Listen Up: The Summers
The summer of ’08 is a period of adjustment for The Summers.
“We just moved here from Southern Indiana in the beginning of June,” said Branson Summers, 15, the drummer in the band that includes his 13-year-old brothers who are twins, Jared on bass and vocals, and Wesley on guitar.
A young rock band of brothers, The Summers, performed in Court Square for Downtown Alive! Watch »
Photo by Michael Donahue
The Summers: From left, Jared, Branson and Wesley Summers.
“It doesn’t suck,” Wesley said. “We just haven’t been here that long. So, we don’t know what to do yet.”
“We had three theme parks around us,” Jared said. “We had Six Flags in Louisville, King’s Island two hours from home and Holiday World.”
Their dad took a job in Memphis. “Moving into a new house in a new area is fun, but moving away from all your friends — they could have done it when I was 8, which wouldn’t have been a problem,” Wesley said. “But 13? When friends become life? It is a big deal.”
The Summers have gotten great response after playing shows before and after Memphis Redbirds games. “Since we moved here we’ve gained 400 friends on myspace,” Branson said. “Our fan base has increased incredibly.”
And the girls? “Yeah, they go crazy.”
About four years ago, the brothers got musical instruments for Christmas. “The first song I ever learned to play on guitar was ‘Highway to Hell’ by AC/DC,” Wesley recalled.
They found a program, “Rock School,” at a music store. “You would learn a song and after eight weeks you’d play it at a show in front of people to give you the rock star experience,” Branson said. “They had lights and everything.”
They began as a rap band named Skittle. “Instead of Eminem,” Wesley said. “You know. Skittle.”
They added a fourth person to sing and changed their name to “The Trouble with Boys.” They wore torn and frayed suits and had “long scraggly hair,” Branson said. Their logo was “the male symbol except the arrow was broken.”
They were popular, but their singer didn’t work out. “He was fun, but he was 8,” Wesley said. “He was immature.”
“He liked to play tag and stuff, but he loved music,” Branson said. “While I was setting up, they’d all run around and play tag.”
“He’d ask us if we wanted to play Hide and Seek,” Wesley added.
They ditched the singer, took seven months off and came back in May 2007 as The Summers.
They changed their hairstyles to a 1990s Anthony Kiedis look. Branson saw a picture of the Red Hot Chili Peppers singer sporting the hairstyle in his autobiography, “Scar Tissue.”
Instead of the torn-up suits, the brothers changed their onstage attire to “fitted shirts and tight jeans,” Branson said. “I play barefoot.”
In addition to Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Summers are fans of Green Day, The All-American Rejects and Cake. “Then we listen to some weird stuff like Mariah Carey,” Wesley said.
They played their first Memphis Redbirds gig last summer. “The last Harry Potter book came out,” said producer Woody Degan. “The Redbirds was having a Harry Potter night. So, they called me up and said, ‘Hey, have you got a kid’s band?’”
Degan heard about The Summers, so he contacted them. “The response was just phenomenal. At 13 to be able to do what they do — it’s the look, but it’s the whole package. They write their own songs.”
“Time is Up” is one of the band’s new songs. “It’s about moving away from Indiana, from all our friends,” Wesley said. “That’s kind of what everything is about right now.”
“We’re just now starting to make friends in the home schooling thing ’cause we are going to be home schooled,” Branson said.
“We’re selective of who we hang out with. Every now and then we might find a couple of fans that are cool that might treat us more like friends than super stars bigger than life. A lot of people do treat us like that already. We don’t want to hang out with people who just admire us the whole time.”
The Summers will perform at 6:30 tonight (Aug. 15) in AutoZone Plaza at AutoZone Park. Cost is admission to the Memphis Redbirds game. Tickets start at $5.
Listen Up spotlights area performers. Michael Donahue can be reached at email@example.com or 529-2797.