You wouldn’t think it to look it at them.  Four kids from The Naval Academy’s Primary School (NAPS) goofing off and playing like typical 9 year olds.


Let’s be clear… these are not typical 9 year olds.


When the lights go down these four kids are transformed into The Dark, The Red, and The Hell (formerly  Radioactive Rockers, formerly The Five Fires).   This four piece band specializes in hard, sweet, rock music.


While most kids spend their time at recess playing games – these guys were forming the next big rock band to come out of Annapolis.


Their debut show opened with an intense, fast and steady-paced version of “Seven Nation Army”.


Rowan Harriman keeps time on the drums, Zacca Jackson pounds out a relentless and perfect melody on the piano, Charlie Drayton provides the signature riff on guitar, and James Cravens belts out the lyrics and adds lead guitar to the mix.



It’s hard to imagine that just a short two months earlier these guys were only friends and classmates with ephemeral dreams of playing music (and being rock stars).


Perhaps it was the looming concert deadline, perhaps just hard work and dedication, or maybe it was the weekly practice sessions and private lessons that led to the band’s success.


Weekly lessons and band practice sessions were facilitated Severn River Music – a local in-home music lesson service.  Instructor Diane Riccobene and owner Jake Posko provided guidance and structure to help mold the kids into a cohesive unit.


Posko was skeptical having run group lessons before.


“Group music lessons can be hit or miss.  They’re a great way for beginners to get their feet wet and learn the basics of an instrument.  But I’ll be honest… I didn’t know what to expect when these guys said they wanted to form a band.”


Posko was beaming with pride after the performance, seemingly convinced that the hard work of the kids had paid off.


“These guys did it. After that first practice session I wasn’t sure, but they really came together as a band.  I gotta say I’m most impressed with the way these guys worked together constructively.  It’s incredible to see kids their age collaborate with something like this.”


After the opening song, those of us who were lucky enough to score an invite to their basement concert debut erupted in applause and screams.


Without missing a beat the band finished off with a pounding rendition of “We Will Rock You” by Queen.


And then – like magic –  The Dark, The Red, and The Hell transformed back into tour typical nine year old kids…. and like true musicians they left the audience wanting more.


The Dark, The Red, and The Hell are currently working in the studio to prepare for their upcoming worold tour.   Stay tuned on Facebook for updates.