The Real School of Rock
Founded by Paul Green in 1998, the School of Rock Music has dozens of locations all over the country and teaches thousands of kids the ins and outs of both classic and contemporary rock. On Sunday, December 16, Chop Suey hosts an all-ages show for the Paul Green School of Rock Music, with a performance by the School of Rock West Coast Allstars and the Lonely H, celebrating its newest location which opens in Seattle in January.
Students of the School of Rock attend private lessons and group rehearsals and learn about rock music's deep history while learning how to play it. At the end of each quarter, the kids put their new talents to use and play a rock show at a real club (as opposed to some performance hall no one's heard of).
The general manager of the Seattle branch is Carl Hinds, who's performed with Motörhead, Henry Rollins, White Zombie, and Sonic Youth. He's toured with the Ramones, the Flaming Lips, and Radiohead, and he's done commercials for big-time clients like BMW, Microsoft, and Ford. He currently sings and plays guitar in two bands, the Hell Yeahs and BlackHeart WhiteNoise. It appears Hinds knows a bit about how to make a career as a musician.
The music director is Ben Barnett. Aside from putting out one of my favorite records of all time under the guise of Kind of Like Spitting (Bridges Worth Burning on Barsuk Records), Barnett has also worked with other acts including the Thermals, John Vanderslice, and Ben Gibbard of Death Cab for Cutie. His songwriting is unapologetically honest, and he's a hell of a performer—passionate and energetic.
Classes start in January and enrollment information can be found at schoolofrock.com.
In its own way, EMP's annual Sound Off! showcase has also been contributing to the local all-ages music community, giving young musicians a golden opportunity to play live. On December 7, I sat in a room for three hours with 20 or so other members of the music community, listening to almost 30 bands, discussing and voting for our favorites, helping decide who should make it to the semifinals. Twelve bands will ultimately be selected from that pool to perform at the EMP in February.
Among the bag of genres, there was some metal (complete with an epic bagpipe intro), some female-fronted DIY punk, some hiphop with a little jazz influence, some pop punk played by 11- and 12-year-olds, some classic cock rock, and a couple endearingly goofy singer-songwriters. Those who made the cut will be announced early next year.