16-year-old Turner C. came to MaRS for lessons in a rather roundabout way. “Some friends and I would jam together occasionally and we decided we wanted to start a real band. We had a guitarist, a drummer and somebody who played the banjo, which left me with the bass.” Figuring that he’d progress much faster with an experienced teacher as opposed to teaching himself, Turner started lessons with Music & Rock School instructor, Jacob, last July.
Though he jokes about how he picked it up, Turner really does recognize the value of his typically underappreciated instrument of choice. “It’s probably what I would have wanted to play anyway. It’s really fundamental to the basis of songs. It’s nearly impossible to have a good band or even a good song without a bassist of some sort.”
We spent the majority of our interview talking about his band, dubbed “Mark and Robert” after two of their neighborhood friends who were their first fans, coming by frequently to watch them rehearse. Unlike a lot of other bands their age, they’ve already got a handful of gigs under their belt, including a win at the Battle of the Bands contest at JamFest 2012 in Cary. Even more astonishingly, they play entirely original songs at all of their shows. “I think we maybe played one cover, once. As an encore,” Turner laughs.
“Turner and his band are really good live,” says John Kozicki, instructor and owner at Music & Rock School. “And not even by 16 and 17 year old standards – they’re good compared to any other band you might see live.”
Turner says he would describe his style as a combination of funk and rock, but he doesn’t want to box himself in too tightly. “That’s one of my favorite things about lessons,” he says. “Going into depth about the bass lines of all different kinds of songs and learning about the variation in styles and techniques. I could never stick to just one.” Turner also believes that he’s learning about his instrument much faster with his band than if he were simply taking lessons. “It gives you valuable experience working with other musicians. Especially writing songs, because you have to adapt them to other people’s styles and skill levels. When you play by yourself you’re just playing what you know without having a true way to apply it.”
You can see Turner play with Mark and Robert as the headliners of the Lazy Daze Festival in Cary this August. Check out this video of them performing at Apex’s Halle Cultural Arts Center this past February!