Most 15-year-olds who start bands play the school gym. Not so for The Like, an alternative-pop trio consisting of Elizabeth “Z” Berg, Charlotte Froom and Tennessee Thomas, whose first gig was alongside MTV phenom Phantom Planet. Soon they were performing with such high-profile acts as Maroon 5 and Rilo Kiley, which led to a Geffen record deal, a well-received debut album in 2005 and a world tour. “It was everything you could possibly dream,” says Thomas, the group’s drummer. Of course, it didn’t hurt that their parents are all industry vets (Froom’s father produces, Thomas’s dad is Elvis Costello’s drummer and Berg’s father is a former Geffen exec), but it was the sight of three doe-eyed girls in vintage frocks rocking out with intensity that proved irresistible to fans.
Now, at the ripe old ages of 22 (Berg, the band’s lead singer and guitarist, and bassist Froom) and 24 (Thomas), they have a second album coming out and are eager to prove they’ve grown up. “When you are 15, you don’t really have s--- to write about,” says Berg, who pens all of The Like’s songs. Producer Mark Ronson, fresh off his success with Amy Winehouse and Lily Allen, collaborated on the band’s sophomore effort (and the girls’ charms were not lost on him—he’s been dating Thomas since last fall).
“They are the antidote to what’s wrong with pop music,” Geffen chairman Ron Fair says of The Like’s dreamy vocals and guitar-heavy, fast-paced melodies. “They are sarcastic, witty and thought provoking. And they are not manufactured—they have actual musical skills.”
These days the three are adjusting to no longer being the youngest ingenues on the indie scene. Fortunately they have some elder role models—including Jenny Lewis, lead singer of Rilo Kiley—who have convinced them that becoming adults isn’t so tragic. “Jenny is, like, 30,” says Thomas. “And she’s still rocking it. So there’s hope for us.”