Members of the newest band to hit the Bay area scene can’t drive to their own gigs.
No one lost their license – it’s just that no one is old enough to get one.
Beyond Chaotic is a Wesley Chapel rock band made up of six members – and no one is more than 11 years old.
There’s Dominic Fusco on lead guitar, Alexandra Karafilis on violin, her brother Max on vocals, Kayla Mendoza on the keyboard, her brother Colin on drums, and Devon Bilek on bass. Together, they create a rock and roll sound usually made by musicians twice their age.
Alexandra Karafilis, 9, on the violin.
The six met at a rock band camp over the summer. They couldn’t leave rock and roll behind once school started, so they kept at it.
“I couldn’t be any more proud of them,” Evan Thibeault said, who taught them over the summer and still helps them perfect their sound. “They’re definitely keeping me on my toes. Sometimes I forget how young they are.”
Devon Bilek, 11, plays the bass in the band.
Their age is easy to forget. Recently, Beyond Chaotic has booked gigs at the Crow Bar in Ybor and at the Shops at Wiregrass.
The kids practice with Thibeault every Sunday, together a few times a week, and separately every single day. They’re all naturally talented, but it’s their hard work that makes them stand out.
“They took it upon themselves to practice more,” Cindy Karafilis said.
“To see all of those kids put that together to a band,” Thibeault said. “That’s something you don’t see every day.”
For these kids, the music is more than hanging out with their friends. It makes them feel proud.
“It feels awesome,” Dominic Fusco said. “Everyone’s cheering, everything is falling into place, it’s really fun.”
“It makes me feel accomplished,” Devon Bilek said. “That I can do this.”
Their parents couldn’t be prouder.
“The best feeling though is that they found something that they love,” Cindy Karafilis said. “If they can make a living doing something that they love, then that’s what counts.”
Paul Fusco said he’s so proud that his son Dominic is going after his dreams.
“When I was younger, I was always trying to get that safe job and making sure I always had a job instead of going after my dreams and risking failure,” he said. “(I tell him) go after your dream and if you fail, at least you tried.”
But this band doesn’t seem to be failing. After a successful run at Wiregrass for a few days, they’re already in talks to book another gig in April.
Colin Mendoza plays on drums during band practice.
“It’s a total transformation,” said Judy Bilek, Devon’s mom. “It’s only been a couple of months but just to see their confidence has grown, and it really makes them feel good.”
“It makes us really proud parents.”
The band isn’t stopping there. The kids are starting to write their own songs and have goals of going on tour and getting signed to a record label.
Big dreams – but not unattainable.
“It’s not unheard of for kids like them to get that next step and to really take it as far as they can,” Thibeault said.”
It’s from their performance at the Shops at Wiregrass on Nov. 25