The Break
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The Break

Park Ridge, Illinois, United States | SELF

Park Ridge, Illinois, United States | SELF
Band Rock Alternative


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



"What Makes "The Break""

Music is a force that can bring people together, forming the strongest bonds, ties created because of a common passion. This could not be truer for Miles Malin, Sean Cahil-Lemme, Matt Gieser, and Paul Ansani of the alternative/indie band, The Break. Together, these four young musicians have accomplished so much, not one of them yet hitting their 20-year mark. The Break is currently recording their second album, and they have performed at numerous venues in Chicago, such as the Metra, Lincoln Hall, Hard Rock Café, and the Beat Kitchen. The Chicago Sun Times and WGN News has given great reviews of their music. While all of these attributes are most impressive, I find their real success to be in their history, their journey to where they are today. That story is one of a lifelong friendship and dedication between these four, as well as endless support and love for their music.

The Break has been together for almost six years, forming in 2007. Yes, this means that these four have been playing together since they were in seventh grade. Friends throughout elementary and middle school, Miles, Sean, Matt, and Paul shared a love for music from a young age. Sean, with a great voice, Miles on the guitar, Matt on the drums, and Paul on the bass, it wasn’t long before they started performing. I remember the first time I saw them, playing at a our local church’s annual “Battle of the Bands’ at the end of eighth grade. With the other bands consisting of upperclassmen high school kids, every one was most impressed with The Breaks’ performance. They were the talk of the school for their cover of “Use Somebody” in our high school v-show. They began giving out their CDs at school for free, not caring if people threw them away or thought it to be strange. They just wanted to get their music out there. Soon enough, every one at our high school knew who these kids were, and then every one in the town. Because of this, they were asked to play at many other events, and were mentioned numerous times in our local newspaper. This increased exposure because of their persistence to become known is what lead them to many other performance opportunities at legendary venues.

What draws people so much to The Break is this history between them, which is eminent on stage. Seeing them live on stage, their energy is felt through the audience, and their easygoing vibe demonstrates how comfortable they are on stage and with each other. Even through online videos of them, you can see how much fun they’re having during their performance, talking and joking with the crowd and with each other, moving freely to the music as they play, yet remaining in sync with one another. That is no doubt because they’re playing with their best friends, and for their friends in the audience. Although these boys have parted ways, three of them going to DePaul University, and one at University of Illinois, this has not kept them from their music. Just this past month, the Break performed at DePaul’s Battle of the Bands at Lincoln Hall, and their fourth member made the long drive home just to join his team and play at the event. Even in distance, the Break is continuing to record and perform, which shows their dedication not only to their music, but one another. To me, this is the most important ingredient in the road to artist success; an insatiable loyalty to your craft and those you do it with. With their many performances, 1,076 “likes” on Facebook, and tracks available for purchase on iTunes, The Break is the perfect example to show 8th Stage developing musicians how important dedication is the artist’s key to success.

Check out their track Here Tonight!

Kristie Daniels

- The ST8GE Blog

"Aemmp feature artist" - Columbia Records Aemmp


Armed with a mature sound and a keen ability to produce catchy hooks, The Break rose in the local music scene throughout their high school careers, even headlining a 2012 invitation-only Grammy viewing party at Lincoln Hall. The alt-rockers are currently putting the final touches on their second LP; for now, check out “Learn to Dance”.

The Break – “Learn to Dance” - LOCAL LOOP

"Park Ridge bands share expectations of ‘making it’ in music biz"

The suburban garage is just as much a part of rock music as the Gibson guitar.

For Park Ridge’s The Common Place, it’s the tiny Merrill Street garage of drummer Cameron Wolters that serves as a practice studio and creative gathering place until bigger and better things come along.

Unfortunately, the environment can have its drawbacks.

“The police were just here,” members of the quintet remarked during a May 25 practice session that, for the band’s very first time, was interrupted by a visit from a Park Ridge police officer responding to a neighbor’s complaint about the noise.

The garage door was promptly shut, the amplifiers reluctantly turned down.

Like the dozens of teenage bands across Park Ridge, The Common Place has a simple goal: to play music that others, besides themselves, can enjoy.

“We all just want to play for people and just get attention,” said bass player Chris Neri.

“Everyone here is my friend,” added vocalist Ryan Finn. “It doesn’t even matter that much about being that good. I just enjoy coming here.”

And like other bands, The Common Place, which also includes Jake Kay on lead guitar and Luke Paoletti on rhythm guitar, is starting out small, performing at parties thrown by family members and friends, school variety shows, and the occasional concert geared toward teen musicians and audiences.

Formed more than a year ago while members were still students at Emerson Middle School in Niles, The Common Place is riding the first waves of local recognition following a performance earlier this month at Bobbapalooza, an annual teen-band showcase, where members took home an award for drawing the largest number of fans.

The musicians credit social media, particularly Facebook, in getting the word out about the show to their friends and Maine South High School classmates. The rockers also showcase their talents on the band’s Youtube channel, with their version of the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Can’t Stop” generating more than 130 views.

The band members agree that their short-term goals are just to play for audiences and have fun doing so. For Neri, a long-term goal might involve writing original songs and, eventually, “getting some kind of album created” to solidify the band’s musicianship as “official.”

“Maybe (it would be) like a side gig, like a hobby almost,” Neri mused. “Unless it got to the point where we had to commit full-time.”

“Yeah, that would be nice,” Finn remarked.

Joining the ranks of professional, full-time musicians can be daunting. Jared Skiba, organizer of Bobbapalooza and owner of Allegro Music in Park Ridge, where many of the city’s young performers pick up their first six-strings, acknowledges that it is difficult to give advice to teenage bands when the entire music industry is in the midst of constant change. The business has changed dramatically, he said, because technology has affected how consumers purchase music and how musicians earn money from their talents.

“The band has to market and promote itself and do a lot of the work that was traditionally done by the (record) labels and management because the money isn’t there from record sales anymore,” Skiba said.

Networking is more important than ever, especially among other bands, he added. That way musicians can get themselves on good concert billings and earn more recognition.

“They need to become business-savvy,” Skiba said.

The Break, another Park Ridge teen band, knows all about the success that comes from networking and grass-roots marketing. Formed in 2007, the alternative rock band’s members are now graduating from Maine South High School and planning a multi-state tour this summer. They’ve also recorded original songs that are available for purchase through a local record label on iTunes, and have performed at a Chicago Grammy Awards telecast and on the local TV show, “Chic-A-Go-Go,” on their resumes.

“I would totally put any success we had on just networking,” said drummer Matt Gie - Chicago Sun Times

"What is up with Chicago's five must see local bands?"


The Break has had a busy spring with a performance at the annual South by Southwest Festival in March and a gig on April 20 at Chicago’s International Pop Overthrow Festival. Next up for The Break is Sausage Fest in Wrigleyville on Saturday, June 2 and a July 8 show at the Lincoln Park Arts Festival. Stay tuned to The Break at as more shows may be added before June 2. - The Examiner

"Five of Chicago's best band sounds of spring"


The Break’s biography describes the talented group as a true to form great rock band that aims to put the next hook in your head. Hot off their latest gig at the annual South by Southwest Fest in Austin, Texas, The Break has a spring live show lineup that includes an April 7 gig at the Abbey Pub and a show on the Chicago leg of the International Pop Overthrow Festival scheduled for Redline Tap, 7006 N. Glenwood Avenue, Chicago on Friday, April 20 at 11:15 p.m. For more information visit

Continue reading on Five of Chicago's best band sounds of spring - Chicago Live Music | - Chicago Examiner

"Chicagoans Mourn Houston's Death"

This is a video content news story featuring The Break performing at the 54th Grammy Chicago Awards Night. - ABC 7 NEWS

"Could Grammy gig be Park Ridge Bands big "Break""

Park Ridge rock band The Break got their start playing low-key school variety shows and church festivals.

On Feb. 12 they will have a part in the American music industry’s biggest awards night of the year, the Grammys.

The Break, consisting of Maine South High School seniors Sean Cahill-Lemme, Paul Ansani, Matt Gieser and Miles Malin, has been selected to headline a concert during the 54th Annual Grammy Awards telecast viewing party presented by the Chicago Chapter of the Recording Academy. The event will take place at Lincoln Hall in Chicago’s Lakeview community and is an invitation-only show open to members of the Recording Academy of Chicago.

“It’s really kind of big in the music industry to be able to headline an event like this,” said Gieser, the band’s drummer, who expects many industry executives to be in attendance.

The Break recently joined Chicago’s Recording Academy, as well.

“We asked the Break to perform at the viewing party because we felt they had a unique sound, a great attitude and an intelligent outlook on their future careers,” said Sarah Mudler, project manager for the Chicago Chapter of the Recording Academy. “They are a bright bunch of young men and we will no doubt see a lot from them in the future.”

The Break will perform during the opening reception hour of the viewing party, which begins at 6 p.m. The Grammy Awards broadcast will follow at 7 p.m. and will be shown on large screens inside the venue.

The Break, formed when members were just eighth-graders at Emerson Middle School in Niles, has performed at numerous venues across Chicago, including Lincoln Hall, the Hard Rock Cafe, Beat Kitchen, Edison Park’s Emerald Isle, Abby Pub and Subterranean. They are hoping to perform at a festival in Austin, Texas, in March and would like to tour several cities on the East Coast.

The band has also recorded several original songs that are available for purchase on iTunes. The Break’s newest single is entitled “Here Tonight” and they expect to perform their original material at the Grammy’s viewing party.

Gieser said the band’s exposure has been due to successful networking.

“It’s been really great. We’re meeting tons and tons of people just playing music, doing what we love,” he said. “There’s nothing better.” - Herald Advocate

"Recording Academy taps Park Ridge band to play Grammy Awards party"

Made up of four Maine South seniors, The Break will play at Lincoln Hall in Chicago for members of The Recording Academy Chicago Chapter before a live viewing of the Grammy Awards.

The performance is a prime opportunity for the young group — aside from gaining more experience, members hope to catch the attention of industry professionals in the room.

“We’re pretty excited. We were on a dry spell,” said Matt Gieser, 18, the drummer of the band. “Hopefully we’ll be playing to the right ear.”

Self-taught musicians, Gieser, Paul Ansani, Miles Malin and Sean Cahill-Lemme, all of Park Ridge, formed their band in the halls of Emerson Middle School about five years ago. Their music falls somewhere in between indie rock and alternative, though they also cover songs from the Beatles to The Who to Coldplay.

Since eighth grade, the teens have spent nearly all of their free time practicing in each other’s homes, jamming on the weekends and improving their skills.

They’ve grown up together, chronicled in pictures with awkward haircuts and braces.

“You can date our era by how skinny our jeans are,” joked Ansani, 17, the group’s bassist, whose father belonged to the band Material Issue.

Though they’ve been a band for almost five years, their music careers evolved during their sophomore year when they played The Metro twice. That’s the same year they didn’t make their high school’s variety show.

As they became more established, the group created a website, recorded an album and traveled across the Midwest to play at different venues. They’ve also performed at various venues in Chicago, like Schubas, The Elbo Room and Reggie’s Rock Club. The Grammy night performance will be their second time playing Lincoln Hall.

Everything they make from shows to iTunes sales is funneled back to their music to pay for recording sessions and promotional items, like buttons and T-shirts. Often, they play for free hoping to increase their exposure and fan base.

Less than a year ago, The Break joined the Chicago Chapter, which offers a variety of events and informational sessions for its members.

Typically, the Chicago Chapter’s Grammy party features young musicians to add something fresh to the event,said Sarah Mudler, senior project manager for The Recording Academy Chicago Chapter. The Break stood out because of their music and professionalism.

“I think they’re really exciting and very put together,” Mudler said. “They had their heads on straight — that’s something we noticed here.”

Though they juggle school and performing, the teens say it’s not too overwhelming. If anything, balancing both worlds has helped them develop more intricate social skills.

“Being in the band has made us a lot more mature than kids our own age,” said Malin, 17, lead guitarist.

With graduation looming, band members said they plan to stay together though they’ll likely attend different colleges across the state. This spring, they plan on playing at the SXSW music festival in Austin, Texas, and will put the finishing touches on their first official music video. During the summer, they’ll hit the East Coast for a week-long tour.

“I think it’s like a little taste of what can be,” Cahill-Lemme, the lead singer who turns 18 on Sunday, said of the Grammy party. “It’s a step and it’s a huge step and it’s awesome.”
- Chicago Tribune

"The Break #3 on thesixtyone"

Check out The Break's song, Give It All Away, rocking at #3 on thesixtyone, November,2011 - thesixtyone

"Here Tonight - The Break"

I usually avoid plugging my friends’ shit. I’ve tried, time and time and time again, to stay away from nepotism; it’s the little fucking gnat that annoys the shit out of me whenever I peruse other blogs. “OMG MY BEST FRIEND’S COUSIN’S FOURTEEN-YEAR-OLD STEPBROTHER IS AMAZING AT RAP!! CHEKK HIM OUTT!!!” Fuck, no. But, in the case of Chicago outfit The Break, I’ll break (no goddamn pun intended, and don’t doubt my lack of purposeful punnyness) my personal rules and rep the shit out of them. “Here Tonight,” a track that debuted at the legendary Lincoln Hall as they opened for Britpop sensation Viva Brother last week, is the group’s strongest cut yet–and (just in case their youthful appearance didn’t already give it away) they’re just seniors. In high school. The record is a gorgeous, ethereal indie ballad that sounds like Because of the Times-era Kings of Leon meets an even more downtrodden (if that’s even possible) Bloc Party. Check “Here Tonight” out, like ‘em on Facebook, and, if you’re ever in Chitown, give these guys a shout. - asmith351

"Maine South bands strike right chord at competition"

“The Break…tied for first place Friday in the Audience Favorite category at South Park Church’s teen band competition, Bobbapalooza.” - Park Ridge Herald-Advocate

"First the Pickwick, then the world!"

They're just 15 years old, but members the local rock band The Break are already accomplished -- and confident -- musicians and businessmen who aren't afraid to dream big.

"We want to go as far as possible," said lead vocalist and guitar player Sean Cahill-Lemme. He imagines a day when the band is known far beyond the borders of Park Ridge.

Together for only a year, The Break -- which also features Matt Gieser on drums, Paul Ansani on bass and Miles Malin on guitar -- estimates they have performed at least 100 gigs across the Chicago area, including Park Ridge's biggest teen band competition, Bobbapalooza, where they tied for first place on May 8.

Already headliners on the local band stage at Uncle Dan's Pizza and Pub in Park Ridge, the Break has also performed for local fundraisers like Anelise's Run, at suburban teen centers, house parties, restaurants and even a Wrigleyville block party last summer.


One of the band's dreams for the short-term -- before conquering the world -- is playing before a sold-out crowd at the Pickwick Theatre.

"It's so perfect," Gieser said. "It's a beautiful theater in a beautiful town."

The band is also hoping to convince Six Flags Great America to let them perform as part of the park's "Live and Local" concert program which will give them more exposure.

V-Show origins

The Break came together for one purpose: to perform in the Emerson Middle School V-Show. They liked it so much they stayed together and credit teacher Terry Broeker for giving them the support -- and practice time -- to keep going.

Having just completed their first year at Maine South High School, where they have a dedicated fan following, The Break recently recorded a 12-track CD they plan to release through iTunes, soon.

The CD, which includes original music and lyrics written by the band members, was recorded in a home studio in Winnetka earlier this year.

"It took us Monday through Thursday, from after school at 4 p.m. until midnight or 1 a.m. And then we'd wake up and go to school the next morning," Gieser said.

The long hours paid off. The album's sound is highly professional and, if things take off, The Break will receive royalties for each song that is purchased through iTunes, Gieser said.

Guitars on the mantel

All four band members have had some musical training but are mostly self-taught. For Paul Ansani, music is in his genes. His father, Ted Ansani, was the bass player for Material Issue from the mid-1980s to mid-1990s, and still performs with other musicians.

"Most of our fireplaces have pictures on them; Paul's has two hanging guitars," Gieser said.

Paul Ansani says his father introduced him to the bass, but acquired most of his skill on his own.

Wide appeal

When it comes to describing their sound, the band is hesitant to label it. Malin calls it "very British pop rock," while Ansani describes it as "soft alternative" but "more rocking than Coldplay," a band which happens to be one of The Break 's musical influences.

Members are also inspired by Oasis and Kings of Leon, both alternative rock bands. Elements of these bands, too, can be detected in The Break 's songs. One of the band's original songs, "Be Human," was inspired by some advice given to them before an Oasis show by frontman Liam Gallagher, Cahill-Lemme said.

All agree that their music, whatever genre it fits into, appeals to a wide range of listeners.

"It's something that a 14-year-old girl (or boy) could listen to and then their parents could listen to it and enjoy it as well," said Gieser.

To hear some of The Break 's music and find out more about the band, go to The-Break /23791993414. - Park Ridge Herald-Advocate

"Music fest to make wishes come true for band, charity"

The headline read: "First the Pickwick, then the world!"

Five months after telling the Park Ridge Herald-Advocate that they would love to play before a sold-out crowd at the Pickwick Theatre, the four members of local teen band The Break are seeing their dream coming true.

The Break, just sophomores at Maine South High School, are the lead organizers behind the Pickwick Music Festival, scheduled for 8 p.m. Dec. 4 at the Pickwick Theatre, 5 S. Prospect Ave.

The night will feature performances by The Break, as well as three other bands with local connections: Awake in Reno, Main Street Minority and the Safes.

Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for adults. All proceeds will go to Make-A-Wish Foundation.

The Break's Matt Gieser, the driving force behind the Pickwick Music Festival, credits the June 18 Herald-Advocate feature about the band with setting things into motion.

"We kind of got a boost after that article," Geiser said, explaining that he and bandmates Paul Ansani, Miles Malin and Sean Cahill-Lemme began seriously considering the real possibility of playing a show at the Pickwick.

"It was always a short-term goal of the band and of mine," he said. "We grew up going to movies there and when I was a kid I'd always think, 'Wouldn't it be cool to play up there once and and fill this place up.' "

The group talked the idea over with their former Emerson Middle School music teacher Terry Broeker, who agreed to help in making their dream a reality. They then got a meeting with Pickwick owner Dino Vlahakis, where they made their pitch.

"I've always liked to help local talents," Vlahakis said. "These kids approached me and said they wanted to do a fundraiser and I told them, 'Yeah, let's do it for one day and see what happens.' "

Broeker said she's impressed by The Break's talent and the hard work Gieser and his band mates have put into organizing the festival.

"I've worked with a lot of musicians over the years, and the four of them bring together so much talent, both with the music they compose and the way they perform it," Broeker said.

She added: "It's really refreshing to know four guys who are serious about their music and what they can do with it to impact the world."

The Break has taken charge of publicizing the event, printing tickets and gathering sponsors. Broeker said support from the Park Ridge business community has been great, with about 30 merchants donating gift cards and other prizes for the raffle the night of the show. A group of current Emerson students also contributed a basket containing $300 worth of gift cards, Broeker said.

Gieser said he chose the Make-A-Wish Foundation as the recipient of the show's proceeds because the band has become familiar with the organization while performing during the annual Anelise's Run in Park Ridge.

Gieser hopes the Pickwick Festival will raise enough money to make the wishes of two children with life-threatening medical conditions come true.

"I figured if I was a kid, I'd like the same thing done for me," Gieser said.

Tickets for the Pickwick Music Festival are on sale at Allegro Music Center, 800 W. Devon Ave.; the Maine South High School book store, 1111 S. Dee Road; and at the door the night of the show.

For more information go to - Park Ridge Herald Advocate

"The Break LIVE on WGN National News",0,2972594.story

"Great Sound!"
-Tom Skilling - Wgn Tv

"The Break"

By the way, this track that I’m giving you today is from a band I saw last month. They were pretty cool. I was relatively impressed. And then they played their last song and really tore things up and I looked over at my friend Daniel and he looked over at me, and our faces lit up and we couldn’t stop clapping when they finished that last song. It was incredible. These guys really pulled it off! I went up to Sean, the lead singer, after their set to congratulate him and was absolutely floored to see how young he is. This band, The Break, is certainly one to watch for. You heard it here, maybe first.

And yeah, that pic… it’s from a post over on the blog from the first round of Blogger takedowns, way back in Oct. ‘08.

Go see The Break:
Mar 5 2010 7:00P Beatles Night Park Ridge, Illinois
Mar 6 2010 7:00P Beatles Night Park Ridge, Illinois
Mar 7 2010 5:00P Subterranean Chicago, Illinois
Apr 1 2010 8:30P Ottos Night Club Dekalb, Illinois
Apr 25 2010 3:00P Reggies Rock Club Chicago, Illinois - Love Shack, Baby "Blog"

"The Hard Work is Paying Off!"

I just wanted to let you know that I can't believe you guys are sophomores. Before I was a teacher, I covered the Chicago music scene for Centerstage Chicago, and your music is on a level that most bands only achieve after being signed to a label and playing venues in the city for years. The hard work you're obviously putting into the band is paying off, and I look forward to the day when I hear one of your songs on Q101 and I can say, "I remember when those guys were sophomores at Maine South and wanted us to write a story about a gig they were playing at the Pickwick." (Or perhaps you've already been on Q101? Your tunes are better than most of what they play on Local 101 on Sunday nights...) - Alexander Stathakis

"Schoolhouse rock: Tech, support makes teen rocking easier"

On a recent Thursday night in the Old Irving Park neighborhood, a group of Chicago parents huddle in a kitchen, enjoying conversation and drinks, as their kids -- three students from Lincoln Park High School, Whitney Young High School and Near North Montessori School, who collectively play as the Blisters -- run through their original songs in the basement.

The band formed six years ago through school and since has played shows around town from the Hideout to Lollapalooza. But the members remained together because the parents, who previously did not know one another, struck up friendships.

» Click to enlarge image

The young musicians who make up the Blisters are (from left) Hayden Holbert, Spencer Tweedy, son of Wilco's Jeff Tweedy and Lounge Ax co-owner Susan Miller Tweedy, and Henry Mosher, son of Rick Mosher of the New Duncan Imperials.
(Richard A. Chapman/Sun-Times)


Teen rockers in Chicago

College and careers spell death for most high school bands. Here are a few that famously carried on long past their diplomas.
Radish: Nils Lofgren discovered this Texas trio, which later launched the career of Ben Kweller.
The Cowsills: Bubblegum family group from the 1960s featuring four brothers and their sister, Susan.
Hanson: Okie brother trio made "MMMBop" a household phrase and are still rocking as adults.
The Undertones: Irish teenagers best known for the adolescent anthem "Teenage Kicks."
Amanda Shaw: This Cajun fiddler released her first album at age 11 and headlines the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival each year.
Smoosh: Sister trio from Seattle play indie pop, played Lollapalooza and once opened for Pearl Jam.
The Runaways: All-girl teenage rock band fronted by a 16-year-old Joan Jett.
The Replacements: Bassist Tommy Stinson was just 12 years old when he joined his older brother Bob in this beloved underground band.
The Shangri-La's: Iconic 1960s girl group ("Leader of the Pack") that started while students at a high school in Queens.
The Box Tops: These Memphis teens scored hits with "Soul Deep" and "The Letter" featuring the gruff vocals of Alex Chilton.
Mark Guarino
"We always thought of the band as our soccer. It brings our families together," says Leslie Schwartz, whose son Hayden Holbert plays guitar. "We had to be friends for it to continue. If we hadn't gotten to know each other and enjoyed each other's company, I think it would have gone away."

When Neil Young famously declared in song that rock and roll will never die, he probably didn't imagine it would live on thanks to early evening meet-ups like this between parents and their kids, the punk-rock class offered at the local park district or via the Wii controller needed to play "Guitar Hero III: Legends of Rock."

New support systems for bands
Teenagers are expressing themselves more efficiently due to technology that is streamlining the process of discovering, learning and creating music. The evolution is producing a new generation of teenage rock bands that directly reflect the music industry's freefall from digital file sharing: They no longer ache to be discovered because it is happening by their own hand, through online releases and direct marketing to their peers.

With numerous online services that can help market, distribute and even manage band affairs, high school bands now have the potential to operate like "major organizations," says Joe Carsello, the assistant talent buyer at Metro, who tracks local bands to play the club.

"There's much more of a support system now," he says. "It's all there, it just takes the initiative of the band. There's a much bigger toolbox than ever, whereas before it was just about hanging fliers and shaking hands with the right people."

There is also an industry -- books, workshops, videos, summer camps and classes -- that has developed to teach teenagers how to rock properly. Learning how to wail at the microphone or bash out three chords on a guitar is now a learned process, involving parental support, which ranges from writing checks to hauling gear.

"I personally love my parents' involvement in it," says Liam Cunningham, a 16-year-old at Whitney M. Young Magnet High School who plays in Kids These Days, a seven-member band he describes as "hip-hop with blues and jazz." Besides encouraging him to pursue all types of music, including jazz, his parents also shuttle him to classes and rehearsals, just as they would if he were in several soccer leagues.

His mother, Jackie Kazarian, encouraged him to pursue music more than sports because it "is much more powerful for the rest of your life."

Andy Levenberg, who teaches guitar at the Paul Green School of Rock Music in Chicago, says that 95 percent of his kids, ages 8 to 15, arrive accompanied by their mom or dad.

"Parents are much more accepting of it and encouraging. In my high school, the kids who played rock music were the bad kids and their parents were not involved in their lives at all. Here, they are very encouraging," he says.

Growing up on rock 'n' roll
Most bands interviewed for this story say rock 'n' roll was a part of their childhood -- through parents whose record collections provided a soundtrack, or who played music at home, professionally, or both.

Richard Milne, who hosts "Local Anesthetic," the long-running local music show on WXRT-FM (93.1), says we've arrived in an era of parents "who only know rock 'n' roll."

"We're two or three generations into a completely rock 'n' roll world, so you have parents who are not only encouraging their children to study music but specifically rock music ... so they're no longer my parents who grew up on Benny Goodman," he says.

Which also means that more high school bands today are likely to be staffed by teenagers whose parents are musicians themselves. The Blisters, for example, feature drummer Spencer Tweedy, son of Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, and singer-bassist Henry Mosher, son of Rick Mosher of New Duncan Imperials."

Spencer Tweedy says music "was ingrained" into him since he was 2.

"That was right when I started playing drums," he says. "There were music videos of Wilco and I watched those videos nonstop. That was my purpose in life as a toddler. They drove my baby-sitters insane."

Susan Miller Tweedy, the co-owner of the Chicago rock club Lounge Ax, which closed in 2000, says that despite her son's rock pedigree, the Blisters came about organically and remains driven by the kids.

"We really were not that involved; it's all them," she says. "Spencer grew up in Lounge Ax until it closed, which was when he was 4. He started playing drums there. When he wanted to start a band, I thought it was cute. I didn't think it was real."

The same hands-off attitude also helped Paul Ansani, 15, a sophomore at Maine South High School in Park Ridge, find his way to the bass, which he taught himself to play. Back then, Material Issue, the acclaimed Chicago pop trio featuring his father, bassist Ted Ansani, was "the only music [he] really knew."

His father's experience only came into play once the Break, Paul Ansani's band, entered a studio to record an album it currently is selling via iTunes. "He gives us a lot of advice on how to get to the next level. Little things like ... 'Put a second guitar in there to beef it up' or 'Put keyboards in there to fill up the sound,'" Ansani says.

More outlets than ever
Younger bands lean heavily on social media like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to spread the word about shows, which range from block parties and church basements to city clubs, booked with more all-ages shows than in the past due to growing competition for early shows. Ansani, for instance, says his band played nearly 50 shows just this past summer. Metro owner Joe Shanahan says his club has a "long history" of booking bands straight out of high school and committing to them if they show promise.

"It goes back to the Smoking Popes, the Plain White T's, Fallout Boy -- these were substantial suburban bands that definitely had a following," he says.

Despite inevitable competition for all-ages shows among operators, which includes Reggie's, Subterranean and the Bottom Lounge, Shanahan says any smart club owner is invested in helping shape "a nurturing scene" among young bands and working together to help them develop their craft.

With so much opportunity to play live and infinite channels in which to circulate their music, teenage bands face the inevitable problem of getting lost in the digital deluge. The problem actually makes Emily McGill, the 14-year-old singer of Where the Cinema Begins, wish she was "growing up in the '70s."

"Things were much more original back then," she says. "You couldn't create an album without having any talent."

McGill, who attends Lincoln Park High School, says it's "almost too easy" to record and upload music using software like GarageBand, which is creating a glut of mediocre bands that are hogging the spotlight from others that may be doing something original. "It's probably easier to get your music out there on the Internet but it seems like you can only get your friends and your family to listen," she says.

WXRT's Milne agrees: "Just because kids have ability to record their work in the comfort of their own home and be trained as rock musicians still doesn't mean they're making interesting, creative music."

He says that motivations among aspiring rockers are likely the same today as they were in 1965 -- self-expression and to catch the eye of the opposite sex -- but with fame so omnipresent in the culture thanks to "American Idol" and all its spin-offs, today's generation may need to straighten their priorities to prevent burnout at age 25.

"I encourage them to make the art of making music a lifetime pursuit," says Milne. "There should not necessarily be a goal other than your personal enjoyment, because if you set yourself up to be famous, even if you're a songwriter of quality, those are very, very difficult things. You should enjoy strumming that guitar for the next 70 years."

Bands like the Blisters are realistic about their goals -- they would like to record some of their original songs one day and play more gigs. But they also have other priorities and life pursuits: Holbert likes bluegrass, Mosher wants to make a solo music and Tweedy wants to be a writer.

"It's holy," Tweedy says, explaining why they play music together in between homework and family life. "It's an amazing way to express yourself, share feelings and to communicate with other beings."

Mark Guarino is a Chicago-based journalist and critic. Visit - Chicago Sun Times

"The Break Has Emerged"

Forming in the fall of 2007, The Break is an exciting young band that seems to have all the right pieces in place to really make a name for themselves in the music world. With all its members still in high school, this band has an immensely high ceiling and is already known for its collective tightness during live performances and inspired songwriting. Based in the northwest suburb, Park Ridge, the band has broken into the Chicago music scene with rapid force, as well as its surrounding area, playing a full run of shows from Wrigleyville to Winnetka. Keeping busy, the band’s next shows will be held on November 6th where they will perform in Bobbalooza at South Park Church in Park Ridge and then the very next day, November 7Th, at the Congress Theater in Chicago.

The Break, consisting of members Sean Cahill-Lemme, Matt Gieser, Paul Ansani and Miles Malin, are currently playing shows regularly to promote their debut release, Welcome to Our Side. The new album showcases The Break’s powerful sound and includes poignant tracks such as “Be Human”, which was directly inspired by the advice personally given to the band by Oasis’ Liam Gallagher.

We were able to find out more about the band in a Q&A with singer/guitarist Sean Cahill-Lemme.

What differentiates you from other bands today?

Our whole style in general sets us apart from most, if not all bands. Our stage presence, music and writing are all unique.

Where does your song writing inspiration come from?

We get our inspiration from being regular people in the world, and hope that people who listen can relate to it.

What do you like about your new album?

After listening to it you start thinking of the negatives more so then the positives, but in general we think it’s worth listening to. It’s really refreshing to the ear. It's something new for our modern world of music.

What bands do you model yourself after?

If we had to list a few it would be: Oasis, Kings of Leon, Coldplay and The Beatles.

How long ago and how did you start?

The Break was formed two years ago. I suppose if we had to say how, it would have to be our school V show and our strong musical backgrounds. Our bass player, Paul Ansani, is son to Ted Ansani of Material Issue, Matt Gieser (our drummer) had already been playing drums six years prior. Almost all members of my family could sing and/or play an instrument. Miles listened to the most music of all of us and has the most incredible ear you could imagine.

What obstacles as a band do you face?

The biggest obstacle we have to face is definitely our age. There is usually an age limit to the entire downtown music scene. Our band and its music is more than qualified to be played at downtown clubs and bars, but people only look at our age.

Why are you appealing to the people that listen to you?

Ours songs always have a hook and structure, something that appeals to all ears. Our music isn't too hard or soft so it can be listened to by anyone.

What do you plan to achieve in your music career?

We want to go as far as we possibly can - working hard and having as much fun as possible doing what we love.

What do you like most about being in band like this?

Making music that people like to hear. There's just something about the feeling when a song falls together perfectly, it's one of the best feelings there is. - Ken Payne; buzznews


Welcome to Our Side (2009)
Cold Elbows E.P (2010)
Learn To Dance E.P (2012)



The Break is your new favorite band.Homegrown real sound straight out of Chicago. A true to form great rock band. The next hook in your head. The Break has played every major venue in Chicago to a constantly growing fanbase and despite their youth, wants to buy you a beer and sing you a song. .