Arts

Teenage rock band The Alive to perform at Shaky Knees

The Alive! will perform at Shaky Knees Oct. 23.
The Alive! will perform at Shaky Knees Oct. 23.
Credit Steve Sherwin

The precocious and talented California band The Alive is taking over international stages and this weekend’s Shaky Knees Music Festival in Atlanta.

The Alive comprises Bastian Evans, 16, and brothers Kai and Manoa Neukermans, aged 17 and 13, respectively. They’re all dedicated surfers, skaters, and conscientious environmentalists — and their music shows it. The trio joined “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes via Zoom to talk about their incredible journey in music, beginning when they were barely as big as the instruments they played.

Kai and Bastian were seven and eight years old when they played music together in Montecito, California.

“I was playing on a really crappy electric guitar, but it was fun,” said Bastian, “and then Kai was playing a drum set that I had gotten for Christmas when I was five years old.”

Later, the band found their new bass player close to home — Kai’s younger brother Manoa. Today, Kai’s the drummer in the band, and Bastian sings and plays the guitar.

“I think it was Bastian who came up with ‘The Alive,’ or one of Bastian’s parents,” said Manoa. Bastian confirmed, “After [our] first band split up, me and Kai just wanted to keep playing music, and we felt ourselves as if… we wanted to stay ‘alive,’ just keep playing music for the rest of our lives.”

The three now play on stages internationally, in front of giant crowds. They’ve hit Lollapalooza Chile, Ohana Fest, and opened up the main stage at Bottlerock for the Foo Fighters, among dozens of other gigs most bands would envy.

The Alive’s influences include Queens of the Stone Age, Black Sabbath, and Rush, and the bandmates all agree they owe a lot to their parents for introducing them to the rock music they now love.

“We’d grow up going surfing and skating. In the car, our parents would start playing music,” recalled Bastian. “I didn’t pay attention the first four or five years I was alive – but after a while, I started really listening to what was playing, and got a connection to some of the bands, especially… Queens of the Stone Age; my dad would play it all the time in the morning, especially on the way to school.”

Earlier this year, the band released a music video for their new song, “Mud,” which shines a spotlight on the vulnerability of the Earth’s oceans — a topic close to their hearts, as passionate surfers.

“We need to get our stuff together before it’s too late,” said Manoa. “I want to live on a planet that’s free of plastic.” Bastian added, “Growing up so close to the beach… I’ve seen rocks corroding away that used to be there for hundreds of years, and plastic all over the place… It’s really detrimental to not only humans but the whole ocean life. I love surfing, and it’s so sad to have to make sure the water quality’s good enough to surf in.”

Fans can catch The Alive at the Shaky Knees in Atlanta this Saturday, Oct. 23.

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