Wilton band plays to iTunes success

While it may be easy for some to write off a rock band made up of four middle school kids, The Next Generation makes it impossible to do so.

The Wilton-based group recently released its first single on iTunes, and it’s worth the 99-cent price tag.

Always Stay True opens with a loud power-chord guitar intro that is backed by an excellent drum sequence by bandleader Cameron Berg. The percussion element does well to call Fleetwood Mac’s Mick Fleetwood on Go Your Own Way to mind.

Vocals by Ethan Parker — with more depth than expected — eventually give way to a true, old-school guitar solo by guitarist Sean Maljanian.

By phone on Tuesday, Nov. 19, Cameron told The Bulletin the two-year-old song was inspired by the transition involved with moving from elementary school to middle school.

“When we wrote that song, that was a pretty busy time. We were in the middle of a transition from elementary school to middle school, and we

felt we weren’t getting clear instruction on what was going on. There was one thing that would always stay true, and that was music for us,” he said.

Drew Peterson, the band’s bassist, joins Ethan, Sean, and Cameron to complete the four-member lineup that is The Next Generation.

Drew, Sean, and Cameron attend Middlebrook Middle School, and Ethan attends Greens Farms Academy in Westport.

Each member comes to the table with different musical influences, Cameron said, ranging from his own love of Rush’s Neal Pert, to Ethan’s favorite band, Pearl Jam.

“We all really come from different musical influences,” he said. “Sean is very inspired by Green Day and Led Zeppelin, those are his two bands. Drew is a Red Hot Chili Peppers fanatic. Ethan loves Pearl Jam and is also a big Led Zeppelin fan. My inspiration as a drummer comes from Rush’s Neal Pert and John Bonham of Zeppelin.”

Don’t expect this track to be The Next Generation’s only iTunes release. The band planned on using Always Stay True as a “test” at first, but with its success they plan on continuing the process.

“We wanted to see how it was selling, and how people liked a group of middle school kids putting a song on iTunes,” he said. “Between getting a newspaper interview and over 40 downloads on iTunes, I’d call it a success.”

The recording process, Cameron said, is something the whole band loves to do, even if it can often get tedious.

“Recording-wise, we hope to just keep writing and keep recording,” he said. “We really like how Always Stay True was recorded. We love doing it. When we recorded this, we were up all night, and there were 20 or 30 tracks on the song. It’s tedious, but it’s really exciting to see all of the different parts of a song come together.”

The group has previously played at Toquet Hall in Westport, the Ridgefield Playhouse, and Wilton’s Trackside Teen Center. On Dec. 6, it will return to Toquet Hall (toquethall.org), and it plans on playing the Ridgefield Band Jam next spring.

Scan the QR code below to hear a preview of The Next Generation’s track Always Stay True.