Five boys stand on the faded floral rug that covers the concrete floor of Revolution Records. A peeling red W is duct taped onto their drum set, and the air is alive with the strong beat of their rock music. Sophomores Quinn Cosgrove, Aidan Connelly and eighth grader Christian Alldredge crowd around the same mic. Their faces scrunch up with every high note as they scream the lyrics to Jimi Hendrix’s “All Along the Watchtower.”
The final chord of the song resonates through the crowded record shop, but the ringing from the amplifier is drowned out by the screaming of 8th grade girl groupies.
Individually, Cosgrove plays bass guitar, sophomore Miles Patterson is on the drums, Connelly is the lead vocalist, Vincent Lee plays lead guitar, and Alldredge is the rhythm guitarist. Together, they’re the Whips.
Just like their name, the Whips’ music is loud and aggressive – it’s a feel-it-in-your-gut type of sound, according to the group. But it’s also filled with a sort of infectious energy, one that makes their young audience prone to overzealous screaming.
“Learning to play an instrument by yourself just isn’t that fun,” Lee said. “But being in a band, you get to share that with both your bandmates and your audience.”
According to Cosgrove, their music falls “somewhere on the rock spectrum”, although each of the Whips have slightly different music tastes, ranging from pop punk to alternative. But in rehearsal and performances, they stick to a high energy rock feel, one that is enhanced by their friendships. Cosgrove, Patterson, Lee and Connelly have known each other since middle school and have grown close through their musical pursuits.
“I think what really helps us all, when we’re practicing or learning, is that we were friends before bandmates,” Cosgrove said. “It really helps us mesh well together and creates that energy.”
This friendship, and their shared love for music, began when they started playing together in middle school. Despite some fiery beginnings– including a former bandmate who was arrested for pyromania– Cosgrove, Lee and Patterson continued to play together as they entered high school. They formed their previous band, Whiplash, in their freshman year when Connelly joined the foursome. That group played together for nearly a year, performing in both Couchella, a music festival hosted by the Harbinger, and Love146, a concert put on by Coalition, last year.
But a little over two months ago, they decided their band needed a new name and a new member. Their old name– Whiplash– was the name of a rock band in the 80s, and they decided it was time for something more modern and original. They changed their name and brought in 8th grader Christian Alldredge, a friend of Connelly’s.
“[Alldredge] just brings this wild energy and he knows so many people in the music community,” Connelly said.
And with the addition of Alldredge, the Whips were created.
Onstage, when the five boys are belting into their singular mic and jamming together to the beat of the rock music, their connection and shared energy is projected into the audience. At the end of their show, the fans go home with “The Whips love you” scrawled on their wrists in ball point pens, and the five boys stand in the middle of the cluster of fans, covered in sweat and wide grins.
Photos by Ally Griffith