Wednesday, June 15, 2005
Rock School soundtrack
So in spite of glowing reviews from critics all across America, Rock School the documentary is not exactly bringing in major box office dollars and will probably not be in theaters much longer. This is really too bad and I have no explanation for what's occurred at all. It's a wonderful documentary..oh wait...it's a documentary, not a zillion dollar Hollywood blockbuster starring blank eyed anorexic young flavors of the month with trillions of dollars of publicity behind it. Silly me. But the good news is that my friends overseas tell me they've seen advertisements for its release in the UK and Australia so maybe the film will be like Jimi Hendrix (ha)....it needs to leave America to earn its respect and fame.
In any event, it will be out sooner than later on DVD and on T.V., and the DVD will include extra footage of the kids in the studio back in December/January of this year recording the soundtrack. You'll be able to see what the kids look like post-puberty (Rock School was filmed two years ago, which is like twenty years in teen life).
Speaking of the recording studio, what's really a shame is that the soundtrack CD is feeling the effects of the documentary, meaning, because the film isn't getting a large audience, you can't even find said CD in most stores. This is tragic because the kids put incredible effort into this project and it includes some amazing, amazing tracks. So I'm going to post some reviews I've found on line and at the bottom of this post, I'll put a link or two as to where you can purchase the CD as well.
This one appeared in www.allmusic.com, which is the definitive source for music on the web:
Review by Rob Theakston
In 2003 comedian Jack Black starred in School Of Rock, a comedy about a teacher who takes a pack of upper crust private school kids and turns them into a rock band. This idea was loosely inspired by the Paul Green School of Rock Music, whose sole simplistic mission is to teach future generations the fundamentals of rock and roll from the legends themselves. In 2005, a documentary aptly entitled "Rock School" focused on Green's academy and its faculty, a veritable who's who of classic rock and roll. This soundtrack features the students performing their 'professors', covering their finest moments in a different light. Faculty emeritus Billy Idol, Alice Cooper, Ann Wilson, Greg Rolie, Dave Mustaine and Stewart Copeland are among the teachers here, and the students are more than up to the task of doing each song justice. It's not as cheeky as Langely Schools Project, so those looking for something along those lines will be sorely disappointed here. This is full unabashed rock done by passionate students with equally passionate teachers hoping to pass the torch to a future generation the true definition of rock and roll.
This one appears at www.seaoftranquility.org:
Various Artists: Rock School-Music From and Inspired By the Original Motion Picture
The Paul Green School of Rock Music - not to be confused with the Jack Black School of Rock movie - was founded in Philadelphia in 1998 “to help advance the art of Rock by connecting the future generation to the rich history that has come before them,” according to the school's namesake. That's why Green called on such rockers as Alice Cooper, Jon Anderson from Yes, Dave Mustaine, The Police's Steward Copeland, Heart's Ann Wilson, Billy Idol, Marky Ramone, Gregg Rolie from Santana and Journey, and Deep Purple's Ian Gillan to help teach at the School of Rock. Filmmaker Don Argott thought the concept was so cool that he even made a documentary about it and called it Rock School (opening this month in select theaters around the United States).
Lo and behold, this is Rock School's soundtrack, which features recordings of classic rock songs performed by the actual student-musicians who appear in the film, with their singing heroes. For example, Mustaine sings “Peace Sells” backed by a pair of guitarists named Dan Nitz and Louis Graff, a bassist named Julie Slick, and a drummer who goes by BK. Gillan does a raw but effective run-through of “Highway Star” with guitarists Phillip Kingsford and Jeremy Blessing, bassist Peter White and drummer Joseph Randazzo III. Pay attention: Those names could grace the credits of future metal albums.
In addition to playing with hotshot rockers, a handful of students also get the opportunity to take the mic themselves. Chuck Flavor makes for a creepily real-sounding Jim Morrison on “L.A. Woman,” while Madi Diaz could front an all-female Police tribute band after her performance with Stewart Copeland on “Don't Stand So Close To Me.” Classics that you've heard all your life also get a little reworking, especially Heart's “Barracuda” and Santana's “Black Magic Woman.” The biggest surprise, though, is Jon Anderson's appearance on Yes' “Heart of the Sunrise.” I'm not sure why that's a surprise, but trust me - it is.
Sure, this album could be considered one of those lame “classics reworked” records or even a glorified tribute disc. But in an era when public schools are eliminating music programs to cut costs, Paul Green emerges as a hero, a staunch believer in both the power of music and the power of the people who make music. Plus, any program with the tagline “Teaching kids the basics: power chords, head banging & being a rock star” deserves all the kudos it can get.
1) Black Magic Woman
2) I Want to Be Sedated
3) School's Out
5) Highway Star
6) L.A. Woman
7) Heart of the Sunrise
8) Rebel Yell
9) Don't Stand So Close To Me
10) Iron Man
11) Peace Sells
12) Hocus Pocus
Added: June 1st 2005
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Rock School Web Site
And finally, the next three appear at www.amazon.com. We've been trying to verify the authenticity of one of these reviews (you'll be able to figure out very quickly the review to which I refer) but even if we can't verify it, it is still a mind blowing remark about the kids and their talent:
All Customer Reviews
Average Customer Review: 5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars THE PAST,PRESENT AND FUTURE OF ROCK MUSIC!!!!, June 1, 2005
Reviewer: LOYAL FAN
THE PAUL GREEN SCHOOL OF ROCK MUSIC IS A MUSIC SCHOOL WHERE THE KIDS ARE TRAINED IN CLASSIC ROCK THEN PERFORM CONCERTS TO GAIN EXPERIENCE. THIS ALBUM SHOWCASES THE HARD WORK AND TALENT OF THE KIDS. THE KIDS PERFORM WITH SOME OF ROCK'S BIGGEST NAMES SUCH AS ALICE COOPER AND BILLY IDOL. THE HIGHLIGHTS OF THE ALBUM ARE THE SONGS WHERE THE KIDS TAKE CENTER STAGE AND PERFORM ALL THE VOCALS AND INSTRUMENTS THEMSELVES. THE GREAT VERSIONS OF L.A. WOMAN AND IRON MAN ARE SUNG BY CHUCK FLAVOR,WHICH IS A STAGE NAME OF DOMENIC MALANDRO,ARE EXAMPLES OF THE TALENT POSSESSED BY THE ROCK SCHOOL KIDS. ENJOY YOUR FAVORITE CLASSICS IN A NEW WAY AS THE FUTURE OF ROCK IS SECURE!!!!!
5 out of 5 stars These are kids?, June 1, 2005
Reviewer: Mark Stevens (New York)
I had heard a buzz about this CD and since it contains some of my favorite classic rock performers, I bought it yesterday.
Can I tell you that the kids are better than the "stars"?
Track one - Black Magic Woman - is incredible. Besides the incredible Santana-like guitar work of C.J. Tywoniak, it contains some of the best drumming I've ever heard anywhere by Rock School student Eric Slick. The steady bass of Matt Rothstein and keyboards of Steve Roberts make this track just about perfect.
Track two - I Wanna Be Sedated. I dunno, I'm a Ramones fan and I think these kids have Johnny smiling up in heaven.
Track three - School's Out. These are kids? Sounds just like the original, but better.
Track four - Barracuda. Now this is the keeper of the album. Who is Louis Graff and why haven't we heard of him? He rules! Jalea Cooner? Another guitar god! Amazing! I see Eric Slick on drums again. This kid is going to be a major star, and there's a Julie Slick on bass who is equally wonderful. Sister/brother act? Watch out White Stripes!
Track five - Highway Star. Two kids named Jeremy Blessing and Phillip Kingsford on guitar will rock your world. Nice bass work by Peter White and drummer Joseph Randazzo, III holds it together nicely.
Track six: Holy moly, Jim Morrison back from the dead? Chuck Flavor is his reincarnate!
Track seven: Okay, my all time favorite on the CD. Louis Graff and the Slick Kids again with Allie Hauptman on keyboards. Jon Anderson must have thought he died and went to heaven. These kids can stand up to Steve Howe and company any day.
Track 8 - Rebel Yell. Can't tell it from the original. That kid Slick on drums again. CJ Tywoniak and Madison Flego on guitars. They rule! Matt Rothstein of Black Magic Woman on bass. Amazing.
Remaining tracks: Don't Stand So Close to Me, Iron Man, Peace Sells, and Hocus Pocus. All better than the original. For sure.
So. Remember these names: Louis Graff. C.J. Tywoniak. Eric Slick. Julie Slick. Matt Rothstein. Madison Flego. Chuck Flavor. Jalea Cooner. They're all gonna be famous.
5 out of 5 stars Smashing! June 3, 2005
Reviewer: Charlie W. (UK)
This is my first Amazon review and I only ventured onto the site to see if others had anything to say about this CD. I am doing it as a favour to the wonderful group I saw perform at CBGB's Wednesday night. I did not see the movie but was invited by my mates to the after party and bought the CD solely based on the music I heard. I've been a drummer with what many say is the world's greatest rock and roll band for several decades and I have to tell you, any one of those kids could fill in for my mates in the band. I understand the little lad, C.J., is the star of the movie and he is just wonderful but for me, there were three heroes that night...the singer, Maddie, the bare chested lad Jeremy, and the drummer, Eric. Maddie has the voice of an old time rocker. No stony faced, spaced out monotones for her. She roared, she was the music. Jeremy Blessing (and is that a name!) is the stuff of the Mississippi Delta combined with Jimmy Page; in fact, I'd like Jimmy to see him live the next time he's in town. I intend to write to the School of Rock for his contact information. There was soul in every note and he owned the stage. But as a drummer, for me the main attraction was Eric Slick. This is a young lad who has obviously studied the masters. He has listened to people like Buddy Rich and Max Roach I am certain, and while I am loathe to say it, I believe he has also listened to me. This kid has no peers in terms of innovation; he has a deeply personal sound and approach. He had a fixed pulse on his cymbals as well as his bass drum; and while many of the young guitar lads would falter from time to time due to what I trust was a problem with the monitors, Mr. Slick never lost a beat and was the driving force that evening. He brought tears to this old man's eyes and he is another I intend to keep my eye on for future projects. He could fill my shoes any time.
I insist you people in the States buy this CD. Don't buy it for the old geezers; buy it for the kids and learn something from them.
And here is where you can buy the CD and hear it for yourself!