Meet Mama’s Boy, a family group born out of a pandemic : NPR

The Stokes family in Waikato, New Zealand, started a garage band after Ryan Stokes taught his mum and dad how to play instruments during the pandemic.



MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

And finally today, what does a family do when they have to quarantine together?

(SOUND EXTRACTION OF THE SONG, “WHISTLING BIRD”)

MOMAS BOY: (singing) Tell me something I didn’t hear. When you’re stuck in the house, there’s really nothing but the sound of birds whistling, but the sound of birds whistling.

MARTIN: They’re creating a garage band, of course. At least, that’s what this family did. Ryan Stokes, along with his mum and dad, Andrea and Lyndon(ph) Stokes, made the most of their time at home and formed the group Mommas Boy(ph).

(SOUND EXTRACTION OF THE SONG, “WHISTLING BIRD”)

MOMMAS BOY: (Singing) When you’re laying on the grass, they’ll think less of you when the stars above (inaudible) are down, when the stars above (inaudible) are down.

MARTIN: The family of three was back under the same roof on New Zealand’s North Island during the COVID lockdown. Ryan took college classes online while his mom and dad worked remotely.

RYAN STOKES: I had school. And we had never done any form of e-learning before, so suddenly having to go from that to watching a Zoom call every day, I found so exhausting. And at the end of the day, being able to get on guitar, mom on drums, dad on bass, and just rocking out for an hour was such a great stress reliever.

(SOUND EXTRACTION OF MOMMAS BOY SONG)

MOMAS BOY: (singing) You’ve been lost for many years, I said…

MARTIN: Ryan’s parents had never played in a band before or even learned the instruments they love now.

R STOKES: I kind of just got this drum kit that I decided it would be a good idea to buy before the lockdown, thinking I could start a band. But I didn’t really – I didn’t like that nobody could come and play instruments and start a band. So my only option was internal recruitment.

(SOUND EXTRACTION OF MOMMAS BOY SONG)

R STOKES: I had to go into the kitchen. I saw mom dancing to something. I noticed she had this amazing sense of rhythm, and I thought she would be an amazing drummer.

(SOUNDTRACK FROM THE SONG, “C’EST TOUT JUSTE”)

MOMAS BOY: (singing) Stay inside, and you’ll be fine. Stay inside, and you’ll be fine.

ANDREA STOKES: Watching two screens for eight hours, and we’d drop everything at 4:00 a.m. and go, okay, go in — and blast on battery. It was such a good feeling.

(SOUND EXTRACTION OF MOMMAS BOY SONG)

A STOKES: I also remember coming in when Ryan started this. I walked into his room, and I was like, oh, this has a really cool beat. And I think it might have been – and you can correct me, Ryan – but it was just like, hey, mom, put a beat on this. And I think that’s pretty much what I did. I just put a beat on it. And you said, yes, it looks cool, like that.

(SOUND EXTRACTION OF MOMMAS BOY SONG)

LYNDON STOKES: Bass, to me, is just made for me. That’s right – the spacing and the nice big soft strings. And I never realized he was waiting for me – as an almost perfect instrument, in fact.

(SOUND EXTRACTION OF MOMMAS BOY SONG)

MOMAS BOY: (singing) I always thought I’d find the easy way out. I never thought I would feel my heart beating so hard.

MARTIN: The garage band – OK, lounge band – released a few singles before releasing their debut album, ‘Who Would Have Thought’, in April with their song ‘Dark Doorway’.

(SOUNDTRACK FROM THE SONG, “DARK DOORWAY”)

MOMMAS BOY: (singing) I don’t think I’m wrong, but I don’t think I’m right. I don’t care if I catch a cold in the middle of the (inaudible) night.

R STOKES: The dark door to me is kind of like a little rut that you find yourself in before moving on to another stage in your life. Like, you go from room to room. And, like, the dark door is kind of like this little midpoint where you’re not sure if things are going to be okay or you’re a little depressed or a little scared. And pretty much that means, you can’t live your life in the dark doorway. You need to keep moving forward into the next room.

MARTIN: Thousands of fans have watched and liked their music videos on TikTok, where Mommas Boy has a front row seat on the show. Sometimes mom takes over from Mommas Boy and the online reviews of commentators.

(SOUND EXTRACTION OF MOMMAS BOY SONG)

MOMAS BOY: (singing) I saw you standing in a corner at the edge of a burning light. I saw you standing in the corner. Come back to me in the cold cold night.

TO STOKES: I have to say people have been so kind in their comments. And then you get those, and it’s just – I’m just cracking up laughing half the time. You know, oh, your mom is fantastic or, is your mom married? And Ryan goes, well, yeah, because dad’s in the band. Can’t you see that? (Laugh).

(SOUND EXTRACTION OF MOMMAS BOY SONG)

MOMAS BOY: (singing) Come back to me in the cold, cold night.

MARTIN: It was mum Andrea Stokes, with her husband, Lyndon Stokes, and their son, Ryan Stokes. And these are Mommas Boy. Their new single, “It’s All Right”, has just been released. And you can find them on TikTok at mommas-boy-official.

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