Teenage Moods 101

A thing or six about local band Teenage Moods. Get schooled.

Sarah Harper

What: Teenage Moods with Hollow Boys and Baby Boys, presented by Radio KâÄôs Off the Record

When: 10 p.m., Friday

Where: HellâÄôs Kitchen, 80 S. 9th St., Minneapolis

Cost: $5

Age: 18+

In a town where the word âÄúlocalâÄù is a cue for approving nods and smiles, Teenage Moods are proving that theyâÄôre worth more than shallow acceptance âÄî what other band throws together punk sounds with lyrics about flower-hunting and bunnies?

Before you catch them this weekend at HellâÄôs Kitchen, here are a few things you should know about Jillian Schroeder, Gordon Byrd and Taylor Motari.

Class is now in session.

TheyâÄôre not teenagers.

TheyâÄôre all approaching, or have already hit 30. The bandâÄôs name comes from when they worked retail together.

âÄúThere was a lot of time to doodle and draw,âÄù said Motari, the drummer.

Schroeder, now the bandâÄôs bassist, used to fill up the down time by making fake concert fliers. âÄúTeenage MoodsâÄù was one of the fake band names.

The name came to life because the trio was shacked up in the same house. And you know what they say about roommates who work retail together âÄî they start bands in the basement together.

TheyâÄôre into Dungeons and Dragons.

When they arenâÄôt slaying crowds with in-your-face noise, Schroeder and Byrd are kicking ass in a Dungeons and Dragons group. Motari tried a few times, but couldnâÄôt get into it.

âÄúI would look for all the weird things youâÄôre not supposed to do in the mission,âÄù Motari said.

TheyâÄôre DIY.

TheyâÄôre so DIY that you might be tempted to call Teenage Moods the poster children for DIY âÄî but theyâÄôre more like the âÄòzine teens.

âÄúWeâÄôve all made art books and ‘zines and that kind of thing,âÄù Motari said.

And they make their own CD cover art. Well, Schroeder does.

âÄúAny time she puts a pen to paper, something crazy happens,âÄù Motari said.

Their DIY style extends to actual music too âÄî Schroeder didnâÄôt even know how to play bass until they started out.

âÄúOur first songs were the first songs she ever played,âÄù Byrd said.

Since then, theyâÄôve been sticking close to their grungy basement roots. Teenage Moods arenâÄôt into the whole professional studio thing âÄî their friend Trent Urness recorded their first release and their third CD, âÄúMood Ring,âÄù in his basement space.

TheyâÄôre not one-trick ponies.

The trio has their feet in more musical doors than theyâÄôve got feet.

âÄúEveryone that IâÄôm friends with is in at least two bands,âÄù Motari said.

Schroeder, Motari and Byrd are all in other bands, and theyâÄôve all got side projects. Schroeder plays bass in the Velveteens, and Motari and Byrd play in the Toxic Shrews.  ThatâÄôs only the tip of the project iceberg.

âÄúIâÄôm constantly struggling with where to place my creative forces,âÄù Motari said.

Just because they donâÄôt hit Teenage Moods with the full force of their creative energy doesnâÄôt mean that they donâÄôt care about the band. It just means that it isnâÄôt their life.

âÄúTeenage Moods has always been consistently writing music âĦ itâÄôs just the rock,âÄù Motari said. âÄúThis is like my family.âÄù

TheyâÄôre in bed with Sleeping in the Aviary.

Karen, youâÄôre an angel but you might feel a little jealous that Teenage Moods have been stealing the attention of fellow local act Sleeping in the Aviary. For their next tape, the trio has been jamming with front man Elliot Kozel and guitarist Kyle Sobczak.

âÄúThey have an attic studio. We went in and did all our songs acoustic, from the first album and âÄòMood Ring.âÄôâÄù

They all sat around and came up with ideas, adding instruments and backup vocals wherever they felt like it.

The collaboration isnâÄôt over, as Teenage Moods fans can expect to see their fave local trio transform into a five-piece for an upcoming project.

TheyâÄôre not wasting your time.

The songs are quick and the track lists are short. Teenage MoodsâÄô third release âÄúMood Ring,âÄù which came out this year, only has nine songs on it. And none of those songs are longer than three and a half minutes.

âÄúOur song structures are pretty ruthless,âÄù Motari said.

 âÄúTrim all the fat out. If something is going a little bit long, listeners are going to get bored, whatever,âÄù Motari said.

Class dismissed.