Browsing the air-conditioned oasis of Polish Hill's new Mind Cure Records, Jami Morgan points to a Misfits reissue. "We played with them," he says. "They are very, very elderly-looking."
Perhaps most professional musicians look elderly when you're the 17-year-old drummer of a punk band. But the accomplishments of Code Orange Kids would be notable even if the members were a decade older.
If you've even glanced at a flier wall in the past year and a half, chances are you're at least dimly aware of Code Orange Kids. The four musicians, who will be high school seniors in September, play shows like it's their summer job, often twice a week or more. They've already played with several high-profile bands -- this month includes shows with Municipal Waste and Nekromantix.
Most importantly, their music is actually cool. Cool enough to foster some serious faith in youth culture, which seems at its best when born of that volatile mixture of passionate idealism and boredom.
"Being in a band is, like, the only fun thing," Morgan says. "There's not really anything else to do when you're in high school unless you're into partying or you're really good at social interactions, which none of us really are."
Initially more of a street-punk band, Code Orange Kids quickly outgrew that, laterally influenced by local hardcore bands like Heartless and Broken Neck, whose members introduced them to what Morgan calls the "rabbit-hole" of hardcore music.
With about a decade between us, it's a little jarring when Morgan, absentmindedly flipping through the country section, determines that he's "too young to absorb" the genre. Or when he pulls out a record by his "friend's dad's band," Slim Cessna's Auto Club. Or when he refers to the "grown-ups" who object to the name of their bass player Reba Meyer's other band, far-out-folk punks Wifebeater. As far as Morgan's concerned, some grown-ups just lack perspective. After all, they're the ones who have given up their dreams in favor of 9-to-5 jobs.
"I hear about these bands who are offered big tours and they don't do it because someone has to work," he says. "I would give up anything to do that."
The Code Orange Kids play 222 Ormsby on Thu., July 15, with Sidekicks and Tiger Jaw, and The Hacienda on Fri., July 16, with Worn Out Tigers, Coal Miner and World's Scariest Police Chases. For more details, visit www.myspace.com/thecodeorangekids.