Most girls ages 13 to 17 would give up their texting privileges for a month for a brief meet-and-greet with a Justin Bieber or a Taylor Swift.
But Kelli Mayo and Peyton Bighorse aren't most girls. You might say they travel to the beat of a different drum. Or drummers.
For example, Kelli, 13, and Peyton, 17, were thrilled to meet a couple of their own idols at the South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas, last month.
“Lori Barbero from Babes in Toyland!” Kelli marveled. “She's the drummer. That was crazy because Babes in Toyland is one of my biggest inspirations ever. I love Babes in Toyland so much. Like, I've been listening to that record ‘Fontanelle' over and over and over again, so that was pretty cool.”
“That was awesome,” Peyton agreed. “And then we met Jody Stephens, the drummer from Big Star. Yeah, that was so cool. Like, before a few days ago I hadn't listened to a lot of Big Star but I started listening to them and it was really cool.”
Together, these Edmond stepsisters form the punk-rock-pop duo Skating Polly, drawing inspiration from sources as disparate as the aforementioned Babes in Toyland, Johnny Cash, Bikini Kill and Neutral Milk Hotel.
Their first performance of one of their original songs was in front of an audience of 20 other kids at a Halloween sleepover in 2009, Peyton banging out the beat while Kelli sang and fingered her “basitar,” a homemade instrument consisting of a mini guitar strung with two bass strings, designed by her father to fit her small hands.
Since then, appreciation of their music has spread beyond that living room full of friends, making fans out of such musical luminaries as Sean Lennon, Holly Golightly, Kelly Ogden of the Dollyrots, Holly Golightly, Exene Cervenka of the seminal Los Angeles punk band X, and fellow Okies the Flaming Lips.
In fact, Skating Polly's sophomore album “Lost Wonderfuls” — released Tuesday on iTunes, due out April 16 on CD from the SQE label — was produced by Cervenka and mixed by Lips drummer Kliph Scurlock, both of whom are big supporters of the girls and their music.
Scurlock even gave the girls one of his own custom-made drum kits as a gift.
“They're like this really cool, clear color, like they're orange,” Kelli said. “They're really pretty and they have this heavy kind of ominous sound that goes really well with our music.”
“They sound really awesome,” Peyton agreed. “And there's two floor toms instead of two rack toms, so I think that adds a lot to the heaviness.”
Scurlock first caught Skating Polly's act in a video produced by the same outfit that creates the Flaming Lips videos, Delo Creative. The drummer started catching their live shows, got hooked on their music and their teen spirit, and began spreading the word about them.
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