Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

For Young Rockers, a World of Change

Newspaper article Charleston Gazette Mail

For Young Rockers, a World of Change

Article excerpt

It would be easy to dismiss funk/rock group, The Change, as just a bunch of girls flirting with the idea of being in a rock band. Most of the group is 17. None of them have finished high school, and while the members of the Mercer County band are young, the band is a veteran outfit that's been kicking around in one form or another for almost 10 years.

This weekend, The Change plays FloydFest in Virginia, but it won't be their first time.

"We've played it a couple of times, keyboardist Bethany Keesecker said. "It's been a couple of years, but we played it back when we were Misbehavin.

Misbehavin was the name of the original trio that formed nine years ago at the Stages music school in Princeton.

Bassist Kayla McKinney, the lone 16-year-old in the band, explained, "My mom opened the music school. Actually, it wasn't even open. We were still putting paint on the walls when a kid came in and wanted to learn to play guitar.

That kid was Ary'an Graham, who later turned to drums.

McKinney said, "When we first started playing, we used to swap instruments around. We all played everything. I used to beg to play bass until they let me.

Graham said, "Kayla used to play drums and I thought that looked pretty cool. So, she taught me a couple of beats and I kind of ran with it.

Graham, McKinney and Keesecker formed Misbehavin, a pop band, which eventually turned into another pop band, Distraction.

"It was a lot of years, Keesecker said. "People came and went. They joined the band and then they moved on.

Caeli Massey joined them on guitar, and then came Je'dah Palmer, a singer.

"I was friends with Kayla and Ary'an, Palmer said. "I knew about Stages and they invited me to come by for a practice. It was just a lot of fun and that's where it started.

The band played out early. They performed at area festivals, schools, and even the occasional bar.

"I always thought that was funny, Massey said. "Different. We couldn't be in there unless we had an adult.

Almost two years ago, the band went through some lineup changes. A couple of the girls in the band left, and the remaining musicians decided it was a good time to make some changes, hence the band name, "The Change.

"We were a pop band, Keesecker said. "It was what we heard on the radio. It was what we gravitated toward.

But frankly, after performing pop music over and over, she said they started getting sick of it.

"We wanted a more rocking sound, she said. "We wanted something different.

So, The Change embraced old school funk, rock and 70s R&B.

"We do a lot of covers, but we've got a few originals, Massey said. "We've got a medley of Steve Wonder songs.

"And some Parliament and James Brown, McKinney said. "It does really well in the schools we play. The kids love it because they've never heard it.

As The Change, the band has gone from playing local shows to playing regionally. …

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