5 Things You Need to Know About Dad Bod

5 Things You Need to Know About Dad Bod

We caught up with Callie Marino and Wilson Zellar of Dad Bod​ following the release of their debut EP, Precursor. Here is five things you need to know about this up and coming Minneapolis band.

On July 10th, Minneapolis four-piece Dad Bod released their first EP – a collection of six stripped tracks. Aptly titled Precursor, the project is the forerunner to a full album featuring the entire band, expected to be released later this year. This latest project deviates from the effervescent live sound that established their growing popularity amongst a local audience, and instead effectively platforms singer/songwriter Callie Marino’s songwriting and vocal skill. As the Minneapolis native described, Precursor is what Dad Bod would’ve been if it had remained a solo act – droning instrumentation underlays airy vocals reminiscent of the emo aesthetics of Phoebe Bridgers or the slowcore of Julien Baker. It’s an intimate glance at the group’s roots while outlining what promises to be an uninhibited assertion of sound in their imminent projects. Following the release of Precursor, RPM sat down with Callie and Wilson to discuss the new EP and the top things to know about Dad Bod and how the group came to be. 

1.    “Dad Bod” started as the solo project of Callie Marino – the band name having been selected from a Notes App list of potentials after needing to submit a name to perform at a DIY festival in Chicago. When she reached out to fellow Minneapolis musician Wilson Zellar to record her songs, Zellar noticed the potential her music could reach by incorporating additional instruments. Guitarist Noah Topliff and drummer Alex Gray were then brought in to form the full outfit.

2.    The thematic concepts of Precursor are centered around an examination of relationships and how they deteriorated from an outside perspective. On “Blue and Violet” Callie croons utterly gut wrenching details of a deteriorating love: “Bullet holes in my body / Don’t want to ask you to staunch the flow / We’re both dumping water off of this sinking boat”. Other tracks, such as “Milkdrinker”, reflect this quiet desperation in the face of inevitable failure: “Please don’t let go yet / Hold my hand as you fall out of love / Promise I’ll savor your touch / Hold my hand, and pull the plug”. Callie hints that on their full-length record, a lot of these concepts will be reexamined from a much more intimate, interior standpoint.

3.     The track “Elliot” on Precursor discusses the ambiguity around Elliot Smith’s death. Lyrics, “Did Elliot die by suicide / Or was he killed by someone else / Mistake echoes for answers, they say  / “If a tree falls in the woods…” reflect a longing for truth, reiterated by the refrain, “I am not the person I wanna be”. Poignant guitar lines accentuating moving vocals feel hauntingly reminiscent of the late singer’s own sonography, perhaps interlacing the song’s tragically beautiful themes of longing with Smith’s inability to reach reconciliation.

4.    Prior to Precursor, Dad Bod had put out two singles – “Rot” and “Spirits”. The first was released just a couple of months after their first performance as a band, which came just two weeks after they began rehearsing together. “Rot” is rapidly approaching its first 100k Spotify streams and follows a motif of physical deterioration to parallel something long gone. Both tracks feature heavy moments of electric guitar – something not seen on this latest EP. Specifically on “Rot” these moments feel cathartic, as if to soundtrack Callie’s emotive tenderness boiling over once it becomes insufferable.

5.    Each band member references different musical idols, which only diversifies the group’s spectrum of influence and adds to their individualistic sound. From a songwriting perspective, Callie cites Taylor Swift, Coldplay, and Keaton Henson’s devastating “rock-bottom, bathroom floor” lyrical aesthetic. Wilson’s guitar inspiration comes significantly from his favorite group, Yo La Tengo, as well as English rock icon Eric Clapton. This, coupled with drummer Alex Gray’s classical jazz training preempts an eclectic blend of impassioned vocals, pop riffs, and moments of stage-ready heaviness that suggests a level of maturity well beyond the few short months they’ve been playing together.


The Precursor EP is available on all streaming platforms now, via independent release. All sales made through Bandcamp and iTunes will be redirected to For the Gworls Party, assisting Black trans people with rent and gender-affirming surgeries.

Photo Credit: Keegan Burckhard

Similar Posts