During the day, they are sixth-grade students at Hampstead Academy. But when they pick up their instruments, four 11-year-olds transform into something more: Godz of Rock.
About 20 people turned out at Hampstead Public Library on Friday night to watch the rock band perform and hear them talk about what it's like to be a "kid band." They've had more fans turn out for other gigs around town.
"People know us," keyboardist Connor Capozzi said.
The band was formed three years ago when Nick Combs, whose long hair screams, "lead guitarist," decided he wanted to play the classic Beatles song, "Here Comes The Sun" at a school talent show. He rounded up Brandon Bakken to sing and Capozzi to play keyboard.
The Godz of Rock didn't end up playing the Beatles tune that day, opting for an original number, "The Homework Blues," instead. They performed it at the library show Friday as well.
"Negative exponents, I don't like them that much," Brandon crooned along with a blues beat. "My favorite subjects are recess and lunch."
Nick usually creates the music for the band's original songs — they have four — and then records it on his laptop. Brandon writes the lyrics.
"I kind of hope, someday, for our band to make a song as long as or longer than 'Stairway to Heaven,'" Brandon said.
The Led Zeppelin song is just over eight minutes long.
Nick wrote a song called "Global Warming Stinks," but it's being revamped for being "too controversial."
Brandon said he does not believe in global warming "that much." His favorite original is "On My Mind," a love song.
"It's about a special person to me," he said. "My girlfriend."
The band had just three members until last summer, when Victoria Bemis joined them after playing as a "guest violinist" a few times. She plays classical violin during private lessons, but her fiddling skills shined on the band's cover of the Charlie Daniels Band's "The Devil Went Down to Georgia."
"I prefer playing in a group, so being in a band is really fun," Victoria said. "And it's different from playing classical."
Each member of the band has a stage name that comes from the gods of Greek mythology. Brandon is Hercules, because he thinks the band and its playing is strong. Nick chose his long-time favorite figure from Greek mythology, Poseiden. Victoria is Persephone because she is the goddess of "music and spring and flowers," she said. And Connor is Zeus, because he said he's the backbone of the gods and the keyboard is the backbone of the band.
The Godz have had some big gigs recently, performing at the Sad Cafe in Plaistow and on a float at the Hampstead Holiday Parade.
"We were moving around while we were playing, and it was fun," Connor said.
They also play at parties at Nick's house, inviting everyone who lives on their cul-de-sac and fellow musicians from the Haverhill Music Center where the band rehearses every Friday. The Godz of Rock play a set and then have something of an open-mic night, Nick's father Dan Combs said.
"They'll jam with people they've never met before," he said.
Right now, they are looking for two more members, a bass player and a drummer.
"We have had no progress," Nick said of the search.
"We had a couple of people we were thinking about," Connor said diplomatically.
Nick made a disapproving face most 11-year-olds reserve for the taste of Brussels sprouts.
"No way," he said.
While the band does not always agree, Brandon said the key was to be flexible. Being in a band together has not caused much tension in their friendships, he said.
"It kind of gets us to be better friends," he said. "We get to know each other more."
Capozzi said it was not easy to put together a band, and offered some advice to those who want to try.
"It's time-consuming," he said. "You really have to go for it."
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