The band’s name, JUNKROOM BAND (aka JRB), is derived from the fact that, at one time, their studio had been a storage space for all of the junk that had accumulated in the Community Center (aka CC). Eventually, the junk was carted off and the small space was converted into a basic, no-nonsense practice and recording studio.
The neophyte but talented band consists of four females and four males.
The band’s music is written by several of the band members and is derived from an eclectic collection of standard musical genres that are infused with current, cutting edge musical styles. The song lyrics are derived from the shared experiences of young people.
The wide variety of strong personalities, coupled with the never-ending conflicts and struggles of a start-up band, form the basis for many exciting and entertaining JRB short stories. Additional stories are based on the lives and experiences of kids who attend classes and events at the CC as well as students who attend the same high school as the band members.
Raj Kumar – originator of the band and keyboard player
The person in charge of sound for the CC is Raj Kumar, a teenage electronic wunderkind. In exchange for his services he is allowed to possess a master key to the CC and utilize the studio as well as the stage whenever it is not in use. This access to the facilities, as well as his keyboard and sound engineering talents, placed Raj in a unique position to put together a band. Raj’s innate intelligence, high level of competence, and rock-solid dependability engenders fondness and respect from his bandmates.
Sarah Levy – band manager
It didn’t take long for Raj to figure out that trying to run the band while playing in it was one job too many. So he asked Sarah Levy, the high school prodigy who organizes many of the teen functions at the CC, to manage the band. Always on the lookout for new opportunities to expand her horizons, Sarah jumped at the chance and dove headlong into the challenging job. At first the band members were resistant to Sarah’s pushy management style. But soon they embraced her innovative ideas and they became supportive of her tireless efforts to move the band forward.
Sugar Jackson – lead singer and dancer
Raj recruited Sugar Jackson to be the JRB’s lead vocalist after seeing her perform during halftime at a high school basketball game. He was blown away by her amazing voice and charismatic stage presence that she developed while singing in her church’s choir. Sugar is the second oldest of four children being raised by a single mother in the projects. Caught up in the struggle to survive, Sugar’s mother and siblings are oblivious to Sugar’s immense talent, which partially explains why she lacks the inflated ego possessed by performers with far less talent and beauty.
Lashan Franklin – back-up singer and dancer
Because Lashan Franklin and Sugar have been inseparable best friends since kindergarten, Lashan’s inclusion in the band was inevitable. Lashan’s privileged, upper-middle-class family situation makes her house the girls’ preferred hangout when they are not with the band. Even so, in spite of the affluence that allows her to be a fashion plate with all the latest clothes and accessories, Lashan is a loyal friend who is completely content to bask in the reflected glow of Sugar’s talent.
Terrasita Ramirez – DJ, singer, dancer, and choreographer
Terrasita comes from a long line of world-class Latin dancers. She began teaching dance when she was four and currently teaches dance classes at the CC. Terrasita is a high-energy, passionate person who has played key roles in organizing some of the most innovative dance recitals and performances in the community. Raj’s and Terrasita’s joint efforts in various events led to their decision to start a band. While Terrasita was angry when Raj recruited Sugar without consulting her, she was eventually able to set aside the slight and become the band’s DJ as well as its choreographer.
Mike and Jeff Parks – Mike on lead guitar and Jeff on bass guitar
Mike and Jeff Parks are brothers. One Christmas, their favorite aunt and uncle gave Mike a lead guitar and Jeff a bass guitar. Instantly the two boys discovered that their instruments could provide a welcome escape from their alcoholic stepfather’s abuse. So, on their own, they became accomplished musicians who play by ear and can mimic the lead and bass guitar parts of any music they hear. Both boys met Raj at the CC where their karate classes take place.
Mike, the overly driven, self-disciplined oldest boy in the family of six, has his black belt and teaches karate at the CC. Jeff, the more laid-back younger brother, has his brown belt. The fact that Mike’s karate ranking is higher neither concerns nor inspires Jeff. Indeed, opposite of his overachieving brother, Jeff is quite content with just getting by.
Jason McGregor – drummer
Jason is in the band for two reasons: first, he is a “chick magnet;” second, he owns an amazing drum set. For years Jason longed for a drum set and when his grandparents finally got him one, he became a fanatical drummer. Predictably, education takes a back seat to the hours Jason devotes to his drumming. A mediocre student at best, Jason struggles to maintain the C average that allows him to play in the band. Thankfully, the other band members are willing and able to help bail him out whenever Jason’s abysmal academic performance jeopardizes his membership in the band.