Think of a band that mirrors the energy of The Pixies and Sonic Youth, but with a bit of a twang.
That’s what you get with Tall Teenagers. They’ve been ripping up the Providence music scene since their beginnings in 2016.
Vocalists and guitarists Chelsea Paulhus and Damian Puerini, drummer Shaun Chevalier and bassist Shannon Puerini, who is Chelsea’s sister and Damian’s wife, have a long history with local music in the capital city. There’s also a Cranston connection, with the Puerinis being current residents of the city and Chevalier being a native and lifelong resident.
I had a talk recently with Damian and Shannon about the band’s roots, changes in how they manage themselves and working on new music.
Rob Duguay: Before Tall Teenagers started, Damian and Shaun were in the rock band The Revival Preachers, while Shannon and Chelsea were in the alternative rock act Betty Finn. Did you all know each other during that time?
Damian Puerini: Shaun and I have played together since we were 15. We met Shannon and Chelsea in Betty Finn when we were playing in another band called the Haymakers around 2002. We did some shows together and saw each other around a lot during that time.
RD: What was the spark that made you the four of you come together to start a band?
DP: Chelsea and I started playing and writing together, and when Shannon heard it she said she wanted to play bass. We naturally thought of Shaun on drums just because, well, he’s Shaun and he’s awesome.
Shannon Puerini: When I heard what they were doing upstairs in our house, I knew I had to be a part of it. Damian wasn’t as sure, and rightfully so, as he hadn’t seen me pick up an instrument in 10 years. But he gave me a shot, and I guess he was happy with what he saw.
RD: It seems like it was all meant to be. What has changed since the band started playing its first shows?
DP: We’re definitely playing a lot less. We played a lot and put out two records in our first couple years. [Now] we’re parents and traveling isn’t really an option. We just can’t play around Providence all the time. If they can see you every week, they won’t.
SP: Pretty much everything Damian said, lots of things have changed.
RD: What do you consider to be the main inspiration for playing your respective instruments?
DP: I always wanted to play guitar. I got one when I was about 8 years old and it seemed like a good fit for me.
SP: In Betty Finn, I played the keys, and I always wished I played bass. There’s something about holding an instrument in your arms that makes it feel like an extension of you. Also, I basically just want to be [Pixies bassist] Kim Deal (laughs).
RD: It’s been a little over two years since the last Tall Teenagers album, “All In A Day’s Waste.” Can we expect a new one this year?
DP: We have a batch of new songs that we’ve recorded basic tracks for. We’ll be working on finishing it over the next few months and hope to have a record out this year.
SP: Like Damian said, we’ve been working on some stuff. Damian and Chelsea are writing machines, so we always have a song to play around with.
To learn more about Tall Teenagers and check out their music, visit tallteenagers.com, follow the group on Facebook (@tallteenagers) or check out its Bandcamp page, tallteenagers.bandcamp.com.