Thursday, March 31, 2005

Rock School All--Stars DVDs

Wow! I don't know what else to say. As I wrote here yesterday, David Neidorf, Sara's father, sent me DVDs of all three Rock School All-Star/Ike Willis DVDs as well as a DVD of the December 26 show at B.B. Kings. We watched some of them last night and they are fucking incredible! The filming itself, the sound quality, the way they're packaged...I was blown away.

But of course that's just a tiny piece of it.

The music -- man, I just couldn't get enough. It's really the first time I've seen this group of All Stars filmed "professionally" and their level of excellence is mind blowing.

I want to talk about the final Ike Show in New York on Sunday because that's the one that made me lose it altogether and it's the one we watched in its entirety before we started getting sleepy.

It begins with the first Rock School Shred A Thon. Haffie, Matt Manser, and Matt Bosco competed, each stepping into the spotlight for a shredding solo. They were all fucking amazing! Then Paul says "Anyone else?", and out walks C.J. C.J. launches into a King Diamond type lead, the crowd goes crazy -- well, the crowd went crazy from the first note Haffie played to start it off -- and then Paul says, anyone else? And bass player Mike Connor stepped up. It was great! (and hilarious)

Anyway, the audience picked the winner by applause, and Haffie won, though all four guitarists and Mike were so good it's frightening. There aren't any other guitarists out there, famous or otherwise, as good as this group. Well, let me amend that, the only other guitarists just as good are the former Rock School All-Stars who've since graduated the program like Louie Graf, Matt Hollenberg, Jon Hauptman, etc. I always have believed, and I know I'm the first one who ever said it but now everyone connected with Rock School is saying it, that in the very near future you're going to see a whole slew of famous musicians who are Paul Green School of Rock graduates. These Rock School All Stars, past and present, are going to make the 90s Seattle grunge movement look like a minor blip on the music radar scene...and you heard it here first!

Anyway, getting back to the show...

Watching/hearing Allie Hauptman perform her last All-Star show before heading off to college was a real heartbreaker. I don't think she ever sounded better singing Whipping Post and Ike Willis really added another dimension when he sang back up. Holy cow, what a send off - doing your last performance with someone who played and partied with John Lennon.

Again, I have to really commend Dave Neidorf on his filming. I wonder if he does this for a living?

The next song was Packard Goose. Ike sang, Eric played drums, and then Paul Green brought out Allie and remarked to the audience how much she's meant to the program (and he's not kidding!) and then she grabbed a mic and quoted Frank Zappa...the camera zoomed in on her again along with Ike on guitar and Eric playing drums in between...I was a blithering idiot and must have gone through a box of Kleenex. Then Eric launched into one of the most amazing drum solos - I was watching his, he is so fast the sticks were making "trails".

Speaking of drum solos, 14 year old Ms. Sara Neidorf smoked the crowd with one, and as I've said, if I shut my eyes and didn't know better, I would have thought I was listening to my son doing that solo at her age.

That's the highest compliment I can pay a drummer, Sara. And she totally rocks out on Hot for Teacher as does our boy Joey Randazzo, or Joey Reno as he's now called, who does the vocals on that number, and is yet another drummer who breaks the mold -- i.e., he can sing! (As Paul says, it's scary to give a drummer a mic...I guess he's thinking of Phil Collins ha ha...well, I am, anyway. Bleh. Best episode of South Park ever: Phil Collins walking around with his Oscar. Ha!)

There are so many other details I can't go in to them all, but I do want to add that of course other than Packard Goose, I really lost it when my son played drums and sang on The Weight with strep throat, (okay, it was before he was diagnosed the following day. I never would have let him perform had I know how sick he really was; he went to the doctor the following morning) and to hear his voice all husky as he tried for those notes made me cry big time.

Anyway, I need to watch the rest of the DVDs tonight and I'll report back with more highlights.

I also need to get Eric to upload the tons of photographs I've taken at recent Rock School concerts so that I can show everyone better pics of the current All-Stars as well as more of Madison Flego's amazing photos. She's got the whole Women What Rock series and I'm dying to post them here.

Okay, that's my Rock School report for the day.

I forget if I have anything else to report in the writing world, but you know me, if anything interesting occurs there or otherwise, I'll be back.

Just call me The Terminator.

On second thought, please don't.