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School House Rock

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School House Rock

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Ciara Rooke

What inspires you to make music?

Nothing really inspires me, I just kind of have to do it. Like [I] always go to the piano once a day. Whenever I take breaks from my homework I’ll go to the piano, or whenever I have any free time I’ll just play music or listen to music.

Why do you have to do it?

It’s like when you have an itch that you need to scratch–you kind of just have to do it. Yeah, but I love doing it.

What type of music do you play?

I play a lot of soul and R&B, and occasional gospel, I guess.

Do you play covers mostly or do you write your own music?

I do a lot of covers. During my shows, I almost only do covers, but I started writing more recently, and I want to write. I just don’t like showing people my stuff.

How do you think that music has influenced your life or how you see things?

It’s definitely influenced my life a lot because I’ve met a ton of new people through music. I’ve met a ton of new frIends, some of whom are my best friends. I grew up with music, because my grandpa was a pastor in the church, and so there was a lot of church and gospel music, so I was kind of raised on it. And I think it affects me in the best way possible, ‘cause I need music for everything. Like, a soundtrack.

Did you sing in your church?

Yeah. We used to visit our family in L.A. a lot, who… always go to church – (we don’t) and I’d always sing seven-part harmonies with them and do all these cool things, and that kind of got me started in music.

You mentioned playing shows. When did you start getting really serious about it and booking?

In seventh or eighth grade I started getting really serious about things. It started at my friend’s mom’s 50th birthday, and then it went into us having a half an hour gig at Hopmonk, and then enough people showed up to that where they told us that we could do a two-hour show, and more gigs started asking us to do these shows ‘cause we kept sellIng out, and then we just continuously have done two to three hour shows for the past two or three years.

You say ‘we’ – do you have a band?

Yeah, I have a band. I’m the only kid. The youngest one besides me is thirty or thirty-one, and my mom plays piano in the band. We have a drummer named Justin, a bassist named Rob, and then Brett, who’s a music teacher in Mill Valley; he plays guitar for us.

Describe your experiences with getting gigs and how frequently you do them.

My mom always had a lot of connections, and so she would usually talk to people or people would ask her about it and ask for her number, and we could book certain gigs. It’s usually for a full show for two to three hours that’s open to the public. It’s usually once every three months or so. But then we also got booked at private weddings and birthday parties and business parties and holiday parties and such, so that can happen once a month or once every two months.

What are your top three songs that you think everybody needs to hear?

I love listening to The Strokes, like anything The Strokes is cool. I really like “Biking (Solo)” by Frank Ocean. I really like “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Aretha Franklin. And then I like anything Foo Fighters.

What is your first memorable moment that influenced you to make music or to sing?

I think it was at my grandma’s house, and my uncle and two of his daughters just picked up a guitar and randomly started playing, and then one of them started singing this super religious song, and then her sister joined in, and then eventually my entire family, like 100 people, started singing this song. And it was not planned at all, and everyone just started singing different harmonies. So it was this perfect gospel choir and it wasn’t planned at all, and it was really cool. 

Ciara Rooke’s Advice to Aspiring Student Musicians:

Don’t waste your time doing things that aren’t helpful for you, like going on your phone the entire time when you could be practicing or playing music that you really enjoy.

 


Dow Jones

Image left to right: Carmel Dow, Manu Pardoe, Savvy Edmonds, Christina Vella

What kind of music do you guys play?

Manu: It kind of goes with what we’re feeling, really.

Carmel: Something the parents can enjoy.

Manu: Usually they’re like good oldie classics.

Carmel: So like funk, old classic rock.

Savvy: Yeah, a lot of sixties, just anything from there.

Are you strictly a school band? 

Carmel: We originated here, but we have done gigs outside of school.

Christina: Yeah, so we’ve taken it outside of school for sure.

Manu: Within the last year for sure we’ve kind of pulled it a little bit in.

Savvy: Stuck to school.

What inspires you to make music?

Carmel: Honestly, for me, it’s just sort of a fun thing for me to do, and I’m not sure we’re serious as in we’re gonna continue to play later.

Manu: Continue Dow Jones at least.

Carmel: Yeah, we’ll all continue music separately, but for now it’s just really fun to pick a song and then learn it together.

Manu: Especially a song we all really like.

Carmel: It’s quite a hard ritual to pick the songs but once we get it, it’s really fun.

Savvy: I think that once we have good songs too, like we’ve all had a lot of fun at the gigs we’ve done outside of school. It’s kind of a cool experience to have and it adds another element to it, with a lot of other people hearing us other than Tam parents.

What gigs have you done?

Manu: We’ve done the Marin County Fair, something with the Marin IJ.

Carmel: We played in the Memorial Day Parade.

Christina: On the Grilly’s truck.

Manu: We did Porchfest in San Francisco?

Christina: No it was San Rafael.

What inspires you to play together?

Manu: I would say Carmel.

Savvy: I’m gonna say Carmel too.

Christina: You are the one.

Manu: I honestly think it’s the songs we pick.

Christina: It’s like if you hear a song you love and you get to play it it’s even more fun.

Carmel: It’s more enjoyable that way.

Savvy: We did this one song, “I just can’t give you up” and we pushed ourselves.

Manu: It was really complex.

Savvy: Yeah it was definetely a challenge for us to play, but it came together so well and we enjoyed it every time we played it and we played it so many times.

Do you do all covers exclusively?

Manu: Yes, with one exception.

Carmel: Sophomore year over the summer we had time to make a song and it’s our favorite song.

What’s the song called? 

Manu: “Dan The Van Man”.

Carmel: We had fun making it, it’s just a matter of time.

Christina: Getting organized.

Carmel: We just had the time for it, like it was over the summer that we did all the recording for that back when we had time, and school doesn’t help. It just kinda came together. We didn’t really try to make a song, we just started adding things. 

Manu: Yeah, it’s actually a funny story. My sister worked with this dude named Dan, who’s a man, who lives in a van, so he needed a song for a podcast he was doing, and he was like, ‘Can you guys write a song for us,’ and we were like ‘Yeah’ but we waited a really long time to do it, and we made it, the basis of it, and then we just wrote the lyrics over it and it ended up being pretty funny, pretty good.

Christina: I think that during the summer was kind of our creative peak.

Manu: We were just so bored and having fun.

Where did your name come from?

Manu: That’s also a good story!

Savvy: It was when we were first in band class freshman year and [Mr. T.] was like, ‘Alright you guys need band names,’ and we had no idea, and he came around to us and was like, ‘Alright what’s your band name,’ and we were like, ‘I don’t know’, but Carmel’s last name is Dow, and he had her brother in one of his choir classes from previous years, and so since he knew that, he was like ‘All right, Dow Jones and the Industrials’ and so it just kind of stuck like that.

Carmel: It wasn’t until recently actually that I asked him, ‘Why Dow Jones and the Industrials?’ and him and like a college roommate or something had been talking about different band names and thought that would be a good band name, and so he kinda brought that .

Christina: Yeah, that happened like 20 or 30 years ago when he had the idea so he had this opportunity .

Savvy: And it kinda grew on us too.

 


Chez Delang

Image left to right: Chaz Delong, Hartley Hood, Mack Parlamis, Kyle Hood

What is the story behind your band’s name?

Chaz: So it all started around two years ago. I do the Art Faire for Tam High art, and I was in Honors back then, and pretty much I had one of my pieces submitted and I got it hung up. Everybody else’s names were spelled perfectly, and then I looked at my name and it was spelled, ‘Chez Delang,’ and I thought it was really hilarious. This actually happened way before the band was even formed, but then when we were in the car on the way over to band practice one day. We were discussing what our band name should be, ‘cause beforehand we were just a group of people who were making music together. We never had a name, never thought of it. I was telling that story, and immediately Mac’s older sister Izzy was like, ‘That should be your band name,’ and then Mac was like, ‘Yeah,’ and they were all on board with it. At first I hated it, but it eventually grew on me, because I knew that it was really individual and no one else would be named that.

What style of music do you play?

Chaz: Alternative Grunge.

Mack: Reggae.

Chaz (laughing): No no no, alternative grunge.

What inspires you guys to make music?

Chaz: It’s something that I’ve been very familiar with since I was a little kid. You know a lot of kids grew up with Xbox, but all I had was a little CD player in a bedroom. That was my whole life growing up, just listening to albums and getting those influences. It’s something that’s so familiar and I have such a deep passion and love for, and it pushes me everyday to continue songwriting.

Kyle: I picked up bass freshman year ‘cause I went to my brother’s concert and thought, ‘Huh. I could probably do that,’ So I did. So, now I’m in this band, and it’s super fun.

Hartley: My story for how I started music is stupid. I just was signing up for classes in middle school and saw guitar and decided to [sign up]… Eventually I started to really enjoy it, and I’ve always enjoyed studying music theory so — 

Chaz: Hartley’s the nerd of the band.

Hartley (continuing to talk): –getting to play music and have fun while also continuing this study.

Mack: I just like playing music. I don’t know, I’ve just always done it. 

What is your group’s dynamic? 

Mack: We all hate each other.

[All laugh]

Kyle: We give each other a lot of shit.

Chaz: Nah, we love each other. Like, you know, these two [Kyle and Hartley] were friends of mine, and I’ve always known these guys in middle school, and I just thought these were really cool dudes, and this guy [Mack] I met at band camp a couple years ago and he was like, ‘Oh I play drums and skateboard,’ and I do the same thing so … we work really well together and that’s one reason I wanted to push this band forward and spend a lot of time on it, because I knew that this group of people works really well and there’s no major disputes among band members, no beef, no unnecessary quarrelling. Iit just all runs smoothly.

Kyle: Yeah, we get along pretty well I’d say.

 

What brought your band together? 

Kyle: Basically, at the start of 2018, me, Hartley, and Chaz were thinking about doing this program called MY AMP where we would be able to get together every week and practice some tunes and eventually play a show, and it was originally gonna be just a trio with Hartley on guitar and vocals, me on bass, and Chaz on drums. And then Mack was also looking to do MY AMP and needed a band — 

Mack: I mean, I had been doing MY AMP for a couple years.

Chaz: What happened was I wanted to do guitar and vocals. I wanted to play drums but also I wanted to do guitar and vocals.

Mack: I was kinda a shitty drummer, like I could play, so he was like, ‘Oh I know this kid just put him in your band’.

Chaz: No, I contacted you — 

Mack: Oh yeah, that’s true.

Chaz: No I was like, ‘Hey Mack you wanna be in this band?’ and you were like, ‘Yeah!’ ‘cause I’ve known Mack for like, probably longer than I’ve known these two [Kyle and Hartley].

Mack: Yeah I’ve known Chaz for a while. I’ve known [Kyle and Hartley] longer than you.

Chaz: Yeah, that’s the weird thing, but anyway, I contacted Mack and I knew he was a fantastic drummer, and I was like, Yo, Mack, come join this band and be the drummer. We’re gonna cover a lot of cool grunge songs like Nirvana, and he was like, Fuck yeah,’ and that’s sort of how it came to be, in a nutshell.

Hartley: Our first gig through that program was a show of like nine covers, and it was half me on vocals and half Chaz on vocals, and half the songs Chaz was drumming on and Mack would be on guitar, and so we kinda came up with this original that our group wrote, and it was awful.

Chaz: It was awful.

Mack: Oh it was terrible, it was so bad.

Hartley: We just kinda realized that the dynamic with Mack on drums, me on guitar, and Chaz on vocals was the best.

Chaz: That’s what works. That’s what works the best.

Mack: I think that what really works about the band is that we all play each other’s instruments

Chaz: Yeah, like sometimes at the end of practice we’ll have these jams where I’ll get on the kit, he’ll get on the bass, he’ll get on the guitar, and you’ll get on — 

Hartley: I’ll stay on guitar.

[All laugh]

Hartley: Sometimes I’ll just get on piano, sometimes just the mic, and screaming.

Mack: Yeah, screaming. 

What is your schedule like?

Chaz: Well, for gigs, it’s whenever we can get one, essentially, so there’s no really clear, set schedule for gigs and even if the gig lands on a day when we’re doing something we have to cancel everything. It’s not often that you get gigs. They’re pretty hard to get, especially nowadays, so we’re lucky if we can get one.

What are your favorite songs, and could you walk us through their creation?

Hartley: That’s a really good question, because I bet we all have different favorite songs

Chaz: Yeah… Man, that is a really good question! If we had to come up with a collective favorite song —

Mack: No no no, individual favorites.

Chaz: Individual favorites?

Kyle: I don’t think we could come up with a collective favorite song, but I’ve got a favorite one It’s called “Barracks/Lost Cause,” it’s been around for a while, since we wrote it like right after we recorded our EP.

Chaz: So it’s only been heard live.

Kyle: Yeah, ‘cause Chaz was writing these two different songs, but they were both very similar and in the same key, both pretty short, so we decided to put them together. So it starts off with this little barracks thing, and it’s really short and it goes into the longer part called Lost Cause and I think it’s probably my favorite part because of the bass line.

Chaz: The bass line is awesome. 

Kyle: I do a lot of just chromatic fun stuff.

Chaz: Yeah, you like chromatic

Kyle: It’s one of my favorite things, I just really like how it got fleshed out. I think it sounds really good.

Hartley: Probably the newest one we’ve done, “White Wall.” It’s one of the few ones that I’ve written, ‘cause I wrote parts of that song a while ago, and I kind of showed some of it to the band, and I know the main riff when I first played it [Chaz] quite liked it, and I actually went to your house, Chaz, to have a songwriting session, and we kinda wrote the song. But afterwards I just didn’t like how it turned out.

Chaz: Yeah, we forgot about it for like three months, and I brought it back and was like, ‘Have you finished the song?’

Hartley: And I was like, ‘Oh yeah, I need to do that.’ So I did finally do that, I brought it to the bad — 

Mack: Well he didn’t finish it, we all finished it.

Hartley: Well, yeah, I wrote the song, brought it to the band, and then we [did] the outro of the song, actually it’s still here, on this paper, cause we decided on a certain time signature change, and we decided to make it more complicated than it needed to be, and we just kept bouncing stupid ideas off of each other, and we were laughing a lot, but I know that you hated the time signature

Chaz: I hated it.

Hartley: But then I had this one idea and you were finally on board, so it was a bunch of stupid ideas.

Mack: It was actually an idea that Hartley brought up jokingly that Chaz ended up liking .

Chaz: What about you Mack, what’s your favorite song? 

Mack: Oh, uh… I don’t know.

Chaz: I feel like you like “Winter” a lot.

Mack: I do like, “Winter,” but I also like “Chad.” I really like “Chad,” especially because of the new fill.

Chaz: The fill is so sick, and a lot of the songs we’re mentioning aren’t on the EP .

Mack: They’re new songs.

Chaz: I guess my favorite song, is it still “American Football?” I don’t know. It might be. I love “American Football.”

Mack: I know a lot of people whose favorite song is “American Football.”

Chaz: Yeah, honestly I might just have to say “American Football.”

Hartley: I know a lot of people who don’t like it.

Chaz: You need to hang out with new people. 

[All Laugh]

Chaz: With that song, I put a lot more thought into it than it seems, as in the lyrics of the song are extremely negative, and it’s because it’s about a social issue, and I wrote the song so that it’s constructed with only major chords. Like the major scale is super happy, so it’s a happy tone, and I sort of, just, like, not awful, but, just awful.

Mack: Pretty dark.

Chaz: Yeah, yeah, dark, that’s what I was looking for. 


Chez Delang’s Advice To Aspiring Student Musicians

No matter how bad, not worthy, talentless, sort of insecure you are, if you’re really really passionate about music you just gotta keep trying. I’ve seen so many people who truly have this love for music but they don’t put in the effort and they get just emotionally and physically drained and they feel that they can’t go on and they just stop doing it … Don’t be afraid to be kinda mean. If you’re in a band with a lot of people who aren’t as passionate as you, don’t be in that band.

Chez Delang’s Songs You Need to Listen To

  • How to Disappear Completely – Radiohead
  • Pyramid Song- Radiohead
  • Obstacle 2 – Interpol
  • Boys Will be Boys – Stella Donnelly
  • An Ending (Ascent) – Brian Eno
  • I Want You (She’s So Heavy) – The Beatles
  • War Pigs – Black Sabbath
  • Footsteps in the Dark, pts 1 + 2 – The Isley Brothers

Photos by Niulan Wright

About the Writers
Josie Spiegelman, Op/Ed Editor

Josie Spiegelman is a junior at Tamalpais High School and an Op/Ed editor for The Tam News. When she’s not listening for heard in the hallways, she plays...

Niulan Wright, Features Editor

Niulan Wright is a junior at Tamalpais High and a Features editor of The Tam News. She also participates in Leadership, AIM, and SOAR. In her free time...

Zoe Cowan, Features/Photo Editor

Zoe Cowan is a senior at Tamalpais High School and a Features and Photo Editor of The Tam News. She enjoys photography, making weird vegan food, and spending...

Leah Fullerton, Features Editor

Leah Fullerton is a junior at Tamalpais High School and is a Features editor for The Tam News, previously a Lifestyles editor. She participates in the...

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