When you form a band in your teen years, the clamorous sounds escaping from your parents’ garage prompt concerned glares from adults, who look at you and say, “Stay in school, kids!” out of fear that you’ll drop out to chase your half-baked rock star dream.
But that wasn’t the case for Pennsylvania indie rock band Tigers Jaw, who is playing two shows in the Bay Area to support its latest album, Charmer: one show June 25 at Bottom of the Hill and one show June 30 at the Oakland Metro Operahouse.
Despite band members’ relative youth when Tigers Jaw formed in 2005 (keyboardist and vocalist, Brianna Collins, was only 15 years old at the time), the band made a commitment to finish school and stabilize their professional careers before making Tigers Jaw their No. 1 priority.
“We definitely had that fear that we would put it off another year, finish school, and by the time it came around and we were like, ‘Alright, let’s do this,’ nobody would care anymore,” vocalist and guitarist Ben Walsh said in an interview with The Daily Californian.
Although the band itself hit a few roadblocks along the way, such as the departure of three band members in early 2013, fans certainly do still care. Because school and work prevent the Tigers Jaw from touring consistently throughout the year, tickets have become like a rare collectible, resulting in sold-out shows all over the country, such as the upcoming show at Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco.
“In a strange way, it was build up this sort of ‘mystique’ about us, or made us sort of a harder act to see,” Walsh said, noting the advantages of their limited tour calendar. “People have been patient … so we’re just really appreciative that we get that kind of support, even though we don’t tour on a regular schedule.”
After nine years of doing the “grown up” thing and laying down the groundwork for their Plan B careers, Tigers Jaw is finally ready to roar across the country nonstop, the way every band always dreamed of. “[Touring] was something we never had a chance to get tired of,” Walsh said. “Whether we could tour for a month, or whether we could tour for a week and a half, we would take whatever we could get and just make the best of it.”
And with a chart-climbing album and sold-out shows across the country, it seems like the best is yet to come.