by Maddy Siiter
I sat down with Max Timander, frontman of Cherry Cola (Stereo Confession), during his lunch break on a Saturday afternoon in a tropical themed Vietnamese restaurant. He carried in a cartoon lunchbox full of applesauce and tortilla chips and by the humility in his personality, you wouldn’t know just how successful the young singer/guitarist has already been.
Not many 12-year-olds are running successful music blogs and not many 18-year-olds can say their band has been on tour and signed to a label. It might not be typical, but it’s normal to him.
Timander started his blog Are You Rockin’ in middle school with encouragement from his dad, who ran a magazine. When he got in contact with the head music critic at the Star Tribune, more and more bands started sending him their music for review, surprised or not at his young age.
“I would get home from school and write a couple reviews on like, the newest Green Day album or something,” Timander says, who was a regular at local shows in middle school, even on school nights. “No one else at my school was doing that. Everyone else was just listening to Katy Perry or something. I definitely had a different life going on than most of the kids around me at the time.”
It would only take a little bit of time after that for Stereo Confession to form, originating in Rock Band class — students were told to pick up instruments and learn various cover songs from popular bands like Journey and Evanescence. Timander, who calls Jack White “a madman” and his biggest musical influence growing up, decided against what was assigned to learn. “In my specific group, we did a cover of the White Stripes song, ‘Hardest Button to Button’ and the three of us really clicked over it, so we just decided to start out as a three piece.”
When The Current picked up Stereo Confession’s song ‘Video Games,’ the number of band members grew along with their popularity around town. The five piece surf-rock band signed to Minneapolis-based label Susstones Records through their producer and toured through parts of the Midwest and East Coast in the spring and summer of this year.
It seemed like Stereo Confession was on the top of the world, so it came as a shock to many fans when Max and the band announced they’d be playing their last show together at the end of summer.
Sitting back in the worn, red booth, Timander looked to be choosing his words carefully before elaborating on the break-up. “It was time. It just became more difficult to write as a band and get together to practice at the same time. It was getting weird and just happened.”
But with the loyalty of the local music scene, Timander isn’t worried about people not catching on to the transition. “When [Stereo Confession] broke up, and The Current did the profile on it they really touched base on that I had [Cherry Cola] together and that I already had shows coming up.”
“I wanted something that was paying off. It’s under my image and each [band members] have our own names [within the band]. That’s why I started Cherry Cola, just to get my own ideas out there and have it feel a little more rewarding,” Timander says, this time sounding a little more optimistic. “It’s heavier and grungier, louder. It’s nice to be in a new group and experiment with it.”
As for what’s next for Cherry Cola, Timander says there’s talk of tour and new music in the future. His days as a middle school music blogger might be over, but it’s time for Max to be on the other end of the review.
Catch Cherry Cola at the Hexagon Bar 11/5.