(Credit: Liza Chrust/MTV)
This week’s MTV PUSH artist is Paper Tongues, an innovative North Carolina-bred outfit that fuses hip-hop attitude, loud rock riffs and U2-esque anthems to make a sound all their own. The band recently released its self-titled debut album and is supplying the theme song for the new MTV show “When I Was 17.”
You’ll be seeing a lot of Paper Tongues on MTV this week, but in case you still don’t know the band, let “American Idol” judge Randy Jackson tell you a little more about how the band laced him with its demo.
Plus, watch Paper Tongues’ video for “Trinity” and the epic effort “Ride to California.” And after the jump, read what the guys in the band had to say about their time as teenagers.
+ Paper Tongues wrote the theme song to MTV’s new show “When I Was 17.” Here’s what the band members were like when they were 17.
When I was 17, life was about being a rap star while trying to hustle. I was living in Jacksonville, North Carolina, at mom and dad’s house. They had adopted me. I was busy trying to figure out how to be a good criminal without getting caught. Since none of it was really me, I really missed out on being 17, but at the time I thought that what I was doing and how I was living was everything. In high school I spent my entire day socializing and in typing class, typing every rap that I had written in my notebook the day before. This went on for a whole year. Every day I had a new rap to type in class. I was also trying to date college girls. 17 was really a horrible crapshoot for me. I wasted it drinking and wish I could do it all over again.
When I was 17, I listened to Death Cab for Cutie all day long. I rode skateboards like I didn’t know what a broken bone was, and I started drinking coffee. I moved out of my parents’ house and started living in a broken-down apartment with a couple of good friends. I worked at Urban Outfitters and barely paid my rent. I lived off ramen and thought that putting frozen vegetables and hot sauce in it made the dish more legitimate. I played in a rock band that wasn’t going anywhere, but it was the most important thing in my life. 17 was a great year for me. I learned the importance of being on my own and how hard life really is. I went through a lot of hairstyles. Yep.
When I was 17 I was living at home eating captain crunch and trying to figure out how to be a normal citizen because I realized later that in a year I would be turning 18 and should think about the world at large. Also I was trying to be cool, even though the closest role model I had was Creed and Jessie Katsopolis from “Full House.” P.S.: That guy is pretty awesome. I didn’t know anything when I was 17, but I was one step closer to being myself, which was an idea I had about being my grandpa who woke at 7 a.m. and fished every day and talked about war stories. Basically, thought I was cool, and I still do. Man I daydream about being 75.
There are a few things that really defined the 17th year of my life: acoustic guitar, homemade hemp jewelry, Dave Matthews Band and bootcut jeans. I was quiet, yet confident, with shaggy hair like one of The Beatles or Justin Bieber. I was finally discovering Radiohead and most of the bands that would influence my musical development. I didn’t have a girlfriend, but had lots of girlfriends. In fact, I was friends with just about anybody and everybody and as nonconfrontational as you could possibly be. All the teachers loved me. I never tried in school but got good grades. I ate at Chick-fil-A as many times as possible in one week, even after working there for more than a year. I was, am and always will be a mama’s boy. I never listened to hip-hop or pop country and took life like a 17-year-old should. “Whatever happens, happens.” And that got me to where I am today.
At 17, I was living in Rapid City, South Dakota. I was a senior in high school, captain of the cross-country team, a straight-A student taking college courses and on a fail-proof course toward medical school. I didn’t do a lot of partying, as most of my time was consumed with different sports and school. I probably took everything way too seriously. Oh yeah, I was also taking classical piano lessons at the time. Being a small-town kid from South Dakota, I never thought it would even be possible to pursue childhood dreams such as playing music for a living. I had my life all planned out and had no intentions of deterring from the course. This is all sounding a bit boring, but the upside is that now, eight years later, I’m living my childhood dream of playing music for a living — living a constant adventure where I have no clue of what’s next, but feel more alive than I have ever before. The end.
When I was 17 it seemed that homework took up most of my time. I attended a small private school where almost every teacher felt it was a good thing to give a ton of homework. At the time I didn’t care so much about playing sports at school, but instead filled my extra time with songwriting and working on art projects. I actually played and practiced the bass guitar more than the piano at the time. I would get away by myself and just play piano and bass for hours. I was a bit introverted but was determined not to let that stand in the way. I tried to make friends with those who were different from me and ended up making some good friends because of that. I lived out on a farm, just outside of a small town of 3,500 people in Minnesota. It was my parents’ dairy farm, and so I had to do a lot of chores to help out. At the time I didn’t enjoy all the work, but it made the time I had off so much more relaxing. Like every summer swimming and boating on the beautiful lakes in northern Minnesota.
At the age of 17 I was a junior in the same private school Diddy attended back when he was a junior. I was still living with my mom in the projects back in the Bronx, New York. At the age of 17 I got my first tattoo that resulted in the sleeve that takes up most of my left arm today. At 17 Coheed and Cambria had more than 13,000 plays on my iPod. At the age of 17 I lied to every cool kid about my virginity. Haha, I guess I just wanted to be cooler than you at the age of 17.