The kid can’t help it. Folk-popper Teddy Geiger may be only 19, but when he sits down for tea in a San Francisco hotel suite, he’s got a decidedly adult bearing that’s well beyond his years.
You can hear it in the dark, introspective songs on his forthcoming sophomore CD “The March” and in the way he discusses their composition.
You can see it in his assured performance in the new comedy “The Rocker,” opening Wednesday, playing a dour emo upstart named Curtis who hires washed-up arena-rocker Fish (Rainn Wilson) to drum for his teenage band A.D.D.
He’s had no real choice in the matter, either, he says, since he appeared on the scene three years ago as a finalist on VH1’s “In Search of the Partridge Family.”
“The big moment that sparked the grow-up was [when] I came back off tour from my first album [“Underage Thinking” on Columbia] and the life I knew was gone,” says the Rochester, N.Y., native, who recently settled into his first apartment in Los Angeles.
He says, “I left for tour as a high-school student; with friends in class and a high-school sweetheart that I’d dated for two years.”
But in his two years away, his chums moved on to college, his romance splintered, “and people that I’d known had changed, and all the dynamics were different. It was weird getting used to that.”
Geiger believes that he matured even more on “The Rocker” movie set in Toronto.
After a stint on the short-lived TV series “Love Monkey,” he wasn’t angling for any new roles. At first, he turned down a reading for Curtis, who undergoes a creepy showbiz transformation before getting back on good-guy track.
“But then I called ’em back and said ‘Yeah, yeah, yeah — I’ll come in!’ Because I can’t let myself be afraid of these situations, he says. And the whole movie helped me work better with people, because I tend to be a lone, over-in-the-corner kind of guy, and this team experience has helped me to overcome that.”
Fronting the fictional A.D.D. had another bonus. Geiger got to sing nine of the 12 tracks on the punky, Chad Fischer-penned “Rocker” soundtrack. He also got to play to his biggest crowd ever in the stadium-showdown scene, filled with both extras and diehard fans who’ve dubbed themselves “Tedheads.”
He’s also reportedly dating co-star Emma Stone.
Though he has inked ad deals with everyone from Levi’s to Got Milk, he won’t answer whether he’s yet made his first million. He says, “But I got an apartment, a car and some studio equipment, which is being used to record my current album. So my money has all been well-spent.”