Local teens coalesce through a shared appreciation for good music.
- Written byAmber Klinck
As Katy Shea rallies the attention of the band, hoping to make the most of the last few minutes of practice, she smiles and apologizes for the cramped quarters. “Sorry, I know it’s stuffy in here, but that’s band practice for you.”
Katy and the guys are working on perfecting Kenny Loggins’ 1986 release of “Danger Zone.” You might know it from a little film called Top Gun.
Nathan Derhake is on keyboard, Slater Heidrich on electric bass, Henry Watts on electric guitar, Christopher Beauchamp on drums and Stanford Friedman on lead vocals. The band, known as Delirious, has been playing together since September 2015 and meets weekly at the Coast Music Conservatory in Hermosa Beach as part of Coast’s band program. Through the co-instruction of teachers Katy Shea, who focuses primarily on vocals and keyboard, and Cory Spurgin, who focuses primarily on guitars and drums,
Delirious has been working to prepare for their March 13 performance at Saint Rocke.
For some of the band members, playing with Delirious is solely a hobby. For others, it’s a way to prepare for a profession in the music world. “For me it’s both,” Henry notes. “I’d like to be a popular artist, but not like today’s terrible artists.”
Henry’s statement makes the rest of the band members laugh as they quickly assert which artists are good—Arctic Monkeys … and awful—Justin Bieber. There seems to be a consensus that most of today’s “mainstream” artists aren’t particularly impressive. Except for Taylor Swift … she gets a pass. Oh, and Pharrell. Everyone loves Pharrell.
Whatever their individual reasons are for playing with Delirious, their innate draw to music—as well as an earnest appreciation for their favorite artists—is visible with all the boys.
“In my kindergarten class, I was always tapping the table with my fingers,” Christopher, who is now in seventh grade, explains. “I would always get in trouble until my teacher recommended I take up the drums.”
For Stanford, now in sixth grade, singing has been something he’s been doing his whole life. Delirious just offers him a more formalized platform to do so.
It’s when the band talks about the artists who inspire them, however, that their passion for music is the most apparent. The Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Beatles, Queen, Led Zeppelin and Johnny Cash all make the list for some of the all-time great musicians. But credit is also given to some lesser-known artists, particularly in the category of rap.
“The reason rap gets so much hate is because the media showcases the worst artists,” explains Christopher. “But in reality, if you dig deeper into it, record labels like Pro Era and Odd Future have some really talented young artists.”
Their love of music and commitment to the band enable Delirious to play so well as a collective. “Performing rock songs as an ensemble is a very adult skill,” Katy notes. “But time and time again they rise to whatever challenge we give them.”
Katy, who discovered her own passion for teaching while studying music in college, emphasizes process over results. “My perspective on teaching has changed now that I am a mother,” she explains. “I used to see everything from the kids’ perspectives. Now I see the students through the eyes of their proud parents. I know it’s more about the musical journey and the joy of learning, not about perfection.”
It seems pretty clear from the camaraderie between the five band members that everyone’s enjoying their journey.