There's another side to this: Are these guys able to overcome their lack of chops with good music?
Do they have any good songs? Can anyone carry a tune? The Beastie Boys didn't know squat about playing until after they were famous. I guess what I'm saying is:
it doesn't matter that they don't want to learn "chords" (which chords by the way - 'cause if they're playing with you they must know some chords - are we talkin' augmented 6ths/with stacked 9/13s? or C, E, G kind of stuff?) If they have a good head on their shoulders and can write good songs then maybe it's not wasting your time.
I don't need some joker from music school who thinks his pop-prog project is where it's at. I went to some MI recitals 'cause my friend's friend asked us to - and I saw "schooled" musicians playing stuff that made me want to puke. Cheesey guitar solos over songs I'd forgotten before they finished playing them...cliche lyrics and hair hair hair tight pants and no audience. (Guys who can play their instruments flat-out, but with nothing to say. Back in New England we called them "most Berklee students")
Then I trot down to Spaceland (one of the "it" places to play in Los Angeles) and go hear a band that "technique-wise" sounds like they've been playing their instruments 6 months - but their songs are so damned catchy - and different - and there's a packed audience (paying to get in!) and the band just makes it a fun envirionment to be in.
Hey - the music is good!... I think I'm gonna go talk to that girl over there!
What's the name of this band? I'll keep my eye out for them - man this place is packed! (why do we go out to these places? to hear good music and see/meet girls/boys!)
My friend Jeff, who has toured with bands always seemingly on the fringe of being big and hasn't quite "made it" yet had a great quote (he's much more the "pop" guy than I am.) "The day I look out and see just a bunch of dudes out in the audience is the day I quit music. I don't want 16 year olds boys with black Metallica shirts out there. I want the audiences Chris Martin is getting" He was about 80% serious 20% ranting behind his bar - but it still made me think a bit.
Wolfmother played in their basements, learning as they went, for 4 years before playing a single gig. And it worked out okay for them... You know these guys better than we do - do they have anything worth your time to say?