Teach the children well

Local teen jams with Northwest rock royalty

By Joshua Swainston on September 28, 2011

What were you doing when you were 13?  For me, it was playing SimCity in-between rounds of Magic the Gathering.  But then again, I'm a geek who writes for the local arts paper.  For most, 13-years-old is not a productive age. 

For Adam Bredlau, a guitar player, his 13th year signifies a milestone in his rock education.  Bredlau's childhood was surrounded by music. The son of Aaron Bredlau, of the former Las Vega- based rock group Sparkler Dims, and Joanna Walker, Miss Tattoo Tacoma 2010, Adam grew up listening to a collection of seven-inch indie, punk and new wave records. His parents soon introduced him to rock shows, with the Misfits, Pavement and Weezer rounding out his early music education. 

"He's gonna make a good rock star," says local music legend Kim Warnick, whose resume includes the Cali Giraffes, Fastbacks, Motorhoney and Visqueen.

What makes Bredlau special is his passion for music and his unusual connection to the Northwest rock landscape. When Bredlau was born, Mikey Davis, of the Cali Giraffes, Capillaries and Alien Crime Syndicate, and Bredlau's father played in the band Hannah Solar together.  Since then, Davis has become a lifelong friend and mentor to Bredlau. Davis resides in Seattle, while Bredlau relocated not long ago to Tacoma from Las Vegas - allowing the two to reconnect.  

Recently Davis formed the group Calligraphers, with Warnick and Evan Dando of the Lemonheads.  The name "Calligraphers" had to be changed after a lone song was recorded, with the band learning that another group had already claimed the moniker. Now, Davis and Warnick go by Cali Giraffe's (as a play on the spelling), with Dando having been replaced by Josh Freese (The Vandals, A Perfect Circle) for recording.   

"When we moved up here (from Las Vegas) my mom told me Mikey lived up here.  So we called him one day and asked (if he wanted) to hang out.  It was almost like a family reunion," describes Bredlau of reconnecting with Davis. "When we went to his apartment in Seattle, we knew he'd been playing with Kim.  And my mom has loved the Fastbacks forever.  We knock on his door and Kim's just sitting on the couch."

As a chance to further catch up Bredlau invited the pair down to Tacoma.  Davis and Warnick made their way south, with the cordial visit morphing into shop talk which morphed into an impromptu Cali Giraffes practice session, with Bredlau filling in with his Kurt Cobain signature Fender Jaguar. The three spent the afternoon playing at Bredlau's mom's house in Tacoma's Lincoln Park neighborhood. Adam so impressed Warnick and Davis that plans have been made to incorporate the 13-year old into a live show or recording sometime in the future. 

"Playing with Adam is great. I've known him since he was a baby," Davis says. "If he was 10 years older, he'd be playing guitar in our band."

Warnick who has been in the Seattle music scene since the 1980s, says it's great having young, dedicated fans like Adam.  When most young people are listening to the same overproduced, MTV-hyped pop music, she says it's an unusual case to find someone so young searching out great local music.

When asked about her popularity with a younger audience, Warnick says, "It's great! Never used to be like that back in the day. I guess we can all thank the Internet for that."

Awe struck, Bredlau recalls, "One day I went to lunch with Kim. She's tells me all these stories about Kurt (Cobain).  It's pretty cool to know that I'm so close to that scene now."

Adam Bredlau currently attends Stewart Middle School but hopes to enroll at Tacoma School of the Arts next year.