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Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Rock Jam


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"High School Jam Band Rocks Summerfest"

Not many high school musicians can say they played a gig with one of their idols, but four teenagers in a local jam band did just that Thursday night.

Evergreen has played some pretty big gigs during their 10 months of existence — the Miramar Theater, an Admirals game and the Summer Soulstice festival on North Avenue. But Thursday afternoon, they played Milwaukee’s ultimate Big Gig, playing on the same day as one of their idols, funk legend George Clinton.

“It was Summerfest, so we were pretty hyped up for it,” said guitarist Brendan Demet. “We hadn’t played a show in 11 days, which is kind of a long time, so we were pretty excited. We thought it went really well.”

Their performance even included an ode to Parliament Funkadelic's “Give up the Funk." They then saw the band later that night.

The group played at the Refugee Stage Thursday and will play three more sets before the festival closes. They play the Tiki Hut stage at noon on Thursday, and again on Saturday at noon and 3:45 p.m.

Demet and singer/guitarist Isaac Young are both 17-year-olds from Whitefish Bay. The two played together in Second Thought, which played mainly rock covers, and after that group disbanded, they went on to form Evergreen, which has more of a bluesy jam band feel.

In addition to some impressive live shows, they also took third place in the Brass Bell Battle of the Bands.

“We started out with classic rock and that evolved into an interest in Phish and the Grateful Dead,” Young said. “(In the jam band genre) you can just improvise on the spot and create new sounds out of nowhere. It allows an artistic freedom and movement unlike any other genre, except maybe jazz.”

Evergreen was formed in October with drummer Ed Kosmatka, an 18-year-old from Brookfield. Since their beginning, they have already found new blood in their second bassist, Tyler Redmann, also of Brookfield, who Demet met through a church group.

Demet said something clicked as soon as they started to jam with each other.

“Tyler listens to a lot of funk music and plays slap bass, which is pretty exciting in a jam band,” he said.

That chemistry built on top of the existing framework Young and Demet have built together over the past six years.

Demet has been playing since he was 7, and Isaac since his late elementary school days. The two started playing together in sixth grade, so they are able to jam, trade solos and communicate better than the average 17-year-old duo.

The band has not recorded any original songs yet, but they have live recordings that are available at their shows and on their YouTube page. In addition to original songs, they also cover “Fire on the Mountain” by The Grateful Dead, “I Feel Fine” by The Beatles and “Limb by Limb” by Phish.

With Kosmatka and Redman recently graduating from high school, the band still plans to stick together. Kosmatka plans to attend the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, which is even closer to their practice space.

Looking forward, they said they will continue to hone their craft by playing as much as possible this summer, including Bastille Days on July 17. In the future, they hope to do a small Wisconsin tour.

“We play live more than any other band I know in the neighborhood,” Demet said. “We vary the set list every night because we don’t want any one show to be the same.”

And, as they say, practice makes perfect — especially in the jam world.

“We keep getting tighter the more we play together,” Young said. - Whitefish Bay Patch

"No second thoughts June 22, 2007"

Brendan Demet predicted it would happen, but his band mates only laughed.

"I said, 'Keep on laughing at me. We're going to play Summerfest.' And we got the call," Brendan said.

At the ages of 12, 13 and 14, the boys of 2nd Thought have achieved what some bands dream of for a lifetime.

They will play at Summerfest.

The band has been playing charity events, Milwaukee Admirals' matches and Marquette University basketball games for nearly three years.

Their mix of classic and contemporary rock means they play to a lot of people who could be their parents.

But the boys also have torn it up for their peers everywhere from block parties to Whitefish Bay High School fundraisers.

Not bad for a band that formed in 2004, when the founding member was only 11.

Practicing versatility
Brendan, 13, started the band with some other guys, but it didn't work. So, he recruited Anders Bjella, also 13, on drums. Braden Bjella, 12, joined after his brother.

Isaac Young, also 13, came on after he moved in down the street from the Bjella brothers.

Riley Gasiorowski, 14, introduced himself at a Whitefish Bay High School fundraiser the boys were playing.

"It was a lot of fun that first practice, stopping and starting and figuring out music," he said.

Playing their instruments for four, five, even 11 years, the boys are all studied musicians. And not just of their own instruments.

Each practice they switch. Isaac might try Anders' drums. Anders might try Riley's keyboard.

"Now I respect what Riley does even more," Braden said.

And that's their rule, their parents said. The boys hold themselves accountable, to themselves and to each other.

Even the songs are chosen democratically, Anders said.

When they want to add a new one, like the version of "Carry on My Wayward Son" that they are working on for Summerfest, the boys each pick two tunes. Then, they vote.

Keeping cool about big gig
The set list has grown to include more than 30 songs, or about two hours of music.

Pretty amazing, Brendan said, for a group that struggled through their first block party.

They played three songs before they resorted to strumming whatever came to mind.

"For about five minutes, Brendan played the James Bond theme over and over," Braden said.

"That was the coolest song I knew," Brendan said.

"Shows what we knew," Braden said.

The Summerfest show is an achievement, maybe even the pinnacle of their young lives, barring the show at Lake Bluff Middle School, which the boys agree was their best ever.

Someone stole Riley's socks. A stranger drank from Braden's Gatorade.

"Plus we've still got girls e-mailing us," Riley said.

But, if the Summerfest shows are huge for 2nd Thought, the boys aren't letting it freak them out.

"We've got to practice a lot, but it's going to be a lot of fun," Anders said.

Taking things in stride
Their parents almost seem more nervous than the boys.

Jane Gasiorowski worked at a Summerfest Root Beer Barrel when she was 16.

"I was in awe of all the people playing on the stages. To have my kid playing there is just a cool thing," she said.

"I just kind of revel quietly," Ross Bjella said.

He's got one of the band's posters near his desk. He looks at it and beams.

"It's amazing to see them so composed about playing Summerfest," he said. "They've taken everything in stride."

Inspiration to children
All the boys attend Whitefish Bay Middle School, except Riley, who just graduated.

"The best thing about being in a band is when a little kid comes up to you and tells you he has started taking instrument lessons because of you," Brendan said.

Braden also likes the growing celebrity, even if it is only in Whitefish Bay.

A woman stopped him on the street not too long ago.

"Aren't you that kid from that band?" she asked.

"That's all the recognition I need," Braden said.

- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

"Sue Sara and Greg with 2nd Thought 8/31/07"

Sue, Sara and Greg with 2nd Thought. A band of 12 to 14 year olds that do the most amazing set of classic covers you will ever see. Nailed Freebird and Frampton to name a few.

- 93.1 The Lake Madison, WI

"Thousands Attend Taste Of Madison On Capitol Square 9/1/08"

On Sunday, the Milwaukee-area group 2nd Thought drew a large crowd. The band members are all between the ages of 13 and 15 years old. The band recently won a spot on Cartoon Network's "Props," where they got to record a single with Avril Lavigne's producer in California. - Capital Times Madison, WI

"Taste of Madison: 8/28/08"

Another hot band destined for stardom, he says, is Second Thought, slated to play at 2:30 p.m. Sunday. The group recently won a spot on Cartoon Network's "Props," where they got to record a single with Avril Lavigne's guitarist and writing collaborator.

- Wisconsin State Journal

"2nd Thought on NBC 15 in Madison WI 8/31/08"

2nd Thought interviewed and featured on NBC channel 15 in Madison WI prior to Taste of Madison. - NBC

"Give them a 2nd Thought July 2008"

If you think these five boys are too young to have some serious talent — you may want to take a second look.

For Isaac Young, Braden Bjella, Anders Bjella, Riley Gasiorowski and Brendan Demet, ages 12-15 and all of Whitefish Bay, adulthood may be a few years off, but success has come calling now.

"It’s a double-edged sword, being so young," says Braden, 12, base guitar player and vocalist for 2nd Thought. "The appeal is, ‘Oh my goodness, they’re so young and make such great music!’ But it’s also like, ‘Oh, they’re young. They’re probably not that good. Let’s just skip it and move on.’"

But skipping over 2nd Thought would be a mistake. While its members are indeed young, this classic rock group has earned props that would make older bands green with envy.

"It’s pretty cool," says Brendan, 14, guitarist and vocalist. "We’re just lucky to have all the opportunities that we have."

Having just finished recording a demo CD, the group is fresh off a year of highlights — playing Summerfest in 2007, opening and closing at a Milwaukee Admirals game featuring the Goo Goo Dolls, taking part in a nationally telecast AT&T ad, and — oh yes — starring in a commercial on Cartoon Network for a contest featuring talented kids.

With so much talent up their sleeves, band members sometimes say it’s a thrill to play and see surprise replace the skepticism on people’s faces. Because whatever "it" is, these kids have it.

"Right when you open a set, when you’re playing for a bunch of people — the look on their faces is the best," says Anders, 14, drummer for 2nd Thought. "I don’t think they really expect what they’re going to hear."

When lead singer and guitarist Isaac was contacted to do the vocals in an AT&T ad with singer Meat Loaf, which aired during this year’s NCAA championship game, group members got a further boost to their self-esteem.

"Yeah, that was really fun," Isaac says. "I was just blown away."

The band members credit their parents as a major source of support.

"We have a bunch of people on our team-o-parents," Anders says. "Everyone really helps get gigs and get connections — all that stuff."

The group is currently one of 20 contestants in Cartoon Network’s "Props!" contest, which seeks to showcase America’s most talented kids. The band has a segment that regularly airs on the station; voting will take place once all 20 contestants are announced at www.cartoonnetworkprops.com.

"Whenever our little 30-second segment comes on, my mom screams and gets really excited about it," says keyboardist Riley, 15.

While success has been great, group members say they hope to continue having fun doing what they love.

"I’d love to continue playing music," Braden says. "I think it’s fun and if I can make a career out of it — hey, that’s a good thing."
- M Magazine, Milwaukee WI


"Evergreen", released June 14, 2012



Evergreen was founded in October of 2010 by Isaac Young and Brendan Demet, who shaped their guitar playing for six years before forming Evergreen with Ed Kosmatka. They quickly began frequenting Milwaukee venues such as The Miramar Theatre, where they earned a reputation for their concerts, with unique set lists each night featuring original compositions and a few classic covers, sewn together with boundless improvisation.

In 2011, Evergreen played concerts primarily in Milwaukee at Summerfest, headlining Bastille Days, Summer Soulstice, The Miramar Theatre, Crisp Pizza Bar and Fire on Water, among others. Andy Goitia joined on bass in September, also singing. The band is hastily becoming an integral part of the Milwaukee jam scene, playing with regional acts including Family Groove Company, Cosmic Railroad, Mr. Blotto, Recalcitrant, Ifdakar and Undercover Organism.

Evergreen has played more than 80 concerts in their first three years of existence. On June 14, 2012, the band released their eponymous debut album, coinciding with a CD release party at the Miramar Theatre.

Evergreen continues to expand into the greater regional scene, playing across Wisconsin at venues like the Cold Shot and Cranky Pat's in the Fox Valley, the High Noon Saloon and Mr. Robert's in Madison, Route 20 Outhouse in Racine, and festivals such as Grateful Garcia Gathering & Grateful Friends Fest, the Cosmic Railroad Family Gathering, People Fest, WIJAM Weekend and LogJam.