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Macomb Township

Young band finds big success

May 23, 2012

» click to enlarge «
From left, guitarist David Frankel, 15, vocalist and drummer Angelo Coppola, 16, and bassist Dylan Frankel, 17, make up the band Shockwave. They will be celebrating the release of their first CD June 8 at Emerald Theatre in Mount Clemens.

MACOMB TOWNSHIP — Joe Coppola smiles as his basement fills with the whining of a wah-wah pedal, the crashing of cymbals and the guttural, underlying tones of a bass guitar.

Under a collection of stickers, posters and framed pictures representing rock folklore, Angelo Coppola — Joe’s 16-year-old son — sings while banging the various cherry-red tom drums set before him.

A bass guitar hangs low from 17-year-old Dylan Frankel’s shoulders while his brother, 15-year-old guitarist David Frankel, walks his fingers along his Gibson’s fret board.

In the Coppola household, it’s a scenario that plays out nearly every Wednesday when the young band Shockwave practices.

To most parents, the weekly raucousness of heavy metal transmitting from their teenager’s imagination to their amplifiers would be a source of aggravation.

But to Joe Coppola, 45, who’s wearing a baseball cap backward and nodding his head to one of Shockwave’s songs, it’s a thrill seeing how happy his son is making music. But Angelo Coppola, Dylan Frankel and David

Frankel are not just making music. Recently they have been doing double weekend shows at venues ranging from Mount Clemens’ Emerald Theatre to Fox 2 television studios, and they’ll appear at Rockapalooza at the Jackson County Fairgrounds this summer.

But Shockwave will be celebrating what they consider their biggest accomplishment yet at the Emerald Theatre June 8: the release of their first CD.

The album is a five-track project funded completely by money Shockwave made while playing the circuit for the last 2 1/2 years.

The band grew up around classic rock and heavy metal, basing their style on bands like Metallica, Megadeth and KISS.

At 2 years old, Angelo Coppola learned the basics of keeping a beat while listening to KISS. “My dad would just sit me up on the drums, and I’d just play,” he said.

Joe Coppola, also a musician, constructed a studio with drums in his basement.

“Pretty early, he would not just smash, but play with a pattern,” Joe Coppola said. “It went on, and he’d play talent shows in kindergarten on drums.”

Dylan Frankel and David Frankel played Metallica together before turning 10, switching who’d play lead and rhythm guitar.

At some point the two brothers noticed that David Frankel surpassed his older brother in talent on the instrument.

“There’s a reason why I play the bass,” Dylan Frankel said. “He just took off.”

Despite having an ear for classic rock, the trio formed in the 21st century kind of way — via text.

Dylan Frankel “text me and said, ‘Hey, want to jam sometime?’” Angelo said. “And we jammed, and it worked out.”

The band name came at the last minute before their first show in September 2009 when they were asked what they were called.

“One time, I just said we’re Shockwave even though we hadn’t really chosen that,” Angelo Coppola said. “We really didn’t think of it beforehand.”

The group planned to change the name after that one show, but it stuck.

Shockwave created a general fund of money made from those first few shows and saved to pay for studio time for their first CD.

Half a year after their first show, Shockwave opened for the band Sponge.

“They talked to the boys kind of privately between sets and checked them out and got us talking to (rock producer) Tim (Patalan),” Joe said.

Patalan had produced albums for Sponge and Ann Arbor based band Taproot.

“I thought it was cool,” said David Frankel of getting the chance to work with Patalan. “I was really excited, and I wanted to do it.”

Shockwave first entered Patalan’s studio in the winter of 2011. For more than a year, the trio continued to play shows around the state, save the money they made and pay as they went in the studio, until they had five tracks.

“We got along with them really good,” Angelo Coppola said. “At first, you got really tired, and then you thought about it, having that CD, getting it finished. You just wanted to go and get through it.”

To Joe Coppola — who manages the group by maintaining their website, tossing videos of their performances on

YouTube and setting up gigs — what separates Shockwave from other bands in their age group is the genre of music they play.

While most bands focus on the hardcore and emo genres, he thinks his son’s band is unique in that they focus on the classic brand.

“They’re playing the style of music from 20, 30 years before they were born,” Joe Coppola said.

As for the band mates, they realize fate one day could take the instruments from their hands and end their aspirations as musicians. But what they know for sure is that music is the industry in which all three want to work.

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