Story by Nicole Pajer
As the fake ID-bearing McLovin' in Superbad, Christopher Mintz-Plasse portrayed — stay with us here — one of the all-time great on-screen characters. He went on to play the socially awkward, Lair-loving Augie in Role Models and a crime-fighting nerd in Kick Ass.
But in real life, he's not such a geek. In fact, he's the drummer in the Young Rapscallions, a quite cool rock band he formed with childhood best friends.
While it's tempting to dismiss the Young Rapscallions as the new “hobby” of a career-hopping actor, Mintz-Plasse says he takes the band very seriously. “Right now it is a close second to my acting,” he says. “I love being on set, but as soon as I can make a living playing music, it'll be right up there.”
The “garage rock” band, as they humorously dub themselves, practice three times a week in the San Fernando Valley garage of Mintz-Plasse's parents. After receiving his first big paycheck from Superbad, the actor purchased a drum kit and began playing along to Black Sabbath's “Hand of Doom” on his iPod and jamming to White Stripes songs with guitarist-friend Nick Chamian. In 2007, the duo decided to pursue original tunes and teamed up with vocalist Jonathan Sanders and bass player Taylor Messersmith.
The Young Rapscallions describe themselves as a cross between Pearl Jam and San Diego indie rockers Pinback. While they're approaching their fifth year together, the Rapscallions have only recently begun to focus on playing live.
Chamian says the music has progressed drastically since their debut EP, Everything Vibrates, which was released in September. “I think within the last year, we've just started to scratch at the surface of defining our own kind of sound,” he says.
Their initial tunes were very basic, Chamian is quick to explain, and they rarely perform any of them onstage.
The band put out their second EP, It Is What It Is, in January. According to Mintz-Plasse, it is conceptual and “Floydesque.” “Each song has a very different feel. We open with a grungy, heavy, fast-moving song, and close with one of the more beautiful songs we have written.”
While the Young Rapscallions are receiving attention due to their celebrity member, they strive to be taken seriously as musicians. “We're still building our fan base,” Chamian says. “We recently had two girls fly in from London for a show.”
An avid music lover, Mintz-Plasse just wants people to give his band a listen: “I'm not trying to prove anything, just put out some good rock songs and have a lot of fun.”
The Young Rapscallions play the Viper Room tonight