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justincase

Justincase is a pop/rock trio made up of Justin (vocals, guitar), Nick (drums, percussion), and Hannah Tosco (bass). Not only do they share a common interest, but they also share the same last name. That's right -- they're related. These siblings have been jamming together for years and were just recently signed to Maverick Records with the help of their good friend, and now label mate, Michelle Branch! Get to know Hannah (16), Justin (19), and Nick (17)...

Lindzi.com: What's it like working with your siblings?

Justin of Justincase: I tell everyone that it's good and bad. There's a lot of pros and a lot of cons. We get to practice whenever we want. We live in the same house so we can just go into the garage and rehearse. We have a sibling connection musically, on stage and when we're writing. We wouldn't normally have that connection if we weren't related. At the same time, it's tough being around each other all the time. It's now getting to be a 24/7. There's a lot of sharing that has to go on and compromise.

Lindzi.com: When did you guys start jamming together?

Justin: We'd all been playing our instruments for a while. My dad's a guitar teacher so I learned early how to play guitar. Right away, I was learning Beatles and Buddy Holly songs. Soon enough, when I was around 9 or 10, I started writing my own songs. By 12, I was writing a lot and getting really serious. Nick had picked up the drums and Hannah was playing keyboard and a little bit of bass. We wanted to start this band so that we could play original music. It was never about playing other people's songs. For the first couple years, we had to do half originals and half covers in order to get people interested in our music. Eventually, we started weeding out the cover songs in favor for some songs that I had written. Our first show was like 6 years ago. It's been a while.

Lindzi.com: I remember hearing about you guys a couple years back when I was writing for CosmoGIRL. You have evolved quite a bit since then.

Justin: We have. A lot of people are like, "Oh -- are you a new band?" Nationally we weren't recognized so we say yes. Really, it's been six years... 3 or 4 years of really going at it and doing it professionally for money. Besides school, that's all we did for the last couple years.

Lindzi.com: How do Hannah and Nick feel about not having their names incorporated into the band name?

Justin: It's weird. It changes all the time... their opinion and mine. I actually didn't even want the name and we almost changed it before the record came out. The name really has nothing to do with me being the lead singer or the writer. The only reason it has my name in there is that it incorporates us into the name. Also, it's catchy and we thought people would remember it. At the same time, people sometimes think the band is just me and it's not. It's a group effort. They go back and forth.

Lindzi.com: What do you think would be their biggest complaint about you?

Justin: I'm very neat and organized. They think that I'm a little too anal and get stressed out too easily. I try to keep everything in order and they think this is supposed to be a rock band. We're supposed to be rebellious. That's probably their biggest complaint. But we balance each other out, for sure.

Lindzi.com: What do you usually fight over?

Justin: Me and Nick usually room together. Hannah rooms with my mom or by herself. So, me and Nick will fight over who gets the TV on what nights. He likes to fall asleep with the TV on and I like it off. We alternate nights now.

Lindzi.com: What were you high school years like?

Justin: I would normally be starting my sophomore year in college right now. I feel like I had a normal high school life. A lot of people in rock bands like to say that their high school wasn't normal and they were the outcasts and they were shun from society. It wasn't like that for us. I didn't get to do a lot of the things that my friends did all the time just because we're working so hard. We'd miss out on football games or movies sometimes so we could practice. At the same time, we made time. We had some late nights playing shows during the weeks. But our friends would be at the shows sometimes. It wasn't your typical, cliché, "I was the outcast in high school."

Lindzi.com: Were your friends ever jealous of the music thing?

Justin: It was mostly people in other bands that had hatred towards us. We were very lucky in our careers. We had a lot of opportunities that most other bands didn't get. Especially high school bands and people we associated with. Not necessarily because we were a better band, but we had great people around us.

Lindzi.com: How close are you with Michelle Branch?

Justin: Our families are really good friends. She's a good friend of mine and Nick's and Hannah's. We called her last night to congratulate her for winning Viewers Choice Award at the VMA's. We were nervous for her. It's such a big milestone in her career. She was asking us at the beginning. We had been doing it for three years already when we met her. She was just getting started recording her first independent CD. She was asking us for advice and next thing you know she's signed and off and running... and now she has a VMA award. It's weird.

Lindzi.com: Were you friends from back home?

Justin: We met at a showcase in Las Vegas two years ago during the summer. We both happened to be playing there. She got in touch with us and found out that we were young and playing our own stuff and writing. We hit it off right away. We became good friends. We traded lawyers and managers and now we share the same team now.

Lindzi.com: What'd you think of Michelle's, "I think I'm drunker than Pink comment" at the VMA's?

Justin: I know! I was quite surprised. I think... Actually, I know she was just flustered. I think you think about what you're going to say and who you're going to thank and when you get up there it's a totally different story. I think that's what happened. She was just amazed and flustered and excited. I forgive her.

Lindzi.com: What song off the new album most reflects your personality?

Justin: Each song is a snap shot of where I am at a certain point. They're all really reflective of me and different parts of me at different times in my life.

Lindzi.com: What song is most personal to you?

Justin: It Was Something... It's the oldest song on the album. A girl. A lot of songs aren't even about girls. But this one happens to be about my first love. I wrote that when I was 15. I think that's the most personal song on the album.

Lindzi.com: Speaking of girls, what's the dating scene like for you?

Justin: I have a girlfriend right now. She's a hometown girl. The girl next door. I don't think I could date anyone in the business. I met her in my hometown and she goes to NC State University.

Lindzi.com: What do you typically look for in a girlfriend?

Justin: All the standard things. Good personality, fun to hang out with. I have to be attracted to them. I like when a girl's athletic and willing to get out there and do stuff. Someone outgoing who likes meeting new people.

Lindzi.com: So, you're girlfriend is in college. Do you foresee yourself going to college in the future?

Justin: I was just talking about that today. The guitar player we just hired went to Berkley in Boston. I don't want to be stuck with the standard high school education my whole life. I wouldn't mind furthering my education. I don't know whether that means college. I would like to produce when I'm done with performing. I'd like to stay in the music business. I think there's other ways of being educated other than going to college. I think I learn a lot through traveling and reading.

Lindzi.com: What makes you insecure?

Justin: My height. I'm short. I'm like 5'7. I just found out that Tom Cruise is the same height as me. We were having a discussion about short leading men. I think... Mel Gibson and Sylvester Stallone.

Lindzi.com: And, come on... he's Rambo!

Justin: Yeah, that's true. I just have to get as buff as him and I'll be alright.

Lindzi.com: What drives you insane?

Justin: Getting woken up. That's my total pet peeve. Especially if I haven't gotten enough sleep. These days I'm lucky if I get six or seven hours. I need like nine or ten. When people wake me up in the morning, it drives me crazy. I'd rather be woken up by an alarm.

Lindzi.com: What question hasn't been asked that you'd like to answer?

Justin: My favorite question now... After all these interviews... Is... What's in your CD player?

Lindzi.com: And the answer would be?

Justin: You have to ask me first.

Lindzi.com: Okay... What's in your CD player?

Justin {chuckles} Right now, I am listening to... I'll pretend it's a three disk CD changer or something. The new Duncan Sheik album. I love, it's a great album. Counting Crows -- Hard Candy. And N.E.R.D. I tend to stay in the pop/rock category. I like singer/songwriters. I love John Mayer. I have hung out with him a couple times. He's a cool guy. I love his CD. I think it's one of the best of the last year.

John Mayer? Now, you know they have great taste in music. Not convinced? Check out Justincase's debut album and see for yourself. Also, be sure to take a listen to their new single, Don't Cry For Us.

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