The Time I Was Almost in a Teen Band.
My best friend in 8th and 9th grade, Mikhal Akram, and I were going to start a band someday. We were going to call ourselves The Scum.
The name came about accidentally when Mikhal and I were on one of our middle school-marathon phone calls. I made a comment, “I really like this gum.”
“Wait. What did you say?!” Mikhal sounded excited about my statement. I was confused.
“Uh…I really like this gum…?”
“That’s it! Our band name!”
After 9th grade, my family moved from Pakistan to The Philippines. I never saw Mikhal again.
We exchanged letters and mixtapes for a few years. He went to school in New York to study music and I was in-and-out of college in Seattle.
We never started our band but I had dreams that we would someday.
A few years later, I found out that Mikhal had died. A freak accident at a friend’s Halloween party.
Teen Mental Wellness, Cultural Ageism, and Music.
I think about Mikhal often and about the music we never made together. I think about my undiagnosed depressed teenage self and how much I would have benefited from playing music in a band.
Alas, I was shy, self-conscious and seemingly paralyzed by depression and anxiety. I didn’t play in bands but I was able to find solace and release by writing and playing music solo. #bedroomsessions
Being a teenager isn’t easy; especially when you don’t have a support system to guide and support you. The teen years make up a highly confusing, emotional and, at times, overwhelming developmental stage.
Yet, as adults, we often forget the first-hand experience of teen-hood and we, too quickly, write teenagers off as being dramatic, out-of-control, attention-seeking, and overly emotional.
This perspective tells me more about our culture and how much our society and institutions misunderstand, over-look, and discard teenagers. Ageism is rife and well, folks.
Teenagers are some of the most thoughtful, ingenious, inspiring, curious, adventurous resilient, and highly creative people. I intend to exemplify their incredible qualities and abilities by supporting local teen bands and unearthing to you, these dedicated teenage musicians and their music.
This project is lovingly created in memory of Mikhal.
We Have Lift Off!
I’m stoked to announce that, since I posted my teen band project, I’ve interviewed my first teen band!
Check out my interview with teen funk blues band Foxy Apollo!
I’ve got a few more bands lined up – yay! – but would love to connect with more.
If you know of any teens in bands (or teens passionate about mental health) who would like to participate in this project, please share or send them my way! <3
Seattle Teen Band Interviews
Next up: Gypsy Temple