Musicians in the making

Musicians in the making
Charles Christopher, 13, of the Christopher Brothers, sings and plays lead guitar during rehearsal at MDM Rehearsal Studios, in Los Angeles, on Friday, July 1, 2011. (Tim Berger/Staff Photographer)

It has all come together quickly for the Christopher Brothers. They learned to play their first song together, Santana's "Black Magic Woman," in 15 minutes.

Cameron, Charles and Ethan Christopher

first started playing music together in November of 2008 at the suggestion of their mom, Lydia Christopher. They each took to their own instrument — Charles, the guitar; Cameron, the drums; and Ethan, the bass guitar.

"I couldn't believe it, they just started grooving together," said Lydia Christopher, who as a flutist whose own parents are opera singers and music writers has imparted a musical background to her kids.

Three months after learning their first song, The Christopher Brothers had their first gig.

"It actually sounded OK," Charles said. "It didn't sound like a horrible train wreck."

From there, The Christopher Brothers have only worked on getting better, putting plenty of time into developing their craft.

"I don't know when we started sounding good," said Cameron, a 15-year old incoming junior to LCHS, drummer and backup singer for the band. "We just keep going forward and getting better and better."

Since 2008 the trio has played more than 30 gigs, including performances at Magic Mountain, Legoland, the Vancouver Wine and Jazz Festival, the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, local festivals or fairs and birthday parties or bat mitzvahs. The Christopher Brothers will perform at the iconic Whiskey A Go Go in West Hollywood on July 9.

"People compare us to the Hanson and the Jonas Brothers," said Charles, a 13-year old incoming freshman at La Cañada High, who provides lead vocals for the band.

The Christopher Brothers have the makings of a pop sensation, but their roots are in classic rock. The trio can play more than 40 cover songs, which are mostly their favorite classic-rock tunes from bands like the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Guns N' Roses and much more.

Their song-writing efforts usually produce pop tunes, said Jeremy Castillo, a studio musician and instructor who's coached the brothers for the past two years.

"I have taught a lot of students and the thing that impressed me the most was that the original songs they write are usually pretty catchy," Castillo said. "That's the hardest part. It's easy to write a bad song. It's hard to write a good one that has legs."

Ethan, a 10-year old incoming sixth grader at Paradise Canyon Elementary, said the formula for writing songs is pretty simple.

"We usually just find a chorus and get a good ring to it and go from there," Ethan said.

Cameron and Charles do most of the song writing and Castillo provides some minor adjustments, like chord placement and song progression. The Christopher Brothers have six original songs, three of which are available on a four-song EP, along with John Lennon's "Imagine," on iTunes.

The brothers practice for a few hours every day together, both as a band and separately, working on their instruments and vocals in lessons and by themselves.

"It's pretty fun being in a band with your brothers," Cameron said. "We bicker with each other now and then, you know, but we're still brothers. It's great because we can always practice with each other whenever and we're all friends."

It's not always brotherly love for the Christopher family, though, Lydia Christopher said.

"They all have egos," Lydia said. "They're very competitive about wanting to be the best, particularly amongst each other, and it actually helps them get better."

As competitive as they are with each other, the three brothers hope to one day make it as professional musicians together.

"We want music to be our job," Charles said. "That would be a great job, just playing music all day."

For more information on the Christopher Brothers, to see them in action or to buy tickets to their upcoming date at the Whiskey A Go Go, visit their website at