The Music Industry Is Just Fine… For Rock Bands Whose Members Are Younger Than 20

anthonyjmiccio | July 2, 2008 2:45 am
Thanks to teenage acts’ obvious appeal to young audiences, not to mention underage performers’ understandable gullibility and relative lack of pretension, more of the music industry is following Disney’s lead and putting more people who aren’t old enough to vote on stage. Variety has the story of Drive A, a group that sounds like a hard-rock Hanson (riffs plus pubescent vocals). While labels are ready to sign these kids faster than you could say “Mmmbop,” the Malibu band has yet to sign to a major, as they (or their handlers, label or no, teenage bands don’t play the Royal Albert Hall without a bigwig manager) aren’t exactly sure what the label would do for them. Plus, they’d rather play the Warped Tour than star in Camp Rock 2: The Legend Of Joe Jonas’ Gold.

“It’s really cool, but if you’re going for longetivity, maybe it’s not the best way to go,” says Drive A’s 16-year-old bass player Ashton Moio. “You end up getting overexposed before you have a solid fan base. People start to associate the band with a TV show and when the show is gone, you kind of forget about the band, too.”

Lead singer and guitarist Bruno Mascolo agrees: “In a year we’d all be like, I wish we hadn’t done that.”

Make that “a couple of years,” adds Moio, because “in a year we’d all have Lamborghinis and stuff. Maybe in 10 years I’d regret it.”

Turning down that kind of exposure may be surprising for an up-and-coming band. But talent managers applaud the move.

As long as it’s about the music, the added exposure that comes from TV is a bonus, says [William Morris music agent Julie] Colbert, who cautions, “The minute you start acting, you’re making a career choice.”

But that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of Rock Band the way underage metal band Crooked X has!

Crooked X, a heavy metal band made up of 14-year-olds and signed by William Morris last year, have a song featured on the soundtrack for MTV’s popular “Rock Band” vidgame. Because of that deal, MTV is now developing a reality show around the band.

The music in games “are imprinted on everyone’s brain,” says Drive A’s 17-year-old Jason Nott, who sings and plays rhythm guitar. “If you’re hearing it all the time, you’re curious who it is. It also doesn’t seem like it’s selling out.”

Whether or not the current wave of teenpop is a passing fad, labels may increasingly have little desire to sign people old enough to drink, what with their desire to either just please their cults on the company dime or celebrate massive success by growing facial hair and recording with Brian Eno in Jamaica for six months. Because unlike fogies like Panic At The Disco, sprats like these are just happy to rock out.

Young Bands Drawn To Sirens’ Song [Variety]Drive A In London [YouTube]CROOKED X!!! Rock and Roll Dream [YouTube]