In 2012 two teachers on playground duty at their elementary school in Los Angeles decided it would be fun to form a band. This wasn’t idle playground talk, either. They were serious.
The result of their playground meeting is No Small Children, a punk rock band made up of three teachers in their 40s. The band members are Nicola Berlinksky and the Pimental sisters, Lisa and Joanie.
The women all write and produce their own music, creating songs that are relatable on many levels. Salad, for instance, tells the story of a girl who would love to order a burger and fries but won’t because “I’ve got big thighs.” The lyrics for Drunk Creepy Guy come from everyday experiences.
“That’s a true story,” guitarist Lisa Pimental said in a telephone interview. “Everyone knows that drunk, creepy guy.”
Lisa and Joanie both teach music, and Ms. Berlinsky, the drummer, teaches fourth grade — all at the same school. They have the same schedule and the same faculty meetings. According to Lisa their day jobs are good training for their rock and roll nighttime gigs.
“I ask the kids to put themselves out there all the time, so why shouldn’t I do the same thing?” she said.
Lisa attended UMass Amherst to study music and concentrated on the saxophone. That experience left her feeling that collegiate music was a bit exclusive, and not something she really wanted to do. After college she played in what she described as “a hard-core punk band — scary punk.”
“And I loved it. It was visceral, not like college music that was missing that visceral part,” she said. “This band is in line with my philosophy as an educator. I’m trying to create music lovers for life. Music is meant for everyone. It’s inclusive, just like the classroom.”
The band was hypothetical at first, she said. “We didn’t know it would get serious. At first we said yes to everything. Then I talked my sister Joanie into moving to L.A. Now we’re on our fifth tour and we have two releases. In the beginning we had some really crappy gigs. Now we’re getting better gigs, better merch. Everything is stepping up. Now we’re driving our own bus.”
How do they manage to teach by day and rock out at night?
“Right now none of us have kids,” Lisa said. “Everybody has their thing. This is our thing.”
Their husbands sometimes attend the shows, she said. Her husband, record producer, mixer and engineer Bob Marlette, is in on the recording and producing of their music. Lisa typically does the song writing, but said Joanie is starting to get more involved in the writing process.
The Pimental sisters have roots on the Vineyard through their parents who are active in the Vineyard community, where they have lived for 15 years.
After meeting teen center director Tony Lombardi at the YMCA, Lisa said she fell in love with the programming at Alex’s Place and is happy to bring No Small Children to the Island for a fundraising performance.
“Kids like the music because they think it sounds cool, women in their 30s and 40s are moved by it,” Lisa said. “They come up afterwards and talk to us.”
On Sunday, August 17, No Small Children will bring their punk-meets-playground band to Alex’s Place at the YMCA for an 8 p.m. fundraising show. The performance is suitable for all ages. Visit nosmallchildren.com to check out their music.