Photo by Curt Yeomans
Local youngsters Luke Lewis (left), Trenton Mangrum (center), and Angelina Ochoa perform the Smashmouth song, “All Star” during the first-ever performance of their band, “10% Juice” on Thursday.
Luke Lewis’ and Trenton Mangrum’s start on the long road to a rock-and-roll lifestyle came through a popular video game.
The pair, who hail from Jonesboro and Stockbridge, respectively, hang out together and play “Guitar Hero.” Through the game, they try to channel the rock gods, as they try to play songs by music groups, including Nirvana, Green Day and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
Eventually, they began wanting to do more than play rock stars on a video game, however. They wanted to become real-life rock stars, so they formed their own band, named “10% Juice,” three weeks ago, with another Stockbridge youth, Angelina Ochoa.
Lewis, 9, and Mangrum, 10, play guitar and bass guitar, respectively, while Ochoa, 10, plays the drums. Lewis and Ochoa also take turns singing on some of the band’s songs.
“We just kinda wanted to try out the whole band thing,” Lewis said.
Since forming their band, Lewis, Mangrum and Ochoa have been moving on the fast track toward stardom. They made their first public performance Thursday, with a concert at the McDonald’s located at 2125 Mt. Zion Blvd., in Jonesboro. The concert was recorded to later be released as their first CD, according to Amy Justice, the owner of the McDonald’s location and Lewis’ mother.
The trio are “schooled at home” students enrolled in the Georgia Cyber Academy, according to their tutor, Tammy Hurst. She explained they were brought together, just to play music, under the tutelage of music instructor, Phylis A. Oliver, who owns Jonesboro-based Oliver’s Music, in an effort to help bring an social aspect to their education process.
“I try to socialize them as much as I can, because that’s the one thing that’s missing from the curriculum,” Hurst said. “So, the more things I can pull them together to do, the better off they are.”
The idea of taking a step further, and creating an actual performing band, came from the children themselves, according to Hurst and Lewis.
“We just like to play a lot,” Mangrum said. “Since we played that game [Guitar Hero], I’ve wanted to play guitar and now I get to do that.”
Ochoa put it more frankly, adding: “We pretty much just put together a band, because we had already met each other at least once. Then, we just started creating a performance. Our band teacher, we call her Ms. O., put together a performance and picked all of the songs for us to play.”
Oliver said she wrote one song for the youths, called “A-Jam,” and then picked additional songs that “just had one part to it.” She added the songs “had to be in Drop D tuning because they’ve only been playing for three weeks.” Oliver played drums and guitar with the youngsters on some of their songs.
So far, the band is mostly playing music by famous rock groups, such as Green Day’s “When I Come Around,” and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ “Freefalling.” Next up for the band, however, is work on an original tune, tentatively set to be called “Gangster Patrol,” which is under production at this time.
“We’re doing all of the sounds first, and then we’re going to do the lyrics afterwards,” Mangrum said.