The Cradle Will Rock
Who says you have to be a geezer to play classic rock? Chaotic Five and its wet-behind-the-ears members are proof that being part of a vintage rock ‘n’ roll band is more about big dreams and promising abilities than age
If what Chad Kroeger of Nickelback sings is true that “we all just wanna be big rock stars and live in hilltop houses, drivin’ 15 cars!” then at what age does the rock ‘n’ roll fantasy lifestyle truly begin?
In the case of the quintuplet that comprise Chaotic Five, those dreams of fast music, fame and fortune likely started shortly after their studded pacifiers were pulled from their mouths and their leather baby bibs taken away for good.
Which for them all happened like, what yesterday?
“I want the good life,” says drummer Ethan Salacup, 13, when asked what he desires from a music career. “I want a big house, a big pool and a big fish tank!”
“I want money,” adds lead guitarist/vocalist Kalliyan Davis, 11, who sports all the customary trappings of a rock star: feather hair extension, studded bracelet, belt, glove and vest, gothic necklace and multi-patch jeans.
“Yeah, lots of money!” agrees lead vocalist Chloe Salacup, Ethan’s wide-eyed sister and the group’s youngest member at age 10.
“I just want the learning experience,” says the band’s elder statesman at 14, keyboardist/rhythm guitarist Raistlin Ramos, in a moment of refreshing maturity. Of course, then he shoves his side-swept bangs away from his eyes and with a crack of heavy thunder in his voice spouts off, “‘Cause once I form my own band, I’ll be able to play my own kind of music metal!”
Welcome to the restless world of Chaotic Five, where much like Queen’s Freddie Mercury demanded years ago, these pint-sized rockers want it all … and they want it now!
Just to be clear, this is no Guitar Hero band we’re talking about here. This is an actual quintet of promising young musicians who hail from Waipahu and Kapolei all with big dreams, big instruments and an even bigger classic rock sound. Raised on the music of their parents, Chaotic Five members have eagerly and fearlessly embraced the limelight, standing in front of local crowds and spitting out rock anthems from the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s including Heart’s Barracuda, Ozzy Osborne’s Crazy Train and Journey’s Separate Ways (Worlds Apart) since the group’s formation last summer.
And no song appears too big for them, even though Raistlin’s 12-yearold brother, bassist Caramon Ramos, confesses that the group’s medley of
There’s good rockin’ every night when Chaotic Five hits the stage. Members are: (clockwise, from top) Raistlin Ramos, Ethan Salacup, Caramon Ramos, Kalliyan Davis and Chloe Salacup. Photo courtesy of Chaotic Five
Queen favorites We Will Rock You/We Are The Champions/Bohemian Rhapsody “can be complicated.”
Occasional mistakes notwithstanding, the pubescent rockers have been turning heads wherever they gig. Such was the case during the band’s performance at the Perry & Price Show last month, when audience members oohed and aahed after Kalliyan broke into the signature opening melodic riff of Guns & Roses’ Sweet Child O’ Mine.
“Some people can’t believe they’re actually playing their instruments,” says the axe shredder’s mother Sinai Davis, who serves as Chaotic Five’s manager. “They think the band is just playing along to recorded music.”
“It started with me playing the guitar by myself and listening to classic rock records like AC/DC or Joan Jett on the radio,” explains Kalliyan of the band’s beginnings. “I decided it was kind of boring playing by myself and it would be more fun if there was a band. So my mom started recruiting other kids.”
The original lineup actually had more of a School of Rock presence to it, with Kalliyan, a classically trained guitarist and pianist, and the Salacup siblings joined by two adults Kalliyan’s father, Paul, on bass and sister, Amara, 21, on keyboards. Despite early signs of promise, Sinai Davis recognized the awkwardness of pairing adults with children and quickly moved to shake up the lineup. “It was supposed to be a kids’ band from the beginning and suddenly we had older people playing bass and keyboards,” she tells me. “So I knew we had to look for replacements.”
Enter the Ramos brothers, both of whom had extensive drumming credentials but were willing and versatile enough to assume other roles within the group. After selecting a playlist “based off the songs Kalliyan knew how to play,” says Caramon, and holding weekly practices in the Davis’ garage, the band hit the road and began rocking local venues such as Ige’s 19th Puka Restaurant in Aiea and Terry’s Place at the Chinese Cultural Plaza. Since last fall, the five members have slowly gained a following of admirers, thanks in part to its numerous videos posted on YouTube and the band’s Facebook page.
Musical Notes caught up with Chaotic Five and got its members, most of whom are surprisingly shy, to open up. What I discovered was that aside from the youngsters’ old-school sense of rock ‘n’ roll, they’re also quite willing to turn any situation into a laughing matter.
MN: What’s the best part about being in a band?
KALLIYAN: Being in the spotlight. And bringing joy to our fans.
MN: Is an album forthcoming?
KALLIYAN: We’re thinking about it.
MN: Do you ever mess up your parts when playing live?
CHLOE: No. Never. Well, only once. Usually the songs are pretty easy for me. (Me, laughing. Then I realize she’s dead serious)
CARAMON: I don’t really care if I mess up. I just look at the crowd and go, do you guys know how to play this any better?! (Group laughter)
MN: When you’re not playing music, what are you doing?
KALLIYAN: Surfing at White Plains.
RAISTLIN: Sleeping. (Group laughter)
ETHAN: I like to multi-task: play video games, feed my fish, text people and eat all at the same time! (More laughter)
MN: So what makes you five so chaotic?
ETHAN: What does chaotic mean? (Me, laughing. Then I realize he’s quite serious. I think)
CARAMON: It means we’re all crazy! For me, I like to head-bang super hard during some of the songs.
RAISTLIN: When we’re playing and I get all hyped up, I tend to get real dizzy and lose my balance.
CHLOE: Yeah, you look like a drunk person sometimes! (Group laughter)
MN: So what happens if you don’t hit the big time as a musician?
RAISTLIN: I’ll be a doctor either a pediatrician or psychiatrist.
CARAMON: An officer in the U.S. Air Force.
CHLOE: I only want to be a professional singer.
ETHAN: I wanna be an auto mechanic. You get a lot of things free. (Group laughter)
MN: OK, seriously: Where do you rockers with big dreams see yourselves in five years?
CHAOTIC FIVE: (in unison) Playing music!
MN: How about 10 years from now?
CARAMON: Living at home. (More group laughter)