They came to win

Noise Pollution takes title at Battle of the Bands

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It takes Noise Pollution drummer Nathan Walsh 30 minutes each morning and evening to make his mohawk stand up. That rock 'n' roll image helped Walsh and his bandmates win the third annual Teen Battle of the Bands on Saturday night.

But it's not just Walsh's hair that gets special treatment; he also decorates his drum set with pink fuzz and some safety features.

"I like my drums to be unique," Walsh said. "I put a pad on them in case Ryan has a crash-and-burn solo."

Ryan Kelley, the band's guitarist, started his musical career when he was 12. Kelley would hold a shovel like a guitar while Walsh banged on pots. It wasn't until after they formed Noise Pollution that Kelley took guitar lessons, Walsh took drum lessons, and lead vocalist Ian Noble took voice lessons.

Two years later, the band practices every Monday and Friday in Walsh's garage. The band members say they're in it for the long run. They say they'd like to go on tour after they graduate from high school. Walsh is in eighth grade, and Kelley and Noble are ninth-graders.

One thing they don't lack is confidence.

"It's not about if we get famous; it's about when we get famous," Kelley said.

"It's not about being cocky. It's definitely just about the dream," Walsh added. "It's definitely coming together now. We are so far in our music careers and are so young."

Noise Pollution has performed at three talent shows and a middle school dance. Their audience at the Teen Battle of the Bands was the most rowdy crowd they have played for, they said.

"It was intense. If there's a crowd, there will be moshing," Noble said.

Noise Pollution's influences include The Ramones, The Sex Pistols, Blink 182 and an Australian band that only Noble has heard of.

"We play classic punk, real punk -- not what would be on the charts as punk today," Kelley said.

The band plays a mixture of cover and original songs they create during jam sessions.

"As we play a song a million times, it mutates. We then either drop it or mutate it more," Kelley said. "We go on and on until Ian runs out of stuff to say."

They made up the endings to the two original songs they played at the battle of the bands the night before the performance.

The band attributes its victory to the band members' stage presence. The musicians admit they were worried about the competition because they had to play after Robby Jones, but Noise Pollution took the title by winning over the audience.

"We were jumping around and really feeling the audience and using that to put more energy into it," Noble said.

Band members also owe a great deal of their success to their biggest supporters -- their parents. Kelley's father, musician Randy Kelley of Worried Men, taught him how to play guitar. Noble's mom enrolled him in singing lessons, and he compares her to Yoko Ono because she acts like his manager and tells him which songs to play.

Walsh said his parents provide great support and let the band use their garage to practice.

"All of our parents have been a big help," Walsh said.

Their biggest challenge so far?

"Getting my homework done so I can jam," Noble said.

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