaimed and has 13 recordings since 1998.
The band currently consists of Joe Adamik on drums, Jim Becker on banjo and violin, Ben Massarella on percussion, and Tim Rutili on vocals, guitars, and keyboards. Past members include Wil Hendricks and Brian Deck. The group was originally a solo project for frontman Tim Rutili after his former band Red Red Meat broke up.
Rutili called Califone a home project but it quickly grew into a full musical project that demanded other musicians. Eventually, it became a group once the snowball effect took place. Some of the musicians on the band are former Red Red Meat members. Other members come from other Chicago bands that broke up as well.
The style of the band is compare to blues-rock with experimental sounds at the same time. It also touches on folk music while reaching the levels of pop music as well. Rutili’s former band Red Red Meat has a huge influence on Califone’s sound, but many music critics will agree that the style tends to drift away from the former band.
The album All My Friends Are Funeral Singers, released in 2009 with Dead Oceans, is also a featured film. The film was released a year later, and the band currently plays the album soundtrack live while the film plays in front of their audience.
A documentary was also made about the experimental band called Made a Machine by Describing the Landscape in 2011. The documentary was released by IndiePix, and it presented the band on tour in the US and Europe during the promotion of their album Heron King Blues.
Some of the albums recorded by the Califone include a self –title debut album in 1998, Roomsound in 2001, Deceleration One in 2002, and Everybody’s Mother Vol. 1 in 2005. Many of their albums are known to be individually thematic and are sometimes inspired by dreams, stories, and even silent films.