Youths Rock The Beach Dan Rodgerson Sun Sentinel June 08, 2001|By Jeremy Milarsky Staff Writer

DEERFIELD BEACH — The first bass riff explodes like a powder keg.

It blows up from the speakers, fills the room, rocks the eardrums. Nothing escapes it.

The militia is on stage, and everyone hears the call to arms.

Four teens make up Metal Militia, one of South Florida’s younger local hard rock bands. The youngest member, drummer Nick Augusto, is 14 years old. The band’s elder, lead guitarist Chris Reiser, just turned 18.

They’re not even the youngest band appearing at the Beach Bash in this city on Saturday evening. The event is geared toward teens, organized by teens and features teen bands. One of the bands, called Ten, is made up of 10-year-olds.

“We have a series of large special events on the beach every year for adults,” said Dan Rodgerson, the city’s assistant director of Community Services. “A couple years ago, we decided there was a large section of the community we were not providing for.”

The Beach Bash begins 5 p.m. Saturday at the city’s main beach parking lot near Hillsboro Boulevard and State Road A1A.

Although the event includes an “extreme” car and truck show and a skate show, the evening is all about local music. Mars Music, a Fort Lauderdale-based music chain, has sponsored the event’s 10 bands.

The guys in Metal Militia, who won a battle of the bands contest last April at the Chili Pepper in Fort Lauderdale, were booked for the coveted headline spot at the end of this year’s show.

The four teens — Augusto, Reiser, rhythm guitarist Mike Alber, and singer and bass player Paolo Gregoletto — were brought together by the Mars Music Learning Center, although Augusto and Gregoletto grew up together in Pompano Beach. Alber is from Fort Lauderdale and Reiser lives in Delray Beach. The teens have ambitions for the future, but enjoy the present.

“I just want to keep it fun,” said Gregoletto, 15. “If something comes out of this, that’s fine.”

Gregoletto’s mother, Gina Gregoletto, goes to every one of her son’s shows. The band plays clubs and parties, and has been asked to play with some adult rock bands.

Gina Gregoletto, a self-described former “disco queen,” had never listened to metal bands like Metallica before the band formed two years ago. Nor was she a fan of the bands that the guys in Metal Militia consider influences, such as Megadeath, Slayer and Overkill (the boys especially like Overkill).

Now she wears earplugs with the other band parents and watches her son play hard rock.

“We have a blast with this,” she said. “At this age, they don’t like you to hang around too much. But we can hang around in the background.”

The band sometimes uses the Internet as a tool to make rock fantasies happen. One of the young rockers will come up with a guitar or bass riff, then record it into a computer sound file. That file is e-mailed to the other band members, who contribute their own parts of the song.

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10/12/2011