June 18, 2004 in Features, Seven

BOBfest band all grown up

By The Spokesman-Review
Amanda Smith photo

Cole Tanner, 15, far left, twins Riley and Curran Long, 15, and Pat O’Neill, 15, center, of BOBfest winners Mylestone.
(Full-size photo)

Meet the leaders of the next school of local music: Mylestone.

This pop rock quartet has gone through an extreme makeover in the past year. They used to be a pop band that played Motown covers.

Now they’ve grown their hair over their eyes all hip-like and added crunchier guitar riffs for a brand of pop rock that saw them win both the people’s choice and judge’s favorite at BOBfest last weekend.

While there were several great bands (The Agitators, For Years Blue, and Thalamos, to name a few), none had the crowd on its feet, screaming and dancing, quite like Mylestone. You would have thought rock stars were onstage at the Clocktower in Riverfront Park on Saturday.

But it was a quartet of sophomores from Lewis and Clark and Ferris high schools that was rocking the audience.

Mylestone members are no strangers to BOBfest, or performing at other major community events – everything from cancer benefits to Junior Bloomsday and First Night.

You might recognize the former band name, a group that’s been together since fourth grade, Cuz’n – comprised of a lead singer with a voice that’s bigger than he is, Pat O’Neill, along with his cousins (thus the name), twins Curran and Riley Long. Bassist Cole Tanner was added to the mix two months ago.

They’ve dropped the Jackson 5 and Beatles covers and are writing Nirvana-Foo Fighters-influenced, hook-heavy guitar pop rock songs.

And the response from their peers is staggering.

If that endorsement isn’t enough, they have been training under the guidance of Myles Kennedy, formerly of Spokane’s Mayfield Four and current lead singer for Alter Bridge, the band formerly known as Creed. That’s where the “Y” in Mylestone comes from.

While most aspiring rockers their age are falling for emo and indie bands, Mylestone is taking it back to the ‘70s and ‘80s.

“That’s when everything was true,” O’Neill said.

I’m not sure how O’Neill is so sure, since he wasn’t born until 1989 and lists bands from the grunge-heavy ‘90s as his current influences, but he talks assuredly nonetheless.

Regardless of what era Mylestone’s music comes from, the real selling point of the band is O’Neill’s lights-out vocals.

When he was in eighth grade, I was awed at how closely his voice mirrored a young Michael Jackson during a cute cover of “I’ll Be There.”

So the obvious question, now that he is in high school, is will his voice changing affect his singing?

He says yes, but in a positive way.

“I’m actually able to sing lower, but I can still hit the high notes,” O’Neill said.

This week Mylestone is finishing a new album, “Out of the Basement,” recorded at Black Coffee recording studio. It features nine original songs and a cover of Mayfield Four’s “Suckerpunch.” To hear tracks from “Out of the Basement,” go to www.spokane7.com/soundwave.

O’Neill said Mylestone members already are eager to use the College Road studio package they won at BOBfest for a new album they plan to write this summer.

Their schedule already is filling with gigs, including a slot at the Got Milk? Battle of Bands at the Spokane Valley Mall next Friday.

If this quartet is any indication of the who-got-next talent pool, then the future of the local music scene is in ready hands.

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