SONIC YOUTH: With Ferreira just short of voting age, Mindwalk are already too old (and too metal) to be the next Hanson.
There is an outstanding possibility that your high-school band sucked.
If your outfit was like most others, stealing chord progressions from Blink 182 reaped a tiny following of mall-core kids who lost all interest upon discovering better local bands. After going nowhere for a few years, in a desperate bid for instant success, you went emo (as was fashionable at the time). Months later, an epic on-stage meltdown caused your singer to be hospitalized and your drummer to get divorced and put a long-overdue nail in your band’s coffin. Now you’re resigned to a future of nondescript yuppiedom. All before your 21st birthday.
But there are exceptions to this rule, like Wilmington’s Mindwalk Blvd, a bona fide non-sucky high-school band. Well, actually, two-thirds high-school — the other third is in middle school.
I had assumed that all teenagers who listen to Dream Theater would be Soul Calibur enthusiasts. Yet when I track down 17-year-old guitarist and lead vocalist (he’s also the son of Portuguese singing sensation Jorge Ferreira) Jordan Ferreira and 16-year-old bassist Mike Avakian, they’re busting caps into giant beetle asses at the Woburn Cinema’s Time Crisis 4 machine. Shortly after dispatching the vermin, the rock prodigies are slain by terrorists. Maybe they don’t usually consider video games a good use of their time.
“It’s fun rehearsing every weekend,” says Avakian a bit later, when I sit down with him, Ferreira, 13-year-old drummer Tyler Hudson, Tyler’s mom, and their “managing consultant,” who functions as a PR dude for this occasion. “I get dared to wear these robes and things when the pizza guy delivers our food, and I follow through with it. Good times. What comes after music? Making a fool out of yourself. Then you go back to play and write some stuff.”
With Ferreira just short of voting age, Mindwalk are already too old (and too metal) to be the next Hanson. Whoop-de-friggin’-do. And they’re indifferent to what anyone makes of their youth. “I don’t know. We play music” is Ferreira’s response to the “How do you feel about kids-doing-stuff-oriented newspaper articles?” question. In other words, Mindwalk rock out and don’t think too hard about why or what for. They’re not corrupted enough to concoct clever-sounding bullshit to say to reporters. Which makes a greater degree of young, vibrant brainforce available for rocking out.
But there’s little awkwardness — adolescent or situational — on Paint the Seconds, Mindwalk’s debut EP. The songs sound . . . well, penned by teenagers. Bear in mind, the same could be said of Godsmack. Omens of grander things to come flicker in the details: three-part vocal harmonies, monster shredding, five-string bass handiwork, and the wisdom-beyond-their-years to avoid really trite lyrics. They didn’t quite reign victorious at the final of this year’s WBCN Battle of the High School Bands, but the potential for what they could be doing at a median age of 21 is stupefying.