On a recent weeknight, four Bartlett teens were dashing raindrops as they lumbered massive amps up the steps of a historic Midtown co-op.
It was a somewhat typical night for the teens who started playing music together a couple of years ago. But it was only recently that the foursome — who call themselves The Star Killers — did so in the shadow of their first album and on the dawn of their first 13-stop, multi-state tour.
“It was insane,” said rhythm guitar and vocalist John Prescott, who was took a break to eat take-out with the group before the band set up. “We made everything we put into (the album) in the first night and then some.”
In fact, the band, which describes itself as blues-inspired indie rock, sold out of vinyls that night at the Abbey. It was a packed house, and it wasn’t the first time. But band members also say they’ve played for as few as three to four people. That was at a house party.
“We usually don’t play bigger venues,” said lead guitar and vocalist Julien Baker, who, at 17, is the youngest member and the only girl of the group. “We play a lot of places where everyone has to be in your face, and we can get pretty loud sometimes.”
The path to success included a lot of nights playing at each others’ houses. But the idea started one night when Baker and drummer/vocalist Matthew Gilliam met up at iHop.
“We were sitting there talking and realized we had the same taste in music,” said Gilliam.
So, they started playing. Eventually, they got better and invited David Creech to come play bass, which he said he learned learned just to be in the band. A friend became the group’s guitarist. But he didn’t work out, so Prescott came on board.
Creech is the only member who is now in college. He’s studying journalism at the University of Memphis and will be entering his sophomore year in the fall. The others are graduating seniors at Bolton and Arlington high schools.
While the young artists are already successful, those who have been playing out their last year of high school say they plan to study in college and make the band a hobby rather than a career.
“One has to be realistic,” said Baker. “You plan for the best, expect the worst.”
And as for what the band calls itself, it’s a Star Wars reference to the original name of Luke Skywalker.
“We’re all just big Star Wars nerds,” said Prescott.