By LA Weekly
By Henry Rollins
By Weekly Photographers
By Shea Serrano
By Nate "Igor" Smith
By Dan Weiss
By Erica E. Phillips
By Kai Flanders
Two years ago, he was teaching guitar and sound engineering at the Paul Green School of Rock franchise in Agoura Hills. His sons took music lessons there, and Pace was teacher to guitarists Klaiman and Sherwood and saw how well they worked together. By the end of 2008, he'd put them together as a band.
When the teens were struggling to choose a name, he was surprised to see them adopt Rue-Lynx, the name of a metal act he was part of during the early '80s. The name had no meaning whatsoever, not then and not now. It just sounded cool.
Colby and his brothers have seen the pictures of their dad. "He had huge hair, bright colors, tight pants," says the singer. "Typical ' 80s hair metal. He has most of that stuff in the closet still. I think I'm going to wear some of it for Halloween this year."
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The studio is headquarters for Rue-Lynx, and leaning against a wall is a grease board covered with notes: "Ideas for Show: Glow in the dark (black light), Blue armpit hair, Drum on guitars (blue-light drumsticks), Fog, Get Jonas Bros. to play all our parts."
They tell the story of working with Matthew Gerrard, the pop producer behind hit songs for Kelly Clarkson, Nick Carter and High School Musical. He reached out to Rue-Lynx just minutes after the band posted a recording of "Temperature's Rising" to their MySpace page. He would eventually sign them to a contract and bring the band to the Capitol Records building in Hollywood for a day of recording in historic Studio B, site of sessions by the likes of Dean Martin and Green Day. They worked with him for a year, but the discussion drifted away from just making music to seeking a TV deal. Both sides seem to have moved on.
The band keeps working, beginning this afternoon rehearsal with the grinding riffs of a song called "Blinded." Klaiman steps up to unfurl an intense solo on a Stratocaster covered in stickers, lost in the moment, leaning back, his sneakers planted on the carpet. Just as noticeable is that when Rue-Lynx drops the broad stage moves, and the between-song chitchat, they come off as more natural, direct, a real rock band, not kids aping the moves of much older players.
As they're jamming through the tune, Klaiman's dad, Andy Klaiman, walks up to me. "I would take him to the Sam Ash store competitions ... and he was beating the older players," he says with pride. "He was doing that at 10. I knew he was a natural."
The others begin to pack up to leave. David Hiller is excited about ideas for the band's first music videos. One of them has cows being led to slaughter, but instead of cattle "we have people with cow heads coming to slaughter the band," he says. "That would be crazy!" And there's his idea that begins with Klaiman driving a limo, and out of the back comes a chimp with a couple of rock chicks. "This chimp is pouring Champagne on the girls!" He wants to go 3-D.
On this Sunday afternoon, the band has come to Sound Studios in Van Nuys, where Rue-Lynx typically prepares for big shows by renting a room with a stage. Several parents are giving feedback. "Let's put more energy into it and let's go on with the solo sessions," says Robert Pace, talking like a coach. "I know it's hot. It's going to be hot everywhere you play."
By the entrance are bulletin boards covered with fliers and business cards for bands and players and tech support. There's one for a guy who creates band logos, another asking, "Need videos?" There are listings for guitar lessons, a T-shirt maker, a photographer, a "sleaze rock hair metal" act looking for an awesome singer, bands seeking drummers, a drummer needing a band.
Aside from the rehearsal, the teens have scheduled meetings with a stylist and a trio of potential music-video makers. While they're waiting, Hiller groans comically and holds up the newspaper ad for their upcoming Key Club show, pointing to the microscopic type listing Rue-Lynx on the bill. "I can almost read that," Klaiman says.
The first to arrive is the "stylist," an actor named Hector Hank, a bearded hipster in a porkpie hat who greets the band with hugs. He's been invited to discuss helping Rue-Lynx develop a bit of personal style. They all step into the lounge. "You've got so much going on for you it's sometimes confusing for the consumer," Hank insists, "so you've got to dumb it down a little bit."
Hank asks the teens to imagine distinctive looks for one another. Hiller suggests a suit for Klaiman, with short pants, burn holes and a top hat. Sherwood sees Colby in a ninja costume. The stylist then turns to Sherwood in his backward baseball cap and says, "If you don't mind bright colors, I'm telling you, man, the girls are gonna lose it. I would go more couture if I were you."
Soon the filmmakers arrive, and they are very enthusiastic about Hiller's video concepts. They are from a company called Ento La, still in their 20s and maybe not long out of film school. The filmmakers talk about their new macro lens, how good it is at shooting insects up close, and how the guys want to work that in somehow. One says, "You're kind of moving people into our own psychedelic nightmare — all these crazy bug heads."