The World’s Youngest Rock Band from Pacifica
by Kellie Morlock
May 2012— I’ve always been intrigued by what it takes to make a band really rock. My friend Brent Turner is doing just that with some rising young stars, before they even enter their wonder years. He manages the “world’s youngest rock band,” a group called Haunted By Heroes, out of Pacifica. A former rocker himself, Turner discovered this talented group of hard-core youngsters three years ago and has helped them grow into the national spotlight. He doesn’t do it alone. The kids are the driving force, and they are nurtured and supported by their parents. It is a team effort, sustained by hard work, enthusiasm and eardrums of steel.
I met Phillip — the father of twins Nick and Chris — gleefully listening to well-seasoned musicians pounding it out in Half Moon Bay. It was immediately apparent where his kids’ passion for music originated. The loudly amplified speakers throbbing close by only enhanced his mood. His young rockers obviously did not fall far from the tree.
Rocking the house is nothing new for his talented 11-year-old twins and their band-mates — they’ve been hanging together since pre-school and officially performing together nearly half their lives. All born in 2000, they truly represent the new millennium of rock. How did this all begin? It was because of the success of young stars like Justin Bieber and Usher, who started when they were around 10 years old. By the time Bieber turned 12, the boys started dreaming of doing the same thing. They began pursuing that goal at age 6.
So what does it take to become so hot and talented at such a tender age? Their mother Karen likens it to preparing for the Olympics: discipline, enthusiasm and hard work. The boys start each weekday at middle school accompanied by two or more hours of homework, then add three weekly two-hour rehearsals and a music lesson and their ever-expanding performance schedule. Somehow they fit basketball and skateboarding into their rare moments of downtime. Karen makes sure to check in with them regularly to see how they are handling the schedule. When she brings up the option of dialing it back, the boys just look at her like she’s crazy. They are truly living their dream and can’t imagine doing anything else.
In the process of managing the band, Turner keeps the worst of the music business away from the boys. Having experienced it before, he keeps the nasty aspects away so they can simply secure the notice they so richly deserve. He must be doing something right, because the local NBC television station’s story about the band was recently picked up by the Today show. In March they opened for rock legends Y & T at the Fillmore in San Francisco and will be performing in Earth Day festivities around the Bay. Having already graced the stage of legendary Hollywood club the Whiskey A Go Go, they headline the Roxy in May with a West Coast tour up next.
Karen works with Turner in the day-to-day management of the boys, with Philip the head roadie and chief decision maker. He also helps guide their musicianship; both he and his son have taken drum lessons from Larry Howe, the drummer playing the night we met. Having sung with Howe and his colleagues Rich Felix and Vinnie Fornesi, I can personally attest that this is where steel eardrums come in handy. My ears and vocals chords simply cannot compete.
The adults do all they can to shield the boys from the stress and rollercoaster ride of the music industry, so they can focus on playing and having fun. Karen is also the most excited when good things happen. Dad and the boys just take it all in stride. It appears that Karen will soon have a lot more to celebrate, as Haunted By Heroes is just getting started. The boys haven’t even turned 12 yet.