Mick Clouse turned 18 Aug. 31.

"Me and Chad are going out to dinner," he said with a laugh. He and his New Hollow bandmates Chad Blashford and Evan West debated birthday plans during a phone

interview that afternoon.

The trio is a tight unit that shares plenty of inside jokes, teenage energy and a tendency to cut each other off mid- sentence. Each member hails from a different region of the country. They met by chance about four years ago.

"Mick and I were enrolled in middle school in New Albany, Ohio," West explained. "I was a total dork. Chad played football and (was) boarding it up. We decided (he'd be) the drummer because he tries to hit stuff."

At age 12 and 13, the friends started to turn heads and ears with their music when they signed up for a battle of the bands.

"We were the youngest kids," West said. "Everything went wrong, and we ended up winning first place."

They knew something special was taking shape, but others only saw them as kids.

"People asked, 'how old are you guys?'" Clouse said. "They never believe that we're teenagers. I think that's a huge compliment because I think that we can play and do what we do (and) as we get older, it only gets better."

Even without a recording contract, New Hollow has produced hits. The band's singles "Boyfriend," "SiCK" and "Airplanes" made the top five on Billboard's Top Hot Single Sales of 2011. It was the first time an unsigned teen band with no radio play earned that honor.

"Social media really helped us a lot," Blashford said. "People really connected with our music."

The band also gained a following on its tour. This summer, its lineup included several fairs. Next up is an opening gig for fellow up-and- comers Allstar Weekend Saturday at the York Fair. After the show, the guys said they plan to stick around to meet and greet fans, who are known as Hollowers.

"That's almost as important ... as the show," Clouse said. "Our fans are the most important thing. We want to have face time with every one of our fans."

Another item on the group's fall agenda: Record an album.

They have a producer lined up and plenty of material. Being teenagers is helpful in that way, West said. The band's recent single "She Ain't You" is about a breakup.

"It is a true story," he added. "You've got to live to write music."

Despite fans, fairs and birthday fetes, living as teenagers means going to high school. But for New Hollow, that doesn't mean sitting at a desk. The trio recently started fall courses online through ECOT - The Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow.

"It is a very good option given our schedules and everything," West said. "It helps out that we can use it whenever we want."


Photo contest

While at the fair or a grandstand show, take a photo using the Instagram app on your smartphone. You can apply filters, or not. Include the tag #YDRfair to the photo caption. Everyone who shares a photo marked #YDRfair will be placed in a random drawing for a $25 Target gift card. The deadline is noon Monday. For details, visit Check out contest photos at

If you go

See New Hollow 7 p.m. Saturday. They open for Allstar Weekend. Tickets for the final grandstand show of the 2012 York Fair are $24 and $29. For details, visit

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