I met Minor Characters outside a 7-Eleven in Wicker Park. I could tell the guys were goofing around with each other from far away, and it continued well into our car ride to their practice spot in the slightly less-hip neighborhood of Garfield Park. That’s a sign of a good band: when the dynamic is apparent before they pick up their instruments—and it didn’t stop there.
I watched Minor Characters—vocalist and guitarist Andrew Pellitier, guitarist Shelby Pollard, bassist Adam Schneider and drummer James Ratke—practice the songs on their self-titled EP. It was a treat for a musician like me to see how they talked about changing the songs, the subtleties of each run-through, and how to make the material better each time. They played with a single lamp on in a dark and intimate setting, adding to the entire aesthetic.
“We auditioned one guy before Adam [Schneider], and he was playing all over up and down the fretboard like he didn’t care. We didn’t know how we felt about it. Then we played with Adam and it just clicked. We feel extremely lucky to have a real bassist,” Pellitier said.
Minor Characters are not your average, forgettable rock band as their name might suggest. Everything—from their songs, to their production and their future plans—is spot-on. They’ve done their homework and are already thinking of their fans before they set out on their first tour or drop their first full length.
Naming your band Minor Characters is a bold move, and it’s a name that the guys chose with a great deal of thought.
“These old guys at the hot dog factory I work at were talking about how young kids today leave their jobs without any loyalty,” Pollard said. “Except I see that as a strength of resilience of our generation, especially with creative people, with the idea that you can work at a pizza place for six months then move to another state to get where you want to be and pursue your passion.”
This is where Minor Characters comes through as a band to keep on your radar. They aren’t just singing about girls in a heartfelt way (“Come Break my Heart”), but they’re also trying to say something about the times and our generation. It’s an idea that you can’t just get what you want, and you have to work for it in this economy as an artist.
Every action on their record or live performance has a deliberate intention and function to their overall message as a band.
Unlike most bands, they’re actually not starving for attention, not trying to jump on a trend to become the “new” Kings of Leon or “new” Death Cab for Cutie or “new” anything for that matter. Today’s emerging rock groups using the standard guitar-bass-drums set-up are scared to death of getting lost in the endless stream of bands cluttering our culture. Minor Characters is not one of those bands, and they are definitely ones to watch.
“Our next release is going to be a full album, and we’re already experimenting with some things that we’re not actually able to mention right now,” Schneider said. “We were going to wait until the fans had just enough time to think about the EP and then hit them with an album when they least expect it, then another, then another, kind of the [Led] Zeppelin approach.”