Photograph by Eric Sebald
HEAVY: Shane Sebald, Jimmy Kennedy and Zane Covington are trying to make it in metal.
Anatomy of a teenage metal band
By Karl Byrn
Success in the music business can take years or it can happen overnight. Either way, local teen metal sensation Intangled are off to a solid start. The young trio—guitarist Jimmy Kennedy, age 16, bassist Zane Covington, age 15, and drummer Shane Sebald, age 12—all have advanced natural talent, skills self-taught from devoted attention to bands from the golden age of speed metal and thrash like Slayer, Iron Maiden and Megadeth. "My iPod is my bass lesson," says Covington, who's been playing with Sebald ever since they were ages nine and six.In these early years, they've already played dozens of all-ages shows and had tracks played on local radio, including North Bay Underground on Fox 101.7-FM. For Intangled, metal isn't a way to rebel, but rather a way to bond. "I think nowadays it's a lot different," Covington says. "There's a thrash revival going on. I saw a documentary trailer talking about how parents were into it, sharing their old tapes and vinyl. Now you listen to metal because your parents listen to it, and you like it too."
Importantly, the band members have a dynamic support system at home and at school. Intangled's practice space is the living room at Sebald's home, proudly offered by his parents due to its hassle-free rural location outside Petaluma. Extended family is there for rides, support at shows and as an ongoing source of exposure to metal and classic rock. "I like helping the kids, because I can enjoy the music with them. My parents never did that with me," says Shane's dad, Eric Sebald, who serves as the band's de facto manager and also takes the guys to local shows and big gigs like Ozzfest.
At school, Intangled became peer favorites gradually. Kennedy and Covington are sophomores at Santa Rosa High School, where they say Intangled were rejected from last year's Battle of the Bands both because they were freshman and because their image was deemed offensive. Yet their popularity has risen. "Anyone who sees us perform loves us," Kennedy says. "I went into the music room at our school and someone had carved 'Intangled Rules' in the piano. Nobody told us about it—it was just there."
Covington adds, "It's better this year than last year. We know all the metal heads, there are other people coming up, and we're really trying to get people to start bands."Drummer Sebald, who attends Twin Oaks Middle School in Sebastopol, notes that at his school "last year only two people liked metal. This year, I've given out a whole bunch of demos, and everybody loves it." He reports that a history teacher even played their demo in class at the request of fellow students. Likewise, Covington mentions a favorite English teacher who has publicly shouted out the awesomeness of Iron Maiden.Intangled's popularity is set to spike when they release their first full-length album this fall. They're completing eight new originals to add to a four-song demo recorded this summer at Santa Rosa's Atlas Studios, where they were recently featured at a sold-out all-ages show. Kennedy says the new track "Thrown to Oblivion" is a song "from the 'Viking metal' subgenre," while new songs like "Slave" and "Path of Suffering" feature classic driving rock thrust. Often, song verses feature the two guitarists on alternating vocal parts in their ongoing exploration of thrash songwriting.
"We never write songs the same way," Kennedy says. "Three months later it will sound completely different. The song's not done when you write it that day."Intangled's music is far from finished, and their ability to be a next-generation metal band is huge. Covington notes that he aspires to "have the craziest audiences and the craziest shows." Acknowledging that youth presents challenges, he also appreciates its opportunities. "I'll talk to some bands that are like, 'Wow, you guys play at your drummer's house, and they make you food and everything? You guys are lucky.'" He stops and reflects. "We are one of the luckiest bands around."
Intangled hit the main stage with Thought Vomit, Devour the Masses and Importaletum on Friday, Oct. 2, at the Phoenix Theatre. 201 Washington St., Petaluma. 8pm. $8; all ages. 707.762.3565.
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