Those Precocious Young Bloods in Old Skull Are the Only Punk Rockers with a 9 O'Clock Bedtime
They are every baby-sitter’s nightmare: three leather-lunged boys who curse with abandon, never sit still and just can’t get their hands on enough stuff to break. But Jesse Collins-Davies, 10, J.P. Toulon, 10, and his brother Jamie, 8, haven’t been sent to their rooms for their antics—they’ve gotten a record contract instead. Together they are Old Skull, the world’s youngest punk band.
Old Skull got its start three years ago in Madison, Wis., when the boys began jamming with the blessings of their dads, Robin Davies, a rock bass player, and Verne Toulon, who plays in a local rock band. By the time executives at Restless Records in L.A. heard one of their tapes, the trio had perfected what company talent recruiter Ron Goudie calls their “insightful and unpolluted” sound. Their debut album, Get Outta School, was released in June and has sold some 10,000 copies.
Old Skull’s members admit to a certain lack of polish. J.P, for instance, can’t play all the chords on his guitar. “It sounds better that way,” he says. And Jamie, Jesse claims, “doesn’t do nothin’ but smash on metal.” (“I do too,” Jamie counters.) The boys do write their own material—songs ranging from the gritty “Kick Ass” (“We’re gonna kick ass ’cause my dad said so”) to the more civic-minded “AIDS” and “Homeless.” This summer they strutted their stuff at the Ritz nightclub in New York and on MTV. Says J.P.: “We got to smash our equipment and blow away people’s speakers.”
Back home, life is generally calmer. The band practices once a month in the Toulons’ basement in preparation for weekend gigs around Wisconsin. They spend their free time skateboarding and are in bed by 9ish. And should their new fame start to go to their heads, there is always school to keep them in line. “The principal won’t let us play our music anymore because we say ‘hell’ and ‘ass,’ ” says J.P “I sort of see what he means.”