By Doug Hill
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Edmond punk rock duo Skating Polly’s Kelli Mayo (keys/basitar/vocals) and Peyton Suitor (guitar/drums/vocals) have learned a lot about being rock stars in the less than two years they’ve been playing together.
“Don’t forget to tune your guitar,” Suitor said during an interview last weekend.
“Don’t forget to bring any instruments or amps you’re going to need at a gig,” Mayo said. “Once, we had to go all the way back home from Oklahoma City because we’d left gear behind.”
Skating Polly will demonstrate their performance fundamentals at a show tonight at the Opolis with BRONCHO and the Boom Bang.
Skating Polly started playing out in 2010, and the response has been tremendous. They’ve had an interview with the Spy 103.5 FM indie rock radio station and received local press. Friends in the business include Exene Cervenka (X), Kelly Ogden (Dollyrots) and Chris Harris (founder Nice People label).
“We made an album, which was lots of fun,” Suitor said. “And we played shows at the Conservatory, the Opolis and the Deluxe Indie Craft Fair.”
For this year, another recording and mini-tours outside the state are in the cards. Skating Polly’s first out-of-state concert is in Hays, Kan. at Café Semolino on Feb. 26.
“We get free food,” Suitor said. “I’m so excited.”
None of the band’s accomplishments may seem particularly noteworthy, until you consider Mayo is 10 years old and Suitor 15.
“Playing out for audiences isn’t as scary as I thought it would be,” Suitor said. “It was at first, but then it was really fun.”
Both girls had attended shows at the Conservatory, so they’d observed the atmosphere.
“It was cool being the band instead of seeing a band,” Mayo said.
Skating Polly are quick to credit their parents for their sophisticated taste in music. While many in their demographic listen to Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber, more likely you’d hear Dirty Pretty Things and Chairlift hanging out with Skating Polly.
“In our families, listening to music is our favorite thing to do,” Mayo said. “We listen to our iPods and go to concerts a lot.”
Skating Polly said they like most of the music their parents enjoy.
“Except for the Danielson Family, because they’re annoying,” Mayo said. “My dad listens to them all the time. I liked them at first, but after about the 30th time, it was annoying.”
Their folks have taken them to see performances by the likes of the Dandy Warhols, Joanna Newsome and Joan Jett.
“I went to the Toadies, which was scary,” Mayo said.
“Kelli wanted to start a mosh pit, and when she got in there, she realized it really was a mosh pit,” Suitor said with a chuckle.
When asked what artist they’d bring back from the Great Beyond for one more concert, the girls were of one voice. “Kurt Cobain,” they said in chorus.
“I love Nirvana,” Suitor said. “That’s my favorite band ever, because there was so much energy in their shows.”
Sometimes Skating Polly’s own songs reflect what they’ve been listening to, but they’re striving to create a sound that can’t be easily categorized.
“We don’t want to be a band that makes just one type of song,” Mayo said. “All punk songs we just couldn’t do because we like too many different things.” She described going through phases where their writing takes its inspiration from each other and new sounds they’ve discovered.
Mayo made one aspect of their outfit’s reputation crystal clear.
“We are not a novelty band,” she said emphatically.
Mayo went on to remind that she’s in fifth grade and some of her classmates are skeptical that Skating Polly even exists.
“People at my school say, ‘You’re not really in a band,’” she said. “I’ll show them our album and they’ll say, ‘That’s not really your work. Your parents must write your songs for you.’”
Mayo sets them straight with newspaper articles about her band.
When Suitor said that she doesn’t have that problem, Mayo observed that it’s the difference in maturity levels between grade school and junior high.