Ask an eighth-grader where they see themselves in 10 years, and most will give you a blank stare. Many are honing a skill at vocational technical school or planning for college and have some general idea of where they think their future lies.
Ask Marion resident Aaron Norcross, and he will tell you about his hopes to have a signed music contract with a big-name manager by age 24. He is now 14 years old.
“My goal is to play the Melody Tent at age 16,” said Norcross, who spends his afterschool time working on his music career.
“I’ve been playing musical instruments, especially guitar, since I was two years old,” said Norcross, who attended Sippican School and is now at Old Rochester Regional Junior High School.
Influenced by musicians from a young age, Norcross had an Uncle Teddie who played saxophone in a band known as Weather Report and another known as Tower of Power.
“He was an influence, and I will always remember that time,” said Norcross, who confirms that he is Aaron Norcross, Jr. His dad is Aaron Norcross, Sr.
“I saw Pete Townshend from The Who perform on television and was caught up in his showmanship, his guitar tricks and his rhythmics, and that really made me decide to play the guitar,” the teenager said.
Norcross had Hannah Moore as a music teacher at Sippican Elementary School, and she initially encouraged him to play the saxophone in fourth grade.
“In fifth grade, she encouraged me to try the drums and percussion, and it was a perfect match,” he says. “I was a natural.”
In 2008, Norcross began playing local bars and clubs, especially on Cape Cod, and gained a following. He wrote songs, sang, and created several bands that played for pay, not just to play.
Peter Black of WATD Radio 95.9 FM heard Norcross play and was impressed by his youth and ability. Black plays the original tracks of Norcross on his radio program, and it has increased the Norcross notoriety. The Norcross specialty ranges from the blues to rockabilly. His interests run from the Blasters to Gary Moore.
To see and hear Aaron Norcross and the Old Dogs, go to YouTube for videos. The Old Dogs are drummer Richard Buck from Mashpee and bass player Michael Preston from Marston Mills. The band practices two to three times a week.
Norcross’s advice to young musicians hoping to make it big is “keep practicing and dream big, and if you work hard enough, your dreams will come alive.”
Norcross’s next performance will be on May 24, 9:00 pm, at the Duck Inn Pub, Main Street, Hyannis. You can also see him with the Old Rochester Regional High School Concert Band at the High School on May 22. He will be playing drums/percussion.
“I want to make a career out of my music,” Norcross says.
By Joan Hartnett-Barry