San Francisco's Best Kid Bands

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The Bay Area has such a vibrant music scene that it’s no surprise that we are home to more than a few hardworking and talented musicians in their teens and even younger. Over the past few months, I've had the privilege of meeting and seeing some of them perform in bedrooms and garages, as well as at venues like the Rickshaw Stop, and even Treasure Island Music Festival. I am impressed with the talent, drive, and determination of these kids.

 
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Music education is almost completely absent in schools, but youth music programs like the Bay Area Girls Rock Camp in Oakland and the San Francisco Rock Project are the main music access points for many of these young musicians. These nonprofits teach diligence through practice and give the experience of performing, including feeling the nerves and conquering them – life skills that these young’ns will carry with them through the rest of their lives.


A few of these young music makers are more serious about their craft than some grown-up musicians I know. They’ve brought their rock-and-roll fantasies to life, recording both in basements and at local studios like Different Fur in San Francisco and Ex’pression College for Digital Arts in Emeryville. Some of these kids will become musicians in their adult lives, and they’ll have the advantage of years of experience behind them.

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Member:

Dashiell Prince-Judd (12)


How long have you been making music?

I have been making music for about three years.


What is your ultimate dream for your music?

I just want to be heard and understood. A big part of my music is the message, and if just one person is affected by it then I have done my job.


What project are you working on?

Right now I'm working on my second project, which will be a full-length album. It is mostly classic hip-hop but it has some electro/club feel to it. My debut EP is titled “Stay Tru.”


Who are your influences?

I started making music because of people like Bob Marley, Notorious B.I.G., Kanye West, and even my big brother Wes. I love underground Bay Area hip-hop – guys like Shark Sinatra and A-1, but recently I've been really into indie bands like The Shins and Arcade Fire.


Check out Youngking.

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Members:

Nick Rigling (12), Chris Rigling (12), Charley Rutledge (12), Max Lazarus (13)


How long have you been making music?

We have been playing for around four years. The twins, Nick and Chris, have been playing bass and drums since second grade. They have known Charley since they were three years old; they met in daycare. Max is a new addition to the band.


What is your ultimate dream for your band?

To tour the world playing music for our fans, to continue to progress as artists, and to stand up for kids less fortunate than us.


What are some of the coolest gigs you have played?

Candlestick Park, the Fillmore, and the Whisky A Go-Go in LA, and on America's Got Talent.


What project are you working on?

We released our first CD in January. We also made this music video recently.


Who are your influences?

AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, and Montrose.


Check out Haunted by Heroes.

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Member:

Jayla Hernandez (10)


How long have you been making music?

I've been playing drums for four and a half years.


What is your ultimate dream for your music?

My goal is to become a big music star. I want to be as good as Sheila E. and be able to write all my own songs, play the drums, and sing at the same time.


What are some of the coolest gigs you have played?

One of my most exciting performances was when I got to play the drums for Congresswoman Barbara Lee.


What project are you working on?

I’m currently learning how to play Beyoncé songs, like “Halo” and am about to enter my fourth year at the after-school music program with Bay Area Girls Rock Camp. The Rock Camp has really helped me improve my drumming skills and I’ve liked learning without the boys around!


Who are your influences?

I really like Pink because she is so different, she makes her own music, and she appears to be very strong. My other big influence is Beyoncé because she is such a hard worker. These two women influence me to make music and keep on working hard.


Check out Lil Drummer Girl.

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Members:

Mari Campos (18), Sofi Seligman (14), Izzi Capili (17), Alex Botkin (15)


How long have you been making music?

Sarchasm has been a band since October 2010. We have each been playing music for between four and eight years.


What is your ultimate dream for your band?

To play a sold-out show where we don’t recognize anyone in the audience.


What are some of the coolest gigs you have played?

924 Gilman show April 2012, the DNA Lounge for the Gorilla Music Battle of the Bands finals in the spring of 2012, the Oakland Metro, and, most recently, La Peña Cultural Center.


What project are you working on?

We just released a new EP and are currently working on writing new material (including a rock opera that our bassist composed). Another basement-recorded EP is in the works, to be released sometime in the summer 2013.


Who are your influences?

Mari: Inspired by Green Day, Nirvana, and Dave Grohl in general. Currently obsessing over Streetlight Manifesto, Rancid, the Matches, and Broadway Calls.

Sofi: Inspired and influenced by Green Day and Fall Out Boy. Currently listening to the Foo Fighters’ “Wasting Light” on repeat.

Izzi: Influenced and inspired by Black Sabbath and System of a Down. Currently obsessed with Carina Round.

Alex: Inspired and influenced by DEVO and Elvis Costello. Currently fanboying over Foster the People.


Check out Sarchasm.

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Members:

Sophie Fyfe (12), Jasper Nelson (12), Zara Jamey (12), Isaac Siegel-Hanly (12)


How long have you been making music?

We've been a band for almost five years now, but most of us have been playing instruments for a longer time than that.


What are some of the coolest gigs you have played?

Slim's in SF, opening up for R5.


What project are you working on?

We are finishing up our debut EP of all original music, and we just finished our first music video.


What musicians or bands influenced you to begin playing?


Now we are into Cake, The Veronicas, Justin Bieber (only Sophie!!), Beck, Jack White, Ozzy Osbourne (only Jasper!!), and Sublime. When we first started, it was Green Day and U2. And Hannah Montana. Awk.


Check out The Rotten Kids

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Members: 

Ruby Noto (13), Serena Richard (13), Clara Becker (14), Lily Glickman (14), Tess Veiga (13).


How long have you been making music? 

We started our band in fifth grade, about four years ago. We practice every Friday during the school year with the occasional gig.


What is your ultimate dream for your music? 

To be able to continue on with our band after graduation and throughout our four years of high school. We are always looking for new opportunities to share our music and put our name out there. I think that a large part of our growth and expansion is because we just enjoy writing and sharing our music and we hope to continue that.


What are some of the coolest gigs you have played? 

We played on the roof of the Idle Hand tattoo studio on Haight Street. Although it was cold, it was an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience. We also came in second place at the DeliRadio 2012 "High School Battle of the Bands." We were up against eight mostly high school-age acts, and won a bunch of studio time at Ex'pression College for Digital Arts.


Who are your influences? 

When we began, the two main bands/artists that influenced us were the Ramones and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. To begin, we tried to master some covers such as "Blitzkrieg Bop" and "I Love Rock and Roll." These songs helped us choose a genre or direction that we wanted to take our original music in. Today, our main influence would most likely be The She's. We first saw them at a show on 24th Street and immediately connected with them (being relatively close to our age and an all-girl band). Although our music has taken a slightly different direction at times, we also admired their capability to attend different high schools while maintaining the band.


Check out Vons de Qua.

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Members: 

Maddy Baltor (15), Cole Berliner (16), Sasha Berliner (14), Kyle Burke (15), Dylan Hadley (15), Zada Hathaway (11), Eric Kahler (16), Mayya Feygina (17), Timmy Stabler (13), Monica Smith (15)


How long have you been making music? 

There's a core group of about eight of us who have been playing together at Rock Project for almost six to seven years, taking lessons and performing every few months in recital/concert type performances for parents and friends. Rock Project formed the House Band Program about three and a half years ago to address the need for a regular band of the best players to play out on an ongoing basis whenever we were asked to, which now is a lot.


What is your ultimate dream for your music?  

To show everyone that kids can play music as well as adults, and rock as hard as them, too, and to open up for a big band or to play at a major stage/festival. Another goal is for people to respect us enough to get into our original music, and see us as more than just a cover band.


What are some of the coolest gigs you have played? 

We've played at the Great American Music Hall and the Rickshaw Stop, street festivals, Indie Mart and Sunday Streets, plus community service type gigs like benefits for breast cancer as well as paying gigs for organizations like Google and Airbnb, Treasure Island Music Festival, Rock Make Street Festival, Contemporary Jewish Museum, private parties, etc. We are working on teaming up with local artists and playing shows with them. We've already played Thee Parkside with Ty Segall and have opened for Victim's Family, Unnatural Ways (Ava Mendoza), Jello Biafra, and Shannon and the Clams.


What musicians or bands influenced you to begin playing? 

Being in Rock Project has exposed us to different types of rock, and even different genres like jazz and funk. We’re into local bands and artists, and new styles of rock from bands like Ty Segall, Deerhoof, and Thee Oh Sees. Some of our favorite bands are: Sonic Youth, Radiohead, Hella, Velvet Underground, The Black Keys, The Flaming Lips, Pink Floyd, the Pixies, The Residents, and Mr. Bungle. We listen to so much music of all genres and find ourselves inspired by so many different bands and styles.


Check out Rock Project House Band.

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Special thanks to Sheri Evans, Gabby Miller, Brent Turner, Stephanie Scarpulla, Dylan Brock, Kittie Richardson, and Jennifer Roy for your help in musician wrangling.

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Published on February 27, 2013, 2013

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