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Wallows are serious rockers

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From left, Dylan Minnette, Braeden Lemasters and Cole Preston are Wallows. (Courtesy Kerris Dorsey)

Dylan Minnette, star of the hit Netflix series “13 Reasons Why,” knows that some might think that his parallel musical pursuit in a band called Wallows is a vanity project — that it’s another flashy actor-who-thinks-he-can-rock undertaking with no substance.

Not afraid of naysayers, the guitarist-vocalist happily invites skeptics to see the group play the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco next week.

While the band is only a few singles old, Wallows means serious business. It might end up eclipsing its leader’s TV career.

Minnette, 21, who was born in Evansville, Ind. insists that music isn’t a passing fad.

“I guess I’ve done acting for a long time, but music has always been a part of my life from the get-go,” he says. “My dad was a musician, and growing up, he’d always quiz me on classic bands and artists. I’ve been a fan of music ever since I was 4 or 5. So I feel like music actually came first, even though I didn’t start playing it actively until after I started acting.”

It helps that he’s known bandmates Braeden Lemasters and Cole Preston since childhood.

“I first met Dylan when we were both about 9. We were both actors at the time, and our moms met on this online website where mothers with child actors can communicate,” adds co-guitarist Lemasters, presenting a united Wallows front on the conference call with drummer Preston, too.

Lemasters adds, “Dylan came over one day and we watched ‘South Park’ together, and we started hanging out.”

After repeatedly bumping into each other at the same auditions, they realized they both loved rock, and a collaboration began, which blossomed into a group when they met Preston at age 12 at a songwriting camp.

Preston, also a huge music fan, initially lacked the motivation to pursue it. He says, “Outside of us three being friends, I wasn’t able to share those interests with a lot of other people.” But he adds, “Our music tastes gradually evolved from when we were pre-pubescent teenagers, we shared everything we listened to, every record we played.”

Preston’s eclectic tastes proved crucial, as the trio first was The Feaver, then The Narwhals and, finally, Wallows.

“Cole has just always been ahead of the game,” says Minnette.

Wallows cuts so far — soon to be collected on a debut EP — include “Pleaser,” “Uncomfortable” and the recent “Pulling Leaves Off Trees,” all awash in melodic New Order-ish bass and Minnette’s deep, sonorous singing.

Lyrically, Minnette tries to steer clear of politics. He says, “Because I find it all so depressing – every day it gets darker and creepier.”

IF YOU GO
Wallows
Where: Great American Music Hall, 859 O’Farrell St., S.F.
When: 8 p.m. Jan. 24
Tickets: $17.50 to $20
Contact: (415) 885-0750, www.slimspresents.com

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