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Give them a 2nd Thought

By KATRINA HARRMANN

September 10, 2008

2nd Thought, a Whitefish Bay-based boy band, recently starred in a commercial on the Cartoon Network.


If you think these five boys are too young to have some serious talent — you may want to take a second look.

For Isaac Young, Braden Bjella, Anders Bjella, Riley Gasiorowski and Brendan Demet, ages 12-15 and all of Whitefish Bay, adulthood may be a few years off, but success has come calling now.

"It’s a double-edged sword, being so young," says Braden, 12, base guitar player and vocalist for 2nd Thought. "The appeal is, ‘Oh my goodness, they’re so young and make such great music!’ But it’s also like, ‘Oh, they’re young. They’re probably not that good. Let’s just skip it and move on.’"

But skipping over 2nd Thought would be a mistake. While its members are indeed young, this classic rock group has earned props that would make older bands green with envy.

"It’s pretty cool," says Brendan, 14, guitarist and vocalist. "We’re just lucky to have all the opportunities that we have."

Having just finished recording a demo CD, the group is fresh off a year of highlights — playing Summerfest in 2007, opening and closing at a Milwaukee Admirals game featuring the Goo Goo Dolls, taking part in a nationally telecast AT&T ad, and — oh yes — starring in a commercial on Cartoon Network for a contest featuring talented kids.

With so much talent up their sleeves, band members sometimes say it’s a thrill to play and see surprise replace the skepticism on people’s faces. Because whatever "it" is, these kids have it.

"Right when you open a set, when you’re playing for a bunch of people — the look on their faces is the best," says Anders, 14, drummer for 2nd Thought. "I don’t think they really expect what they’re going to hear."

When lead singer and guitarist Isaac was contacted to do the vocals in an AT&T ad with singer Meat Loaf, which aired during this year’s NCAA championship game, group members got a further boost to their self-esteem.

"Yeah, that was really fun," Isaac says. "I was just blown away."

The band members credit their parents as a major source of support.

"We have a bunch of people on our team-o-parents," Anders says. "Everyone really helps get gigs and get connections — all that stuff."

The group is currently one of 20 contestants in Cartoon Network’s "Props!" contest, which seeks to showcase America’s most talented kids. The band has a segment that regularly airs on the station; voting will take place once all 20 contestants are announced at www.cartoonnetworkprops.com.

"Whenever our little 30-second segment comes on, my mom screams and gets really excited about it," says keyboardist Riley, 15.

While success has been great, group members say they hope to continue having fun doing what they love.

"I’d love to continue playing music," Braden says. "I think it’s fun and if I can make a career out of it — hey, that’s a good thing."


This story ran in the July 2008 issue of: