Updated: Jul 8, 2019
Forming a high school band is the stuff of teenage dreams. From jamming and impressing classmates to performing at school concerts with dodgy sound equipment, it is a unique experience. Most of these bands are short lived. Still, there are a few musical troupes that manage to remain together for the rest of their lives. Here's a few such bands, that started out from school.
1. The Rolling Stones
Before they rolled on their own, Keith Richards and Mick Jagger were students in the Dartford Maypole Country Primary School. During this time, Mick started his own garage band performing covers by blues artists like Muddy Waters. A few years later in 1961, Keith and Mick met again at the Dartford railway station. Seeing a Muddy Waters record in Mick’s hand, Keith started a conversation revealing his interest in similar music.
Common interests led to a friendship between the two. Jamming at each other’s houses, they began to recruit more boys from the local schools. Muddy Waters in some way or the other, had always helped the band even with their name. When asked by a journalist for the band's name, slide guitarist Brian Jones saw a Muddy Waters LP lying on the floor; one of the tracks was "Rollin' Stone".
2. Maroon 5
Pop rock band Maroon 5 have had a major shift in their sound over the years. An even bigger shift was in their name! Four students of Los Angeles’s Brentwood School (including frontman Adam Levine) formed a band called Kara’s Flowers. Kara here was the name of a girl that the band had a ‘collective crush’ on! Classic high school.
Noticed by record executives, Kara’s Flowers were signed during their school days but their debut album failed to make a mark. So, the band broke but eventually got back together in college. A new member James Valentine (the current lead guitarist) joined the four-member band, and it was rechristened ‘Maroon 5’.
3. Green Day
Like many other rock band’s origins, Green Day was also born out of the lead singer and guitarist’s friendship (bass guitarist in this case). Billy Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt were 14 when they went to Pinole Valley High School and formed a band called Sweet Children. Hiring a drummer who was later to be replaced by Trey Cool, Sweet Children rose to prominence as California’s punk rockers.
While being signed, the band had to change their name to avoid confusion with another local band called Sweet Baby. For a new name, the band-mates turned towards something that they loved. Apart from music, what was the one thing that they were fond of? Smoking cannabis! And that’s how Green Day was born.
Unlike all the above-mentioned cases, Irish rockers U2 weren’t best friends from school. They were just students of a Dublin school picked at random. Legend has it that 14-year-old Larry Mullen Jr. put up a note on the school notice board, asking for musicians who could join a band. Six boys responded and arrived at Larry’s house for auditions.
Among these were singer Paul Hewson, guitarist David Evans and bassist Adam Clayton. These three went on to be future members of the band, taking up the stage names, Bono, The Edge and…Adam Clayton (Adam wasn’t a fan of fancy stage personas). Larry had decided during these auditions that this group will be called ‘The Larry Mullen Band’ but a few minutes later, Bono walked in. The moment he sang, Larry knew he had blown all chances of being in charge! Bono became the frontman while Larry handled drums. And these four still stick together as one of the greatest rock bands ever.
5. Boyz II Men
We conclude this list with some rhythm and blues now. Known for their emotional ballads and acapella harmonies, Boyz II Men were a unique attraction from their school days (quite literally). Calling their group ‘Unique Attraction’, the three current members were joined by many more who used to overhear them practicing. Interestingly, the group used to practice in the school’s washrooms which had some excellent acoustics!
If you can think of more bands that stated out at school, do feel free to drop a comment below.
Shaurya Singh Thapa