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For Ellicott City rocker, first tour is 'really cool'

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Many teenagers spend their summer months relaxing, but a group of young musicians with Howard County ties are hard at work in a surprising way: on the road with big-name rock groups, playing for thousands of fans day after day.

The band's name is Bad Seed Rising, and it's made up of Mason Gainer, 12, of Ellicott City, Francheska Pastor, 15, of Frederick, Louey Peraza, 14, of Sykesville and Aiden Marceron, 11, of Thurmont. They've been playing together for about 1 1/2 years just signed a record deal and are touring the East Coast this month with rock bands Daughtry, Three Doors Down and Halestorm.

"It's definitely exciting," said Mason, a rising eighth-grader at Ellicott Mills Middle School and lead guitarist for the band. "It's our first tour, and it's really cool because we get to get away from where we live. We're playing the music to a bunch of people up and down the coast, really from everywhere. We're meeting a bunch of new fans."

The tour, which goes from North Carolina to New Hampshire, included two Maryland dates — July 5 in Annapolis and July 6 at Pier Six Pavilion in Baltimore. It's not the first time the group played for a hometown crowd, however. In May, they played the M-3 metal festival at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia.

"That's kind of like our hometown," said Aiden, the band's drummer. "It was fun playing there."

Bad Seed Rising signed a record contract with Atlantic/Roadrunner earlier this year, and last summer recorded an EP of all-original music.

Mason and Louey met taking lessons at the Let There Be Rock School, in Columbia, while Francheska and Aiden play at Frederick Rock School. Mason's father owns the Columbia school, and Aiden's father owns the Frederick school.

Furthermore, Aiden and Louey have known each other all their lives, thanks to their fathers, who played together in a rock band in the 1990s.

All in all, music is a family affair for the band members, down to their relationships with each other.

"We're really close," Aiden said of his bandmates. "We're like brothers and sisters."

Growing up surrounded by rock music, and playing covers of classic songs by The Beatles and AC/DC at the Let There Be Rock School, the band members wanted to create music of their own.

"Playing cover songs is fun and all," said Louey, bassist and back-up vocalist for Bad Seed Rising, "but this is something you get to feel out on your own. It's fun to play in your own style, to play the music you've created yourself."

Ultimately, said Mason's mother, Cassie France-Kelly, the band members "want to bring rock, and live performance music, back for a younger generation."

The best feeling, Francheska said, is when older bands and fans underestimate Bad Seed Rising because of their age. It's fun proving everyone wrong, she said.

"Sometimes I feel like older musicians think they're better because we're just kids," said Francheska, a vocalist and guitarist. "But we're just like, 'Whatever.' It's awesome when we get on stage and blow their minds."

For now, Francheska said, the band's "main focus" is to continue playing.

"This is our work. This is our career, hopefully for life," she said. "We love this. We love making music."

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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