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These teens doing their part to save rock 'n' roll.

Byline: Serena Markstrom The Register-Guard

You might assume the band name Trapped in a Minivan is some exaggerated, tormented teenage statement about a lack of freedom.

But no. Lead singer Chase Clark, who just turned 16, actually got stuck in a minivan three years ago. His friend's mom took the boys out for pizza, but Clark fell asleep in the car.

When he woke up, the child safety locks were on and he couldn't get out. His friends didn't check on him because they thought he was still sleeping.

"Eventually, I got to eat some cold leftovers," Clark says.

The band has come a long way since Clark came up with the name. It recorded its first EP in December and January at Big Timbre Studio in West Eugene. Today, the band is ready to share during a CD release party at the UO's Agate Hall, with guests Kenzie and No Looking Back.

Trapped in a Minivan is a three-piece rock 'n' roll band out of Willamette High School. Clark is the group's founder and elder; he turned 16 in February. Zach Slaymaker, 15, plays drums, and Ian Jacobsen, 14, recently replaced Joe Landeros on bass.

The band placed first in talent shows at Cascade Middle School in 2003 and Willamette in 2004. Last year, Trapped in a Minivan placed second in the citywide battle of the bands competition at the WOW Hall.

Clark writes the songs, sings lead vocals and plays lead guitar. The band's debut, "Half Rack," is five songs; Clark says two are autobiographical: "Cherry Lips" and "Enough."

Track 3 is not about anyone in the band. "The Hooker Song" details an encounter with a cross-dressing male prostitute.

"It was actually one of our first songs," Clark says. "I wrote it back in eighth grade."

(Kids today, they grow up so fast, don't they?)

Although music has just about dominated his life leading up to this CD release party - the band practices four times a week and has hustled to get the word out about its show - Clark says he has other interests. He's class president, has been since sixth grade, and on the football team.

But his passion lies with music. He has a vision. He wants to help bring pure rock 'n' roll back into the mainstream.

"Rock 'n' roll is suffering," Clark says. "It's ready for a comeback right now. I think it's terrible that so many kids don't know what good music is."

Most new music, he says, is overproduced and too flashy.

"I think simple is better," he says. "You can start from the ground and work your way up and worry about the effects and everything else later.

`We recorded (`Half Rack') all live. All we did was have the vocals dubbed over, like how they did it in the '70s.

"I think I'm an idealist and I'm definitely not a - oh, crap, I forgot the word - a conformist," Clark says. "I think bands these days should worry more about their music and less about their hairstyle."


Trapped in a Minivan

What: CD release party with Kenzie and No Looking Back

When: 7:30 p.m. today

Where: Agate Hall, 1787 Agate St.

Tickets: $5


A former incarnation of Trapped in a Minivan: (from left) Joe Landeros, Chase Clark and Zach Slaymaker. Ian Jacobsen has since replaced Landeros. The band has won two school talent shows and finished second in a citywide battle of the bands last year.
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Title Annotation:Entertainment; The boys of Trapped in a Minivan believe that simplicity is best
Publication:The Register-Guard (Eugene, OR)
Date:Mar 10, 2006
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