About a year ago, five Anne Arundel County tweens formed a rock band that has since taken off — performing all over the metro area and opening for Soul Asylum at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C.
Jackson Anderson, 11, of Arnold came up with the idea for the band named “Fast as Lightning.” The long-haired sixth-grader started playing guitar at age 7 and has been performing onstage with The School of Rock Annapolis since he was 9.
“I always wanted to start a band and show people my talents and hair, and I love music,” Jackson says.
He handpicked the band members who all attend The School of Rock Annapolis. Katie Hall, 9, of Pasadena is the lead singer; Jacob Spitzer, 11, of Arnold is on bass guitar; Jack Peery, 13, of Arnold is the drummer, and Trystin Martin, 13 of Arnold plays the keyboard. Jackson plays lead guitar.
The idea for the band’s name came from a logo of a lightning bolt Jackson created when he was younger. His dad tweaked the logo, and the name of the band was decided.
The group landed its first gig at Jess Fest in Annapolis last October. At the time, they knew three songs. Since then, the band has performed at more than 25 shows and now plays up to 15 songs.
The highlight of the band’s career so far was meeting Soul Asylum at the 9:30 Club last summer, according to several band members’ parents. The ’90s alternative rock band, best known for its hit “Runaway Train,” was in town for a show in Annapolis. Jackson’s mother, Lisa Anderson, met the band’s lead singer and guitar player, Dave Pirner, at Mangia Italian Grill in Annapolis and happened to be carrying a local music magazine featuring “Fast as Lightning.” She asked Pirner to autograph the cover, and he asked if her son’s band would open for him at the 9:30 Club.
“It was a stroke of luck, a fluke thing,” Lisa says.
The kids were given their own “green room.” They hung out with the Soul Asylum band members and played two songs before Soul Asylum performed.
“That was really exciting for them. It was huge,” says Sandra Hall, Katie’s mom. “This has been a huge confidence builder for them.”
Whether they’re playing at small bars or big festivals, being in a band has been a thrill for the kids, who would rather play music than just about anything else. They meet at least twice a week to practice and decide on new songs to add to their list.
“None of the parents is musical at all. We let them do their thing,” Lisa says. “The kids are just driven. It’s so cohesive. It’s just been the five of them for an entire year.”
Check out Fast as Lightning at one of these upcoming events. Visit fastaslightning.net for details.
- Oct. 11 – Junior League of Annapolis 5K after-race festivities at Anne Arundel Community College.
- Oct. 17 – Island Bay Day at Red Eyes Dock Bar
- Oct. 31 – Halloween Havoc at the Greene Turtle, Annapolis
By Kristy MacKaben