GBS Students, Purple Apple, to Play at Lollapalooza

Music fans meet Purple Apple.260x290purpleapple

The all-female band is comprised of three soon-to-be sophomores and their twenty-something nanny. Unbelievably, it is not the cast of the latest Disney teen rock television creation. Glenview’s own Purple Apple will be playing at Lollapalooza this summer, and continue to gain notoriety since their 2010 debut album “Sweet Wolverine.”

They’ve played such Chicago favorites as Schubas, the Hideout, and Double Door, and are on record as the youngest band ever to headline Chicago’s famed Metro.

I’m stuck by the contradiction before me. I met with the quartet on the first day of summer vacation, at our neighborhood Starbucks. These four young women are so mature for their age—so composed and genuinely ‘cool’—yet, so perfectly age appropriate. Each girl licks the whip cream from atop her Chocolate Chip Frappucino (no caffeine, just protein powder) before inserting the straw.

The “band” (they often gesture italics when mentioning the word) originated when bassist and keyboardist Madi O’Brien and lead singer and rhythm guitarist, Olivia Eigel, were just 7 years old and writing songs on the bus to school. They asked friend, now lead guitarist, Nonie Andersen to join them as they put their lyrics to music.

Their rehearsal space has always been the Eigel home where Olivia’s music enthusiast dad, Jeff, had long ago turned his small basement into a make-shift studio.  “Now it’s a music rabbit hole,” explains Devin Ulery, who was working as the Eigel’s nanny when the girls first persuaded her to play drums for them.

The girls speak fondly of their parents’ support; encouraging their creativity, driving them to gigs, and hosting rehearsals but also insisting that school be first priority.

“But we are really the ones who push ourselves, our grades matter to us,” says Madi.  Nonnie chimes in, “We are all in honors classes, all strive for excellence and we all ended this year with a 4.0 or higher. At the end of the day, the music thing is such a risk, you need to have an education.”

I wondered, if it came to it, would they choose a big gig or a prom date. “We only have one prom, but we hope to have lots of gigs,” ponders Madi. “We’re lucky we haven’t had to choose yet, but lacrosse is really the big question,” adds Nonnie who once missed a concert due to an injury sustained in lacrosse. “We still want to have all the normal things that other kids have,” adds Olivia. “It helps us write music.”

This summer will be plenty busy. Purple Apple just played at South Haven Michigan’s Harborfest and now have time scheduled away at camp—and no, not band camp, just normal kid camp! They return just in time to play the Kidzapalooza stage at Lollapalooza Friday August 3, at 2:30 and Saturday, August 4, at 12:30.

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