Friday, October 19, 2007

Watched a terrific documentary called Rock School. It is the story of Paul Green's School of Rock in Philadelphia. He runs it as an after-school program for kids who want to learn rock music. Although he welcomes kids of all music levels, he places very high expectations and demands on them. I was frankly astonished at the level of music done by his top level band. He decided his top kids should just work on Frank Zappa tunes. Not the easier Zappa songs, the harder ones. For those who don't know, Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention had a reputation for performing some of the most difficult and complex songs of any rock bands.

At the end of the film the top level band made a trip to Germany to play at a Zappa festival. Mr Green spoke on the phone to Napoleon Brock-Murphy, one of the original Mothers of Invention, to ask him to talk with the kids. Mr Murphy first expressed his astonishment at which songs this band was going to play, then agreed to do a song with them on stage. He and another former Zappa band member both expressed their highest admiration for these kids after the show.

The school is now franchised in several cities. As you might suspect, there are a number of YouTube videos. Here's one I found with Jon Anderson of Yes as a guest of the band doing Long Distance Runaround. Mr Green is the man who comes up to direct towards the end. There's another video with Close to the Edge, but I thought that wouldn't be as familiar to some of you. If you want to see more, you can either poke around YouTube yourself (edit:search for SOR school of rock), or go to the School of Rock site here.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007