- Cori Bolger
- Lake Oswego Review - News
Local pre-teen band is one of five performing in Java Jam's 2007 Battle of the Bands
When they get onstage, Reed Gulick-Stutz, Grant Ellman and Ian Rogers happily crank out covers of Led Zeppelin's 'Rock and Roll' and The Who's 'Pinball Wizard.'
In between, the trio - all members of the local band Still Pending - plays a song or two from the 1994 Green Day album, 'Dookie.'
Never mind that Jimmy Page and Pete Townshend are old enough to be their grandfathers, or that, at age 35, Billie Joe Armstrong is old enough to be their pop-punk dad.
To the boys, the leading men are musical geniuses and the songs, well, they're all classics - 'Dookie' came out two years before they were born.
Don't remind them, please.
'We just want to be good, not good for our age,' Gulick-Stutz explained.
Still, they know their ages - 11, 11 and 12, respectively - work to their advantage. By dabbling in music since before kindergarten, the boys quickly sharpened their skills as both players and performers to rival older musicians.
They'll be the youngest band showcasing their talents at the city of Lake Oswego's 2007 Java Jam Battle of the Bands May 19.
'It was kind of an honor to be selected,' said Ellman's dad, David, who's also the band's manager.
Gulick-Stutz, of Lake Oswego, plays guitar and sings; Rogers, of Tigard, plays bass; and Ellman, of Lake Oswego, plays drums and sings.
Their sound - alternative pop-rock (Green Day meets Red Hot Chili Peppers), complete with shaggy hair, face-melting guitar solos, thumping bass lines and blistering beats - pleases adults as much as kids.
'These guys are the real deal,' David Ellman. 'We're not making them get onstage. They're controlling everything and they're all about the music.'
Still Pending was formed in 2005 by Gulick-Stutz and Ellman, who both attend the Arbor School for Arts and Sciences. Rogers, a student at Twality Middle School, joined the band after the original bassist left to 'pursue other interests.'
Like any other band, the members of Still Pending work through creative differences and decide which songs are put on the set list at each gig.
The band was the closing act at last year's Baby Woodstock Festival in Portland. Members also performed at Art in the Plaza in Lake Oswego's Millennium Park Plaza in August.
Even more notably, they provided the live soundtrack for the Oregon Children's Theatre 42-show production of 'Alexander, Who's Not, Not, Not, Not, Not, Not Going to Move!'
They missed a lot of school that month, Ellman noted.
Last January, Still Pending rocked the Crystal Ballroom in downtown Portland for a crowd of 900. It was their favorite gig so far, and clips of the show got thousands of hits on YouTube.com.
Then, there's the Radio Disney interview Still Pending recently completed, along with the dozens of CDs that go out around the world - including fans in Japan, Australia and Denmark. Fittingly, they named the album 'Innocent Days.'
'These kids are making money,' David Ellman said, adding that the band pays for their own expenses, from travel to T-shirts.
Lessons from a local musician come in handy, too. Most of all, being a rock star takes dedication.
While they spend three or four evenings a week rehearsing at Roger's house, their peers are busy with sports or video games, they said.
'Kids (play music) a little while but then nobody wants to practice,' Ellman said. 'If you do the work, you get good, but a lot of kids just quit.'
Together, the boys write original songs, such as their favorite 'After You,' an energetic piece influenced by the Green Day sound ('It's pretty freakin' sweet,' Rogers said of the song).
For the new generation of musicians, being a band isn't what it used to be. To a certain degree, the Internet's made it easier.
David Ellman lines up gigs and promotes the band with the help of modern tools: YouTube.com (where Still Pending has dozens of uploaded videos) and MySpace.com (the band has 5,700 friends and counting).
The Cartoon Network heard of the band and put them in its online 'Props' talent search contest among 15 others: athletes, a comedian and a drag racer.
If Still Pending wins by a Web-based vote - which opened May 7 - they'll appear on the network in September and receive an yet-to-be-named grand prize.
'We might get to professionally record or meet a celebrity or go on tour,' Gulick-Stutz said.
'Or we could just ditch school,' Rogers chimed in.
'Ooh, that'd be fun,' Ellman quipped.
They're already good at what they do and they have the rest of their lives to keep getting better. Their proud parents can only imagine what the future may entail.
Like the name, it's ... Still Pending.
For more information about Still Pending, visit www.stillpending.com or www.myspace.com/stillpend ing. To vote for Still Pending in the Cartoon Network's 'Props' talent search contest, visit www.cartoonnetwork.com/props.