So one night I stumbled into a Wednesday night jam I frequent (and occasionally host) up in Aurora, Ontario at Sgt. Peppers (put on by the fantastic people at MusicLynk). There are a lot of regulars who come, so I usually know what/who to expect – except this time things were a little different. To my surprise, there was a group of people I’d never seen before on stage, rocking out. The group had an extremely large audience there to see them, which for a jam is pretty rare. Most jams are usually just a room full of musicians waiting their turn and talking music or comparing equipment. The band proceded to rip through versions of songs by The Who, Black Keys and BTO and even threw in an original composition. I proceeded to smile from ear to ear. Once in a while something restores my faith in humainity. The band was called the Undeclared, and they were all under the age of fourteen.
This band from York Region (Aurora, Newmarket and Holland Landing to be exact) is good, and not just for their age. Their guitarist and vocalist Peter (age twelve) seriously shreds on his Gretsch White Falcon and addresses the audience like a pro. On drums is Charlotte, a twelve year old that can pound the skins with a talent way beyond her years, as she rips through classic drum lines with ease. Then there’s Ian, the youngest of the group at age eleven, hammering on the piano like a miniature Jerry Lee Lewis. Rounding off the lineup is bassist Jack, the oldest of the group at age thirteen, plucking away like a young Paul McCartney on his Hofner bass. All the kids sing and interact like seasoned professionals with a ready set list and look. You can also tell they love to play, and that they’re all good friends.
It is clear that these kids have some pretty cool and supportive parents. They all looked so proud as they watched their children rock out, and even helped them load their gear in and out of the club (which was super cute). With their newly acquired tour van, expanding set list and professional attitude, this group of youngsters is just getting started practicing several times a week at a professional jam space, as well as taking weekly lessons on their respective instruments. It seems the community around them is really excited for their talents and can’t wait to see where they take it.
It’s great to see young kids having a passion for rock and roll because these days, they don’t get “fed” that much of it. Growing up in Canada in the 90’s was a great time for rock music. Bands like Sloan, I Mother Earth, The Headstones, Moist and a thousand others rocked the airwaves daily, both on radio and television. There was a lot of support for Canadian bands, both through television and radio, which these days has all but disappeared. Muchmusic used to actually play music and late night specialty shows such as “The Wedge” and “Going Coastal”. 102.1 The Edge had specialty shows late at night, including “Indie Hour” and “Punkorama”. Those are all relics of the past. In an industry that’s full of publicity stunts and auto tune, it’s fantastic to see some up and comers who care about THE MUSIC.
The band will be rocking their first headlining gig at Sgt. Peppers in Aurora, Ontario this Saturday, December 14th, and the band is in high spirits for the event. They are expecting a packed house and are excited to rock some songs they’ve never played for an audience before. If you are in York Region you should definetly go check out this free event. Tell em’ Matt Groopie sent ya 😉
For more on the band check them out on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/UndeclaredTheBand