By April Reynolds
The rock band SER is made up of young men from Fort Gibson who not only have a great rapport with each other, they also have drive and talent.
SER, Spanish for “to be,” has five members. Each are brimming with talent. Tristan Hill, 13, is the bass guitarist; Joel Anderson, 14, plays the keyboard; Nathan Walkingstick, 14, is on the drums; Teddy Hammond, 14, plays backup guitar/rhythm; and Britton Vanlandingham 15, is the lead guitarist and does vocals.
They have known each other for years but have just formed SER in the last six months.
Before that, Hill and Walkingstick had rocked out at John Michael’s Rock Camp, and Walkingstick and Vanlandingham have a history of performing in jazz band.
Hill and Vanlandingham, who are neighbors, pretended as younger children to be rock stars.
“We both jammed on our toy guitars as kids. He could play, I couldn’t,” Hill said.
The band practices once a week and are working on some original songs.
“We’re kind of working on writing our own music,” Walkingstick said.
“Yeah we’re working on one right now, and it’s pretty good, but classified as of now,” Hill said.
“Well, we just got started today,” Hammond said, and everyone laughed.
They said they usually start by Vanlandingham laying down the guitar riff, and then the rest of the group comes in and makes something that sounds pretty amazing.
And this group of kids is pretty amazing, said Barrett Vanlandingham, Britton’s father.
“When us parents get together we get really excited about the friendships that are growing. They are just really good, wholesome boys,” Vanlandingham said.
The band has been heavily influenced by bands like Green Day, AC/DC, Van Halen and Guns N’ Roses.
“When Britton was younger he picked the most difficult riff he could think of to start playing,” the elder Vanlandingham said. “He was a big fan of Slash, and he would play “Sweet Child of Mine,” over and over. Probably for a least five months that is all we heard.”
The boys each have special influences and reasons for playing.
For Hill it’s more of an alternate personality where he can allow himself not be so shy, he said.
Hammond said that he was influenced by others.
“My uncle was playing and Britton was, so I started,” Hammond said.
Nathan Walkingstick said his inspiration comes from his father, who also plays the drums.
“He is a big influence on me. He is really good,” Walkingstick said.
Anderson said he gets his backing from his band mates.
“For me, it’s more about encouraging than inspiring,” Anderson said. “They play something, and then they tell me what to play and what sounds good.”
SER has played several talent shows, at the Fort Gibson Annual car show this past June and more recently at the Roxy in Muskogee where the efforts paid off in the form of $123 in tips, which is the highest amount they have made playing together.
But they are not stopping there. They have a surprise party concert planned for one of their uncles, and have a Facebook page for promotion and would love to set up some more shows, they said.
Their playlist is growing much like their bonds. The resonating theme among the group is friendship. When asked what the best part of being rock stars was they each responded similarly hanging out with one another jamming and having fun.