I was listening to Howard Stern last week, and he was interviewing Joe Walsh from the Eagles. He asked him if he thought that rock and roll was dead. I was surprised to hear that he thought it was; I don’t think it’s dead. Sleeping, maybe, but dead? Nah…. Not when you have young bands that feel the music, live it, breathe it and rock it. I had the pleasure of meeting one of those young bands on Sunday June 10th, when the boys from Plus Shipping & Handling came into Philly from their homes in Jersey to have a photo shoot for the Black and White Ball (they will be playing in the rock room at the ball).
So this is the story: When we decided to have the ball again this year, we thought it would be great to have even more music than at the last ball in ’07. Having friends in bands and friends with friends in bands, it was actually easy to get local talent who were both into the cause and into playing their music.
My friend Alice told me about two of her friends who were interested in playing at the ball. After a couple of e-mails, Dave Weber and Mitch from Little Big Thing were on board. And then I got an e-mail from one of the fathers of a band from Jersey who had heard about the ball from Dave Weber, who happens to be one of the bandmates’ uncles. I read the e-mail from Chuck, RC’s dad, who told me that his son was in a band called Plus Shipping & Handling. They are four boys in 11th and 12th grade, and they were voted best band under 18 in South Jersey. They wanted to play at our ball. Chuck mentioned that they do a lot of charity work and play at different events to help the community.
I told Chuck I would take a look at them on Facebook and get back to him. The whole idea of having a younger band was something that I thought would be so cool, for everyone. In a world where some kids are so directionless, it was nice to see a bunch of high school boys that wanted to make a difference by doing what they love to do—playing music.
So, I checked out their Facebook page and went on YouTube to see them in action. I only needed to see their rendition of Green Day’s “When I Come Around” to know I wanted them to play at our event. Their lead singer Evan has a great voice and his stage presence reminded me of the lead guys in alternative bands I saw in the 80s. Steven, Evan’s older brother, was rockin the drums and RC and Jack evened out the stage with their great guitar playing. If you get a chance to go onto YouTube and check it out you should. It’s great. (Of course, I love Green Day.)
I e-mailed Chuck and said that we would love to have them play at the ball and for them to officially put us on their calendars.
We are having seven bands at our ball, and I thought it would be great to do a photo shoot for each band. Of course, realistically, trying to get seven different groups of people to commit to one particular date would have been a little difficult, so we narrowed it down to Plus Shipping & Handling. I thought that, out of all the bands, they might enjoy the shoot the most.
We contacted them and asked if they would like to participate, and they said yes. Since I have done many shoots to showcase my work, and I have the opportunity to work with two great photographers (Matt Degennaro and Kev Von Holt,) I knew we would get some great pictures of the band (which we did).
Not wanting to take them out of their comfort zone but still wanting them to have a little fun with their look, I asked all the guys if it was cool to do whatever to their hair. They said yes. So with the parents of all the boys looking on and four cameras going off for three hours straight, Plus Shipping & Handling and Ground Zero Salons put together some really great shots.
It was funny to see them come into the salon reserved and not knowing what to expect and then to see them just chilling out and having fun. I had them first fill out a little questionnaire to get to know them. Questions like “what is you favorite type of music?” (Stephen likes metal, Evan is into all types, RC is into rock, jazz fusion and Jack likes a mix of rock, funk, jazz some metal and some alternative). I also asked if they had any pets (they all have at least one. Tom has a cat, Cindy a greyhound, Squishy a fish and a dog, Oreo.)
I asked them when they first picked up an instrument and they all said around ten years old. I then asked if they would like to pursue a career in music and they all said that they would like to do something in the field.
After they filled out the questionnaire and I did their hair, they changed into their suits and we took them to a spot behind the salon and, seriously, they turned into rock stars. I looked around and not only were there pictures being taken by us, but there were these girls standing around and taking pictures of them as well, not knowing who they were but figuring they were somebody. They were the Beatles and Elvis and Green Day all wrapped up in one.
So we want to say thank you to Stephen, Evan Jack and RC for letting three artists have fun on a Sunday in June. And just for the record- Rock and Roll does live, in South Jersey with Plus Shipping and Handling.
You can see Plus Shipping & Handling on the night of Saturday, July 21st at the Black and White Ball in the Rock room. Hopefully they will sing their original song “Show Me,” which is their favorite.