Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Rock School Post Partum Syndrome - one month after partying with Eddie Vedder, Jon Anderson, Alice Cooper, Stewart Copeland, and Ann Wilson

Julie Slick on stage in Seattle

So it's approximately one month after the debut of Rock School; the documentary is leaving the Ritz Five in Philadelphia after tonight's screening and while it just opened last week in a few cities and will be debuting overseas next month, it will be on DVD sooner than later where I think it's going to be a fact, I read an interesting article how DVDs are much bigger business and bigger profit makers than movies in theaters so hopefully the advertising that Rock School did not get this time around will be rectified for the DVD and it will in fact get the wide audience it deserves.

But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't depressed these days. Rock School the movie was in the making over two years -- probably almost three years -- and I have true post partum syndrome now that it's over. I mean, come on, a month ago I was in Hollywood chatting with Jon Anderson after he played Heart of the Sunrise with Julie and Eric at the L.A. Knitting Factory and he put his arm around me and told me how great they are -- I even have a pic of it which I may post if I have a few drinks (meaning, I look absolutely horrific in this photo -- like a deer caught in the headlights with a shit eating grin on my face)...I stood in shock while my kids played with Stewart Copeland, Alice Cooper, Ann Wilson, and Eddie Vedder...and my god, I had freaking pizza with Eddie Vedder (also have a pic with his arm around me, too, again, too awful for words -- I think I need a chinectomy, i.e., for someone who hovers between a size ten and twelve, I have about seventeen chins in that photo but I know me, one night while knocking back a few, I won't be able to resist posting it)and anyway, it's been back to the real world bigtime for me and I don't like it.

Daughter Julie is happy, though. Her boyfriend Matt is back from his two week adventure in New Mexico though I have to admit, I enjoyed having her to myself. We had some awesome times together (ha ha - as usual, I clobbered her in Scrabble but she's a great player as well so we're thinking of becoming a team and challenging others to play us at Mugshots, a local coffeehouse which has Wednesday night Scrabble tournaments. I'm not bragging, I used to play tournament Scrabble and trust me, no one is going to beat the two of us. I just hope money is involved or at least free coffee!). We also had some incredible meals out, the best of which was dinner at a local Mexican restaurant, Lolita, at 13th and Sansom. It had to be the absolute best Mexican meal I've ever had in my life - I'd eaten there before with a fellow writer, Miriam Kotzin, and was blown away but the dinner I had with Julie was even better. They have a knocked out salad made with green apples, butter fish which has been chargrilled, fancy lettuce, and a dressing which tasted of vanilla beans but very subtle. I can't even describe how amazing it is. It's a BYOB and their big thing is they have these huge pitchers of fresh fruit juices so you bring a big bottle of tequila and enjoy. For dessert we had chocolate tres leches cake - oh my god, and I wonder why I have seventeen chins. Tres Leches cake is three milk cake - so this was chocolate cake soaked in heavy cream, milk, and sweetened condensed milk. They topped it off with homemade whipped cream and rich chocolate chunks. Lolita is now one of my favorite restaurants in Philadelphia.

Eric has so much stuff going on I can't even keep track of it. Gigs with both of his bands, gigs exclusive of his bands, two very interesting gigs at the end of the month I can't announce yet but of course will shortly as soon as they are confirmed; then he leaves for Germany with his father for Zappanale 16 where he'll perform along with the Rock School All-Stars as the festival's headliner doing a night of Pink Floyd and a night of Zappa. I am sooo jealous I'm not going to Germany again but I think it's important for Eric and his dad to go together though it's the first time EVER that Gary will get on a plane because he's terrified to fly. This is a big man who normally is afraid of nothing -- he goes along with the kids on the world's most heinous amusement rides -- when they were younger and he took them I couldn't even go and watch because I'm one of those people who throw up after a trip on the Merry-Go-Round and wouldn't even dream of anything as wild as a Ferris Wheel let alone those roller coasters of death. He is also a man who, when his jeep was stolen and by some weird twist of fate he pulled up next to it at a traffic light, chased the very very scarey criminal through West Philadelphia in his new jeep with no cell phone and no weapon other than his hands. I told Eric he has to take a pic of his dad's face at take-off; I'm imagining a version of "The Scream".

And in other news, we have Live 8 here on Saturday which is literally right down the street from my house. Now if this was the original line-up that I saw in 1985 here, I'd be so excited I wouldn't be able to control myself but the Philadelphia cast is so horrible I doubt I'll even watch it on TV. I mean, we have fucking Josh Groban, Dave Matthews, Bon Jovi, and P. Diddy. Somebody please kill me now. However, I did tell the kids that I'll have an open house here for anyone who wants to stop by for a burger - I'll probably barbecue all day and have all kinds of munchies so you don't have to give the City of Philadelphia $20.00 for a crappy hotdog and warm Pepsi.

Sigh...just thinking about Live Aid 1985 makes me depressed. I was three months pregnant with Julie and in the bathroom every five seconds either throwing up or peeing. First time in my young life back then I went to a rock concert and couldn't get high. Ha. It was the hottest day ever and the promoters got the brilliant idea about midway through the show to turn high powered hoses on everyone. Now I was thrilled, it felt wonderful, but all the people laying out lines of coke on mirrors all around me (hey, it was 1985!) almost had heart attacks and not from the drug. Hundreds of thousands of dollars of dope ruined that day. Oh the humanity! But oh my god, the show. There will never be a line-up in Philadelphia like that again:

Bernard Watson
Joan Baez
The Hooters
The Four Tops
Billy Ocean
Ozzy Osbourne
Run Dmc
Rick Springfield
Crosby Stills and Nash
Judas Priest
Bryan Adams
The Beach Boys
George Thorogood and the Destroyers/Bo Diddley/Albert Collins
Simply Minds
The Pretenders
Santanna and Pat Metheny
Ashford and Simpson and Teddy Pendergrass
Tom Petty
Kenny Logins
The Cars
Neil Young
The Power Station (Robert Palmer's super group)
The Thomson Twins
Eric Clapton
Phil Collins
Plant, Page and Jones
Duran Duran
Patti La Belle
Hall & Oates/Eddie Kendricks/David Ruffin
Mick Jagger and Tina Turner
Bob Dylan/Keith Richard/Ron Wood

Bernard Watson is an interesting story. He showed up at Live Aid with a guitar - he was a local singer/songwriter and said "Put me on stage, please" and so the organizers said, what the fuck, and let him open the show.

That could never happen in today's corporate climate. Our line up is not only an MTV disgrace, how the hell could they exclude Rock School? Rock School has given this city more publicity and fame and our lovely Mayor, who by the way was voted the worst mayor in the entire United States by Time Magazine, doesn't even acknowledge their presence. I mean, if you take the suburban branches into consideration, we have maybe 500 kids from the area who are accomplished rock and rollers, had a documentary made about them which has played all over the country and is now scheduled for international release; made a soundtrack with some of the original Live Aid performers -- kids who play major venues all over the city and have had press everywhere from the New York Times to the London Observer...and they can't get an invitation to play in their own city? Oh well, who cares. Who the fuck wants to play with P-Diddy and Dave Matthews. These kids have played with Stewart Copeland and Eddie Vedder, etc.

But I did read the City is proud to announce that Pepsi has paid them $65,000 for the rights to be the exclusive drink supplier for the concert...
Hey, I just did get some good news. Got an email that a story of mine was accepted for the summer edition of Slow Trains Literary Journal and it will be published this Friday. Yay! I have started really writing again now that all the distractions are over; editing my novel on The Tour which no longer focuses on the tour at all; finishing up the sequel to Three Days in NYC; and simultaneously writing two short stories.

So life is good in that regard. Oh, one funny story about that. I know I'm always moaning that I want to quit my job so I can write full time but in reality, my kids and I have a high life style which we enjoy so unless Hollywood buys Three Days or my new novel gets a huge advance, I'm not quitting my day job anytime soon. Yesterday at work, my boss wasn't in and he called, asking me to look on his desk for a file. I go in his office and see a legal tablet with notes which are obviously for a conversation and something catches my eye. It says "I know you haven't been happy; I've heard you want a break; this is something I have to do; I know it's not fair but I'm taking Theresa on; the two of you can alternate; I know I talked to you about this before and we'll re-evaluate it again next year...etc."

Naturally, this had to do with me. I know there's a paralegal/legal secretary named Theresa who is very, very good and while I thought she was happy in her present job; I know she moves around a lot and her name comes up frequently when the firm with whom we share space is looking for help. So my stomach plummetted, because I have a lot of expenses coming up; I want to redo my upstairs entirely; I have plans to buy french doors for my living room; I have a two week vacation at the beach planned in September; Julie's college tuition which always includes extras for me to pay....oh my god, I went into shock. So I sat at my desk paralyzed for an hour, thinking about my options. Working part-time would be amazing; it would allow me to write and have a consistently clean house. But it would also mean my salary would be cut in half at the worst possible time. Could I afford it? Then I started thinking about how difficult the work is now and if I were making half of my salary, would I still want to deal with it or would I rather just go temp somewhere and make the same money without any stress? Plus, and this is the worst aspect, I've worked at my job for decades and my computer contains a lot of highly personal stuff (well, a lot of my short stories and things I work on during my lunch hour and before work, etc.) and my desk is a mess, also stuffed with my private belongings. It would literally take me two months to clear my hard drive and clean up my "mess". The idea of sharing my workspace with another woman sent my blood running cold.

Anyway, after almost giving myself a stroke, my boss strolls in and I decide to immediately confront him with this so that he couldn't hit me with it first. I notice he covered up the legal tablet with files as soon as he walked in and then got on the phone. I sat there and sweated for another hour until he was free. I walk in his office and blurt out "Is there something you want to tell me?"

He stares at me like I'm crazy.

"Look, Craig, I never snoop on your desk but you sent me in here and I saw the notes on the tablet."

"What tablet, Robin? What are you talking about?"

"The one on your desk under all of those files!"

He digs it out and starts laughing.

"What's so funny?"

"This is about hockey. Theresa is my assistant hockey coach. I am putting her in to share duties with another one of the moms because she has more time and energy."

Oh my god. I was so mortified and worse, I also let him see my fear about being downsized. I let him see it BIG TIME.

I even made him feel my hands, which were like giant frozen ice blocks, and trust me, neither Craig nor I are touchy feely and for me to do that, I was out of my head with paranoia.

Anyway, to his credit, he laughed and ripped the paper up in shreds, saying he talked to the other mom who coaches about Theresa last night; she was upset, and that he was tearing it up because this whole thing already caused him enough angst with her (Craig is really a nice guy; it's not his fault the legal business is so crappy these days) and that he didn't need me upset, too.

So that was yesterday.

But hey, I have a story about to be published in Slow Trains! Hahahahaha - sorry to repeat it again, but Slow Trains Literary Journal is a top tier lit publication and I'm feeling a lot less sorry for myself all of a sudden.

Monday, June 27, 2005

From the lips of keyboardist Chris Opperman: Eric Slick - 19 year old drum phenom!

Sorry, I know I just posted this pic from Guitarmageddon but I love it and I'm still waiting for the Guitarmageddon info so no sense letting the photo go to waste...

Anyway, as I previously broadcasted, my son Eric, who is 18, not 19 (arghh...please don't make him grow up any faster, Chris), has a gig in NYC at the Lion's Den on July 9 with members of Project Object and Chris Opperman, Steve Vai's keyboardist.

Here is what we received from Chris' mailing list today, and how cool is this!

Sent: Mon, 27 Jun 2005 3:05:58 AM Eastern Daylight Time
Subject: [Chris Opperman] Oppy Takes Manhattan Saturday, July 9th
[Chris Opperman Mailing List - Monday, June 27th, 2005]
Episode #41: Oppy Takes Manhattan
Order now at
Mailing list entires archived at

* Oppy @ The Lion's Den in NYC, Saturday, July 9th @ 9:30 PM
* "Beyond the Foggy Highway" Preview on MySpace
* Belgian Review of "Concepts of Non-linear Time"

* Oppy @ The Lion's Den in NYC, Saturday, July 9th @ 9:30 PM

Opperman will be making his debut New York City performance in front of over 100 of his biggest fans on July 9th with the debut of the East Coast version of his band SPECIAL OPPS featuring several members of legendary Frank Zappa cover band Project/Object as well as a graduate from Paul Green's School of Rock ( They will be performing a long set consisting of fan favorites from all of Opperman's albums including the upcoming SPECIAL OPPS studio album as well as selected compositions by two of Opperman's mentors, Steve Vai and Mike Keneally.

The band will feature Chris Opperman on piano, Andre' Cholmondeley on electric guitar, Jeff Paitchell (from Opperman's hometown of Clifton, NJ) on guitar, Jordan "J-Ro" Shapiro on keyboards, Dave Johnsen on bass guitar, and 19 year-old phenom Eric Slick on drums.

"I realize that some of you have been waiting 7 years for this concert and that some of you are traveling long distances and planning your vacations around this event. I just want you to know that the band and myself are just as excited about this concert and this music as you are and that we are going to have one hell of a music party. It is an honor and a privilege to finally be able to bring this music home and we will all be playing like we've never played before. Get ready to have a great time!"

To order your tickets, go to The show is 18+ and tickets are $10 each.

* "Beyond the Foggy Highway" Preview on MySpace

Last week, mastering engineer Scott Chatfield burned the final master for Opperman's fourth album, "Beyond the Foggy Highway." Also, local LA artist T.J. Moore completed two paintings for the artwork. Once the graphic design phase is completed and the mechanical licenses are signed, the album will be sent to the manufacturing plant and will be showing up in your mailboxes! Currently, there is an exclusive preview up on at which features 4 of the compositions on the album. At 65 minutes, it clocks in as Opperman's longest effort to date and includes 17 songs which feature all of his Los Angeles ensembles from 2002-2004.

The album can be pre-ordered from All pre-orders will be individually signed and numbered and will include a unique one-of-a-kind sketch on the CD face by Chris Opperman.

* Belgian Review of "Concepts of Non-linear Time"

by Peter Van Laarhoven of Vosselaar, Belgium for United Mutations

"Concepts of Non-linear Time" is Chris Opperman's latest album. Or as the liner notes say: "This album is dedicated to everyone who has player or performed my music in the past, present and future."

This is one great album. It's contemporary, modern music, combining very fine compositions with superb playing. If you are familiar with Opperman's previous albums, you will probably be glad to hear that the grand piano still is the main instrument on this album. Chris' playing is astonishing. Just listen to "The Saddle Ranch" where he (and Mike Keneally) will take you for a rodeo ride, using various rhythmic and melodic elements. Beautiful.

My favourite tracks are "The Walls are Coming Down" and "Dora's Aura," both featuring excellent vibraphone work by Ben Adams. Mini-Moog fans on the other hand (and who isn't one) will be glad to hear that Marc Ziegenhagen is also present. He does some rather psychedlic things on "Reviving Aeris." Highly recommended.

Friday, June 24, 2005


Rock School has climbed in the box office ratings from #53 last week to #35 this week! They haven't updated the box office numbers yet as far as profits but watch this space!

I knew this would happen. They just need to give it a chance and let the word of mouth travel. I know I intend to see it again this weekend - but then again, I can never get enough of watching Julie and Eric on the big screen.

And I'm waiting on the Guitarmageddon info promised yesterday - should have it later today.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Guitarmageddon 2005

The Rock School Hall of Famers/All-Stars at 2005 Guitarmageddon in Hollywood last Saturday.

...more to follow

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Real quick - great news

Yay! Rock School has been extended at least another week (through June 30) at the Ritz Five!

Proud mother moment - Eric Slick rules!

The Rock School All-Stars at CBGB's following the NYC premiere of the movie
(and of course that's my son, Eric, in the black suit and sunglasses)

Pump up the volume: A crass course in rock
Sunday, June 19, 2005
Staff Writer

Before Paul Green even enters the room, you can hear him screaming from the floor above. Loudly. As loudly as any rock fan in any rock arena attending any rock concert ever screamed.

On the walls of Paul Green's School of Rock Music in Philadelphia there are lots of photos of him screaming. There are posters and reminders and mementos as well. But mostly there are photos of Green screaming.

The first time Green saw Don Argott's modest documentary "Rock School," he hated it because he thought he came off looking like a jerk. "Jerk" is not the word Green uses. He uses an expletive, just as he does in the film that illustrates his unorthodox method for teaching children ages 9 to 17 how to become rock stars.

"I tell my students, `Rock 'n' roll is sex, drugs and booze, and then there's the down side,' " Green jokes, a wicked smile spreading across his face.

He is 32, his conversation a mixture of arrogance and brutal honesty. He gives the impression he doesn't like being sized up, that despite his bravura, he really does give a damn. And that he is ambitious.

He'a whirling dervish in a three-story Philadelphia building only months from being razed to make room for the city's new convention center. There's already been one movie inspired by him - the well-received Jack Black feature "School of Rock," a movie Green denounces in a hail of obscenities.

"We're a formal music school," Green insists. "We have 180 kids, 40 percent of them female. Some of our teachers are former students."

As Green explains in "Rock School," he doesn't coddle students. Instead he tells them off, urges them to leave if they don't like the pressure and is honest enough to admit that he worries some might learn to be better guitarists than he is.

"Talent is a funny word," Green says. "Let 'em have fun."

The curriculum includes Led Zeppelin, Frank Zappa and you name it - complete with encouragement to shake a long head of hair, if that's what it takes. Student shows take the place of written exams.

Forty-five minute private lessons on a student's instrument of choice and three-hour weekly rehearsals help the aspiring musicians prepare for the performances, which take place at places such as Philadelphia's Trocadero rock club.

Is CJ Tywoniak, the 15-year-old sitting next to Green on a worn couch, a better guitarist than he is?

"No," Green answers, quickly, as CJ nods in silent agreement.

Is CJ, so prominently featured in "Rock School" and so obviously talented, Green's best student?

"No," Green replies, just as quickly and, once again, the quiet, long-haired teen nods modestly in agreement.

That title falls to Eric Slick, a drummer, who later saunters into Green's aerie on Race Street near 13th Street. He makes a series of cell-phone calls as Green is promoting the movie on his school.

-- -- --

When CJ told his mom, Monique Lampson, that he wanted to attend Green's rock school, an hour's drive from their Downingtown, Pa., home three years ago, "we did not just drop him off here," she explains.

"I went with him. It took a solid year before I felt comfortable with it," says Lampson. "He clearly found his talent - and he's not about drugs, but he is interested in the girls."

What sold Lampson on Green's school was how her son reacted after he met Green.

"My son said something really poignant," Lampson recalls. "He said, `It scares me to death to do this and that's why I have to do this.' "

Anyone can enroll in the school. Students don't have to know how to play an instrument or read music, but they have to be willing to learn, because if there's one thing Green can't stand it's "waste of potential."

As Green asserts in "Rock School," "I can teach anything."

Green is vague about how much it costs to attend one of his schools, which are scattered around the country, but mentions there are scholarships.

With area schools already in operation in Cherry Hill and Huntingdon Valley, Pa., Green says he's thinking of opening another in Trenton or Princeton.

Green was studying philosophy at the University of Pennsylvania and planning a career in law when his love of music intruded. He opened his Philadelphia school in 1998 and suggests that his recent move to New York, where he has another branch, is proof of how good business is.

"I spend two days a week here and two days there," he explains as he sits in a worn pair of shorts and a black T-shirt. Formality isn't something Green seems to practice and he's as antsy as a child.

Capturing Green and his school on film couldn't have been easy for Argott, considering the restlessness of the teacher's nature and the narrow corridors of the facility.

"It's as fair a representation of his character as you can do in 90 minutes," director Argott says of "Rock School," which is opening slowly across the country.

A self-proclaimed "workaholic" who sometimes works from 4 a.m. to 8 p.m., Green has a simple answer for anyone who asks what it is about rock music that lures men in particular.

"Why does the male peacock have bigger feathers?" he asks.

As stated, the photo at the top of this post is from an article which appeared about the kids performing at CBGBs following the NYC Rock School premiere and it appeared in the June 6, 2005 edition of Variety. I've been trying to access it by applying for a temporary free subscription, etc. but it's not working. If anyone has it, please send it to me because it looks like it might be a good review of the kids' performance.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The New Yorker Loves Rock School and Oh, Oh, it's ken*again!

Issue of 2005-06-27
Posted 2005-06-20
A new documentary by the first-time filmmaker Don Argott, about the Paul Green School of Rock Music, in Philadelphia. Green takes a position of zero condescension toward his students, ages nine to seventeen—demanding a lot, loudly and profanely voicing his displeasure when they fall short. He can be a self-serving, if self-aware, pain in the ass, but there’s some topnotch comedy material in his rants. The film follows the students as they prepare for a Frank Zappa festival in Germany, tackling some of the most difficult and sophisticated music in the rock canon. Beyond the chords and the rhythms, Green’s method is about imbuing the kids with a confident look-at-me attitude. The finale at the Zappa festival is not only a musical triumph but also tremendously moving.—Ken Marks (Lincoln Square and Village Theatre VII.)

So I see that review was written by "Ken" Marks, and therefore, this must be Happy Ken day in my life because in other news, I have a new short story published today in the summer issue of ken*again

(and yeah, yeah, I don't know what those two fingers are hiding, either, since it's common knowledge Ken has no genitalia. I figured this out when I was a kid, undressed him, and taped him to a naked Barbie in hopes she'd get pregnant and provide me with a Midge or Skipper doll but, you know, that, too, ended up being just another childhood fantasy shot to hell...)

Anyway, Happy Ken Day to all! And as you can see, Ken and Barbie are apparently eternal optimists...

Monday, June 20, 2005

Guitarmageddon 2005 and the death of an old friend

So Julie and Eric were in L.A. all weekend as the opening act for Guitarmageddon, a yearly contest sponsored by Guitar Center, which is basically the national championship for young guitarists who win at the local branches at the store, etc. It was held at the Wiltern, pictured above, a magnficent, historic building in Hollywood.

They had a blast but are totally exhausted - it was an eight hour flight each way because they had to change planes in places like Pittsburgh, PA and Charlotte, NC and on the way home...gulp...the fucking airline lost their guitars and Julie's Rickenbacker bass. Am I having heart failure? You betcha. Readers of this blog might remember that bass as the one I bought for her in NY for Christmas this year, right after which I had the great panic attack of 2004 in NY's Chinatown while awaiting a non-existent bus to get home. Also missing are C.J. Tywoniak's custom guitar and Teddi Tarnoff's one of a kind Telecaster. We are under the impression from the airline that these axes might very well be on their way to Germany right now because apparently that's where the plane was headed after the kids had their layover in Charlotte.

This is amazing to me. In these times of so-called stringent security, where everything has to be labelled and checked ninety times; how the fuck did they lose three giant guitars in cases. I'm trying not to freak out because Julie is still calm and thinks this will have a happy ending; not me; I'm busy looking for the receipt and wondering who is going to ultimately pay for this - the airline, my insurance company, or what. I am not happy. And this is right on the heels of my recent bout with airport security where I was body searched and had the contents of my suitcase dumped...I haven't written about that too much in this blog because it's currently a short story in the works...let's just say it includes something pretty funny/embarrassing that the attendants pulled out of my suitcase in front of 10 hysterically laughing kids. And airport security who were kind enough to point out where on my ticket it said I was flagged for a total search...I guess so I can alert my fellow "terrorists"? Forgive me if I am repeating myself here...I'm in no mood to go back and check all of my prior posts.

Anyway, luckily C.J.'s mom was with them on the plane and has all the airline contact info and supposedly once they locate the guitars (and bass) they will ship them to her house. Fingers crossed.

Anyway, I have to admit - for once I didn't live on line while they were away this weekend; I actually cleaned my house. Yep, it was time for that every five year event, and I found things I thought I lost, found things I wish I'd lost, found things I didn't know I ever had, etc. So at least I was productive. I wasn't in writing mode -- I had a queasy feeling about their trip this time, not knowing of course about the lost instruments. I read there were five earthquakes on the west coast this week and I was a little uneasy that they were there and I was unable to concentrate. So I figured physical activity would take my mind off things.

It didn't, but at least I have a temporarily clean house. I say temporarily, because I know me, I know my kids. Within two days, we'll be back to square one. I'll be late for work looking for a lost shoe; a CD out of its case on the floor will crack under someone's sneaker, an appointment will be missed. I'm willing to bet on it.

In other news, I wasn't going to write about this but I find my fingers flying on the keyboard so I'm gonna do it. I'm really sad today because an old acquaintance suddenly passed away. As anyone who knows me is aware, I worked for Larry -- a wonderful, incredible attorney for over two decades who was not just my boss -- I consider him one of my best friends and he is definitely the only real mentor I've ever had. Probably the only person I've ever respected 100 per cent...I mean, I never question one of his decisions and even if I don't always immediately agree with advice he gives me, I always end up coming around because he's so fucking wise. He broke my heart by retiring three years ago but he was approaching seventy and it was time, even though I was in complete denial that it would ever really happen. Anyway, his very best friend was a doctor named Mike Avallone with whom our office also did business and he'd call Larry every day and Mike and I would joke around a lot before I'd put the call through...of course once Larry retired, I lost all of his friends, too. I opened up the newspaper this morning and saw Mike's obituary and just about lost it. I know this is all part of getting older and I've said it before, the hardest part about it is that change occurs so fucking rapidly and there's not a thing we can do to stop it but it sure doesn't make it any easier to handle. I emailed Larry's daughter because I'm still too emotional to call him...afraid if I do it now from the office (I'm on my lunch hour) I'll break into tears but of course I'm afraid I'll cry even worse from home. Larry's daughter told me Mike had diabetes and a pacemaker in his heart but still snuck donuts (he was a jovial, dangerously rotund fellow) and was on Cumadin for his condition. Even though he'd just seen a cardiologist and was told he was doing well, he took a bad fall on Tuesday and the Cumadin caused terrible bleeding in his brain which basically killed him but he was on life support for a few days until the EKG confirmed no activity in his brain and that was that.

So the end of another era for me. I feel kind of paralyzed by the news and I thought maybe writing about it here would make me feel better and more prepared to call Larry but I find myself crying at the moment so...


Friday, June 17, 2005

Queer Eye meets Rock School; also news on a Monkee and a Monkeybicyle

Yes, it's true. A small group of Rock School All-Stars and Hall of Famers, namely, my son Eric and daughter Julie, Teddi Tarnoff, Madison Flego, Stevie Roberts, and C.J. Tywoniak were in New York City last night to play a gig for Queer Eye for the Straight Guy which will be seen later this year on the Bravo Network. The show's makeover contestant was someone from Donald Trump's Apprentice.

Anyway, the kids had an absolute blast; a representative from Gibson Guitars was there and laid all kinds of cool equipment on them including a silver Les Paul; they also got incredible goody bags which contained everything from cookbooks to CDs to poetry books to exotic lavender laundry detergent in a wine bottle; the fellows from Queer Eye were super nice and friendly to Julie, Eric and company and heaped loads of praise on them for their performance (Black Magic Woman, You Really Got Me, and Barracuda); and here's the best part that totally cracked me up: At the end of the evening, the producer for Queer Eye approached Eric with her business card -- apparently she wants him to be the next makeover candidate for the show. Ha! Like Eric would let anyone touch his shoulder length hair or fuck with his nifty thrift store seventies' wardrobe. Not to mention that my son is far too hip for a T.V. show -- he's more excited about playing with Chris Opperman (Steve Vai's keyboardist) and Andre from Project Object at the Lion's Den in NYC on July 9 and of course I'll be talking about that a lot more as the gig draws closer.

In attendance at the star-studded show was none other than --

No, no, not Sir Paul, but Mickey Dolenz of the Monkees! Ha!

And while I'm on the subject of Monkeys, I have a one sentence story, which, if you know me, is damn near impossible so it's more like a one sentence novella, in this week's edition of Monkeybicycle.
I have lusted after being in Monkeybicyle for two years so I am now vindicated and very happy - it's one of my favorite 'zines. Now. To crack into Eyeshot. Hahahaha - no chance of that; Lee (the editor) hates my writing and once threatened to beat me up and I'm not sure he was kidding. Man, they have a really jerked off way of letting you know your work is rejected. Instead of a standard form letter or the contemptible but becoming more and more common practice of ignoring submissions they don't like altogether (meaning, editors from other magazines who shall remain nameless) Lee sends you an email with a link with your story in the subject line. So, if you are like me and tend to get overly optimistic, you think you're going to click on the link and see your story posted in Eyeshot. Wrong. The link takes you to an obnoxious rejection letter. So I'll never submit to him again, and I hope some day I have a best seller and he asks me for something so I can say Screw you, fuckwit. (as if - meaning, I am probably the biggest wimp in the universe. But in theory...)

Anyway, that's the news for now. Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Rock School at the Troc - Part II

Hahahahaha - I'll let this blog entry speak for itself:

Nightvision (Philadelphia Weekly - June 15-21 edition)

Matt Rothstein, 18, Madi Diaz, 19, and Eric Slick, 18

by Emily Brochin

What do you do for a living?

MR: "I work at the School of Rock in Downingtown. I'm basically the bitch there."
MD: "I'm a student at the Berklee College of Music in Boston."
ES: "I'm a drum teacher at the Paul Green School of Rock Music and a drummer for a band, Flamingo."

Describe what you're wearing.

MR: "I'm wearing my Urban Outfitters shirt-which I'm not proud of. And my Gap jeans. And bright green Nikes."
MD: "Jeans. Underwear. A black shirt and a scarf that I got from Rome. And feather earrings."
ES: "I'm wearing my dad's 1973 velvet blazer from a wedding or something, and new white shoes from somewhere on Second and Market. And $6 Walgreens sunglasses."

What are you up to tonight?

MR: "I'm going to be playing 'The Lemon Song' by Led Zeppelin."
MD: "I'm at the Troc watching my brother play Slayer."
ES: "Playing some Led Zeppelin songs. And a bad Queen song."
In case anyone doesn't know this already, Matt Rothstein, featured above with my son, is my daughter Julie's boyfriend and also in the movie -- he has much shorter hair there (well, so does Eric) and is the one who has the line "Paul says I suck -- I practice and practice and he still says I suck". Or something like that.

Interestingly enough, Emily, who wrote the above article and was kind enough to send me the link with the photo, also reviewed Rock School the movie in last week's edition of Philly Weekly and I'm pasting it below:

Kids Rock

There's no stopping the Paul Green juggernaut.

by Emily Brochin

Paul Green is on the brink. The documentary about his school of rock music, Rock School, is garnering critical acclaim. He's opened eight other branches in addition to his original one in Philadelphia. He even has his own T-shirts.

But today Green doesn't want to talk about the movie. Or the kids. He wants to talk about Werner Herzog, whom he worships.

"I used to have a class in the basement called Philosophy for Ungrateful Teenagers," he says on the phone from a radio studio where he's just done an interview. "We used to have movie night where I'd show more accessible movies-things I thought they should see. I tried to show them Fitzcarraldo. They didn't go for it. But they liked Reservoir Dogs a lot."

Fitzcarraldo is a fitting metaphor for Green's mission. In the film the protagonist tries to build an opera house deep in the Brazilian jungle by carrying a riverboat over a mountain.

Green has charged himself with an equally daunting task: to corral hundreds of kids and teach them the lost art of rock 'n' roll. Ultimately, Fitzcarraldo managed to build his opera. And Green managed to build his rock school.

The Paul Green School of Rock Music began in 1998 when its foun-der started orchestrating weekly jam sessions among his private music students.

After seven years Green has his kids' ensemble performances down to a science. Teachers pick a theme centered around a performer or genre (for example, Queen teaches harmony, and punk rock teaches kids stage presence) and assign kids pieces according to their abilities. For the most part, the musicians are pretty advanced-as was obvious at the school's scholarship fundraiser at the Trocadero last Friday.

The Troc was packed with kids, parents and various musical instruments, and it exuded a potent mixture of adrenaline and sexual tension. Everyone was dressed up-some sporting ties, others carefully Aqua-netted mohawks and lots of eye makeup.

The upstairs was commandeered by the parents. (It's not only where the bar is, but where you can get the best shots with a camcorder.)

When a group of tow-headed kids took the stage and began to play "You Shook Me All Night Long," it seemed a little ludicrous at first. But then the singer opened his mouth, and a miniature version of Brian Johnson emerged. And the lead guitarist ripped off his shirt and started spinning on the floor while shredding.

The crowd went wild.

"I just hope the kids really want great things for themselves," Green says. "I tell them to look at their parents and how many of them are miserable in their jobs. And I hope they lay the groundwork and find what they want to do and then work hard and don't give up and all that corny stuff."

Green's statement rings true. How many of the dads here-in loosened ties, surrounded by other parents getting tanked-would gladly trade places with their kids?

Critics charge that Green's pedagogy in Rock School is, well, unusual. If a kid isn't giving it his all, Green will drag it out of him-whether by shame, force or a combination of the two.

"What's worse: me yelling at them, or them getting up onstage and not knowing their songs?" Green says.

It's certainly not the kind of education President Bush advocates in No Child Left Behind, but it's yielded real results. The kids are engaged and passionate. They've shared stages with some of the biggest names in music. Graduates have gone on to attend music conservatories, or remained at the school to teach.

And somewhere between the swearing, the throwing things, the hugs and the actual teaching, Green provides an education that'll forever affect his students' lives.

Watching the students onstage, it's clear Paul Green has built a new army-with guitars, not guns-to defend the future of America.

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'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) 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, 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

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.

Track Listing:
1) Black Magic Woman
2) I Want to Be Sedated
3) School's Out
4) Barracuda
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
Hits: 72
Language: english
And finally, the next three appear at 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

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!
World Music
CD Universe
Tower Records

Monday, June 13, 2005

Latest news...

Okay, here's the article on the shooting at tne North Star Bar last night - don't know how accurate this is:

Man, 20, is shot, wounded outside Fairmount club


A man was shot and critically wounded last night outside the North Star Bar, a popular music venue at 27th and Poplar streets in the Fairmount section.

Police said two men in their early 20s were seen running from the bar after the shooting at about 10 p.m. Police said the victim staggered back into the bar and was conscious while he waited for police to arrive.

Police arrived before an ambulance and the victim was taken to Hahnemann University Hospital in a patrol car. He was reported in critical but stable condition.

A police officer explained that cops feared he had a "sucking wound," a dangerous internal injury, and they didn't want to wait for an ambulance.

Witnesses said there had been no visible wound on the man, and no blood on the sidewalk.

Keith DeFeo, 33, manager of the bar, said that there had been some kind of altercation outside the nightspot but that he did not know the nature of it.

All he knew about it, he said, was that someone bumped someone else and it escalated from there.

Employees in the club indicated that the victim, who was not immediately identified, did some work in the bar but was not a full-time employee.

The club featured musical entertainment last night and stayed open after the shooting.
So as I said, what a night. Great music, and a very strange and hopefully not too tragic ending.
This is a crazy week for the kids (and me). Well, I'm the most nauseous; I have to go back to work today after missing all of last week with my bad back. What sucks the most about this is that it's a one woman office and if I'm not there, it's trouble. My biggest concern is that all of the files with which I work are huge accordian numbers, heavy and bulky, and I'm terrified of throwing my back out again. I think this is nature's way of telling me to throw in the towel after all these years. I'm tired, burnt out, and now I'm physically sick as well. I just want to write full time, but unfortunately, I have to figure out a way to maintain my high life style without money first. Ha.

But in Julie and Eric world, things are awesome. Right now they are both in New York City, about to appear on Channel 11 on the WB network to promote Rock School. They will do a song around 8:50; field some questions, then do another song, so if anyone reading this is in the NY area (and if you have a videotape and can send me a copy!), you can see these amazing musicians for yourself.

Thursday, Eric and a few other Rock School All-Stars will be in New York again to play a big party for Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Apparently, Donald Trump will be there -- they are going to do a makeover of one of the Apprentice stars. Eric will probably be home god knows what time Friday morning; then he has a gig with Flamingo at the Fire in Philly, one of my favorite live venues here. Then, both Eric and Julie hop a plane at dawn the next day (Saturday) for L.A. where they will be playing Guitarmageddon (ha!) at the Wiltern at 7:00 p.m. that night. No hotel, they take a six hour flight back to Philly right after the show.

After that, Julie starts interning at Studio Four Records, Eric has a million gigs -- one of which is a very interesting private gig where he's going to drum for Steve Vai's keyboard player July 9 at the Lion's Den in New York; he has a lot more Flamingo gigs; then in mid July there are three concerts planned for Indre Studios as a warm up for the summer tour which I believe starts July 21 through August 2. Then they leave for Germany for the Zappa fest.

Oh god, I need a PDA for all of this.

Yeah, right.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

So Eric Slick of Flamingo, Atlas et al play the North Star and the bouncer gets shot!

Eric, Joey Randazzo, and Teddi Tarnoff at the L.A. premiere of Rock School

Oh my god. Just got back from the North Star Bar where I heard an unbelievable set by War's End, my son's band, Flamingo...and then..when his dad went out for a cigarette break right before Atlas took the stage, he was told we were in a lock down...the bouncer...the guy who took our ticket shot while my son was on stage playing.

They had us in said lock down; there were nine million police cars, every news station...arghhhh.....what a way to end an evening of unbelievably fantastic music.

I hope the guy's okay...I guess I'll be watching us all on the news in a few minutes.

But let me say this: All three bands are incredible. Each very different, each with amazing stage presence and musicianship...and I am so freaking proud to be associated with these kids. What really touched me were the parents who came out...whose kids aren't even in the three bands that played...Stevie Roberts' mom and dad, Joe and Kate; a lovely English woman whose name I can't remember but her young son was in Jesus Christ Superstar with Eric.

There's no jealousy, no competition between these three bands. They cheer each other on; when Haffie's guitar went out of tune during a Flamingo number, Jeremy (of Atlas) handed him his; in the meantime, Louie, who isn't in any of the three bands, tuned Haffie's guitar and jumped back on stage to hand it to him a few minutes later.

It's just a beautiful, beautiful thing to see (and hear!).

Again, I know I'm getting old with this, but I know who I have to thank for this, and I wish I could say it was me (ha), but it's not - it's Paul Green.

What an amazing night of music by his All-Stars out on their own.
Holy crap - just watched the news. The bouncer is in critical condition, fighting for his life. Oh my god....

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Rock School at the Ritz Five

Okay, the good news is that there were really great crowds at the Ritz Five in Philadelphia to see Rock School last night. But it wasn't a sell out, and we need to do that tonight and tomorrow. Here's a direct link to buy tickets on line in advance. You merely click on the time you want to see the movie and it'll take you right to the ticket office.


Also, if you are in NY tonight, you can do a doubleheader. See the movie, then head over to the Knitting Factory to see three most excellent bands made up of students/graduates of the Paul Green School of Rock performing all original music.

The bands are:

(1) War's End - featuring Rock School great Joey Randazzo a/k/a Joey Reno
(2) Flamingo - featuring Julia Rainer, Eric Slick, Andrew Haff, Matt Manser, and Dan Nitz
(3) Atlas, featuring Jeremy Blessing, Dom Malandro, Brandon King, and Max DiMezza

This same trio will do a repeat performance tomorrow night at the North Star bar and you can get tickets here.

I wish I could make the NY gig tonight but the back still kills though I am going to do everything possible to make the movie tonight at the Ritz Five and the North Star gig.

Long live rock and all that...

Friday, June 10, 2005

Out of bed for Rock School!

Marky Ramone and the Collins kids at CBGBs following the NYC premiere of Rock School.

Even though I can't sit at this desk more than a few minutes due to my fucking bad back, I had to come downstairs and make this post.

You might have read or heard via a news wire that Newmarket had decided to pull Rock School from all theaters after just one weekend due to slow sales.

Not true. The news of Rock School's death is greatly exaggerated.

My son, Eric, is helping out Don Argott today, distributing flyers to see the movie. Don, who is of course the director and producer of Rock School, told Eric that while the film has been pulled from some venues, it is still playing in selected theaters around the country but everything...and I mean everything...hinges on how well it does in Philadelphia this weekend. Unfortunately, it will not be playing at either the Neshaminy AMC or Loews, NJ but has an exclusive area showing at the Ritz Five. This family personally has recruited every friend, neighbor, and relative we have to come out to the Ritz this weekend and I know of other Rock School families who are doing the same. We need to all pull together and make this happen -- this is such a great film and it's been given no real advertisements at all. It's got to happen by word of mouth via the crowd in Philly. And of course the Ritz is by far the coolest movie theater in the tri-state area.

I mean, look at what critics all over the country are saying about Rock School:

"Two thumbs up!"
- Ebert & Roeper

"Headbanger and headmaster Paul Green is the real deal."
- Kevin Maynord, USA Today

"Makes Jack Black…look positively unplugged."
- Manohla Dargis, New York Times

"Immensely Entertaining!"
- Carina Chocano, The Los Angeles Times

"In this day of dummying-down and coddling students, it's refreshing to see a teacher push his students to levels of accomplishment they didn't think was possible."
- Duane Byrge, Hollywood Reporter

"Irresistibly entertaining and full of unique character portraits."
- Robert Koehler, Variety

"It's funny and moving to see this eccentric nugget of boomer virtuosity played by a generation that has absolutely no idea how weird it was."
- Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly

*** (out of 4)
- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

*** ½ (out of 4)
"Hilarious, inspired, frenzied"
- Allison Benedikt, Chicago Tribune

*** (out of 4)
"Ignore the ridiculous R rating. Mature children will enjoy this film and might be the perfect audience"
- James Verniere, Boston Globe

"Meet a pint size guitar prodigy, soccer moms 'without the soccer,' and international Zappa devotees - they're all here. And they all Rock. Invigorating!"
- Premiere Magazine

"Joyous and righteously entertaining. Rock School is required viewing"
- Lewis Beale, Film Journal International

"Love him or hate him, Paul Green is one of the best characters you will see in any film."
- Erik Childress, e-film critic

"Paul Green is so intense, he makes manic Jack Black look like a valium"
- Robert Philpot, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

"Plugged-in, and turned on."
- Ken Tucker, New York Magazine

"Highly Entertaining"
- Darren D'Addario, Time Out NY

"'Rock School' revels in moments of transcendent joy."
"'Rock School' celebrates music, family, hard work and yes, Paul Green."
- Jami Bernard, New York Daily News

"Deliciously Loud, Wildly Funny! Rock School is engrossing from its first shot to its final fade."
- Lisa Rose, NJ Star Ledger

"Raw and Funny"
- John Hartl, The Seattle Times

- Sean Axmaker, Seattle Post Intelligencer

**** (out of 4)
"Revealingly entertaining and raucous"
- Scott Galupo, The Washington Times

"Hilarious and charming"
- Melissa Levine, San Francisco Weekly/East Bay Press

**** (out of 5)
- Peter Hatlaub, San Francisco Chronicle

*** (out of 4)
- Michael O' Sullivan, San Francisco Examiner

Newmarket Films, who isn't really Newmarket anymore but now called Picturehouse Films, is demanding a retraction of this false story about Rock School's demise and as soon as it appears on line, I will post it here.

But in the meantime...ouch...back to bed...

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Another post by Eric Slick for ailing Robin Slick - A great review of our show in Seattle with Eddie Vedder and Ann Wilson!


Two Feet Thick, Pearl Jam for the Impassioned Fan
by LeAnn Mercer

The event: "Rock School Jam"
When: Wednesday, May 27, 2005
Where: Neumo's, Seattle, WA
Why: Showcase for Rock School Jam, a 90 minute live concert in conjunction the documentary Rock School being shown at the Seattle International Film Festival.
Who: School of Rock Music performers: Teddi Tarnoff, Julia Rainer, Madison Flego, Julie Slick, Eric Slick, CJ Tywoniak, Louis Graff, Larry Allen, Bryan Purcell, Joe Randazzo. Special guest Eddie Vedder on a couple of songs.
Setlist: Black Magic Woman, Rebel Yell, City of Tiny Lites, Pigs, Radiohead, Barracuda, Eruption/You Really Got Me, White Lines, Heart of the Sunrise, I Wanna Be Sedated (featuring Eddie), Corduroy (featuring Eddie), Rock Lobster, Lose Yourself.

Santana. Billy Idol. Grandmaster Flash. Pearl Jam. What do these artists have in common? The kids from The Paul Green School of Rock Music can cover them all.

It's Wednesday night at one of Seattle's cornerstone music venues, Neumo's - formerly, formerly Moe's Mo' Rockin' Cafe: the same place where Neil Young rocked with PJ as his backing band in 1995 and where Matt Cameron debuted as Pearl Jam's drummer in 1998. A group of students from the Philadelphia-based school took the stage to headline Rock School Jam, a concert affiliated with the Seattle International Film Festival. The live show accompanied a pair of screenings of Rock School, a documentary about classes held at the Paul Green School of Rock Music.

Opening with a cover of Santana's "Black Magic Woman," the band quickly shifted members, instruments, and tempo to follow with the Billy Idol anthem, "Rebel Yell." An abrupt style change brought "City of Tiny Lites" to life, showing the intricate fusion of rock, jazz and classical kitchen sink of Frank Zappa. While performances like these were proof enough of the group's collective and individual talents, their rock savvy was put to the test with guest appearances during the set by two of Seattle's Hall of Fame caliber rock royalty: Ann Wilson of Heart and Eddie Vedder. The hometown artists were warmly received by the sold-out, 21-and-over crowd, but it was the ten "underage" performers from Philly who stole the show. In an enthusiastic balance of talent and bravado, in groups of 5 or 6 at a time, the kids tore through songs that explored every genre of rock music, from Eminem to the B-52's. Siblings Julie and Eric Slick provided a tight, polished rhythm section on bass and drums (respectively) throughout the show. Louis Graff and virtuoso-in-training CJ Tywoniak (a crowd favorite) took turns handling lead guitar duties, with Tywoniak pulling off an exceptionally flawless rendition of Eddie Van Halen's "Eruption," before leading the band into "You Really Got Me," which also featured lead vocals by Madison Flego. Teddie Tarnoff proved to be an accomplished vocalist, turning out sultry performances well beyond her years, particularly on the Yes's song, "Heart of the Sunrise." Julia Rainer showed her considerable guitar and lead vocal abilities during a show-defining version of Pink Floyd's "Pigs," which included a scorching talk box guitar solo during the 10-plus minute song. Lanky Joe Randazzo strutted the stage during "White Lines," a Grandmaster Flash tune most likely written before anyone in this band drew their first breath of air.

Six songs deep into the evening, Paul Green - who spent the evening as the band's equipment tech, stage director, musical conductor, and emcee - introduced Ann Wilson, who joined the band for a hard edged, fast paced version of the Heart classic, "Barracuda." A few songs later, Green once again took the mic to present a man "as synonymous with Seattle as 'coffee'" Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam. An appreciative audience member called out Ed as "the Bob Dylan of Seattle," and Ed mused that he'd recently seen Dylan live but realized the moniker was "meant as a compliment," stirring the crowd to a ripple of laughter. Ed's wardrobe choice of a Johnny Ramone T-shirt telegraphed the first collaborative effort of Ed and the rock school musicians, pounding through "I Wanna Be Sedated," in perfect three-chord strokes. Ed introduced the next song, mentioning that he said he wasn't going to play it, but was told in no uncertain terms that he was going to play it and play it better than he ever had before. Ed promptly led the band into a skillful performance of "Corduroy," to close the main set of the show. At the end of the song, Ed eagerly exchanged high fives and hugs with the musicians, and remained onstage for a somewhat subdued but solid cowbell performance during "Rock Lobster." Will Ferrell ain't got nothin' on him. Afterwards, Ed sprang offstage and all 10 members of the school assembled to perform Eminem's "Lose Yourself," to close out the evening.

On Thursday morning, after the show, a publicist representing the school of rock musicians described Ed as being "very generous" with the students, making himself available to them offstage as well as on. As they departed for their flight home, the rockers in training enthused that Wednesday night's show was "one of their best performances," which I believe would be echoed by every audience member in attendance.
And a very cool review of the soundtrack posted today right here



Great "Rock School" Review:

This one is posted by Eric Slick for Robin, while she suffers from serious back spasms:
LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - "So you wanna be a rock 'n' roll star," the Byrds once cheekily sang. In Philadelphia, there's always been more of a path for rocker wannabees: Dick Clark used to plug and pump local talent on "American Bandstand," and now there's a guy in Philly who runs a school in how to become a rock star. The school's a bit unconventional as this kick-ass documentary on the Paul Green School of Rock Music shows. This release from Newmarket Films received a rousing ovation at Sundance earlier this year and such enthusiasm transposes to great word-of-mouth for "Rock School."

Great leaders or teachers know how to push their followers' buttons. Rock School founder Paul Green is a master of inspiration and, as this film shows, manipulation. A tyrant, an egomaniac, a master-blaster, Green essentially runs a musical boot camp. And the kids, who range from 9-17, love it. Green preens, badgers and inspires and at times seems the most immature "kid" in the room. But his musical madness is packed with method: Practice, practice, practice is his dictum. No Juilliard or Berklee instructor demands more. He's a pain in the butt, but the students, for the most part, keep coming back.

In this day of dumbing down and coddling students, it's refreshing to see a teacher push his students to levels of accomplishment they didn't think was possible. Like a piano teacher beginning with Bach and crescendoing toward Liszt, Green insists that they play the classics. In his mind, that means Frank Zappa, whose music degree of technical difficulty, represents to him the
Mount Everest of rock. No strummy three-chord players for Green. Leave that for the garage.

Director Don Argott's filming is attuned not just to the musical dynamics but, better yet, to the personal chords. We come to learn about the school not only through Green's histrionics but through the eyes and ears of five different students. They are a diverse mix, including a clinically depressed loner (Will), a defiant Quaker girl (Madi), 9-year-old angelic/satanic twins (Asa and Tucker) and a virtuoso lead guitarist (CJ).

"Rock School" rips out in the gritty-underdogs-conquer-the-world story progression. In this real-life scenario, Green whips them into shape for a triumphant performance at a Zappa Festival in Germany.

Cinematographer-director Argott has the technical virtuoso of a lead guitarist, while editor Demian Fenton is a combo bass guitarist, drummer with his pulsating pace.

Producers: Sheena M. Joyce, Don Argott; Director/director of photography: Don Argott; Editor: Demian Fenton.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

Monday, June 06, 2005

More Rock School!

Okay, in spite of mainly fantastic reviews from everyone from Rolling Stone to Roger Ebert, people did not exactly come out in droves to see the movie this weekend. This breaks my heart -- not because of my own kids -- but because this is a truly wonderful, wonderful documentary and deserves much better. Don Argott and Sheena Joyce did a brilliant job on this film; Paul Green is a hilarious, compelling subject; and the kids are magical. So I urge you all to see the movie and write reviews for sites like Rotten Tomatoes, Amazon, etc. so that Rock School gets the respect it deserves.

I have a lot more to say on the subject but unfortunately, I'm having the back spasms from hell combined with a low grade fever and can't sit at the computer any longer. I will try and be back this afternoon because I want to discuss the movie a lot more as well as some other stuff...

Like, the Rock School benefit Friday night; a cocktail party I attended on behalf of my friend, brilliant author Ellen Meister in honor of her new book (a lot more on that when I can sit here without feeling like blowing my brains out from pain)...and more on friends' reactions to the Rock School soundtrack.

Ack...the pain..........later.......

Friday, June 03, 2005

Tonight at the Troc: Paul Green School of Rock Best of the Season! And Rock School, the movie, premieres in selected cities!

Okay, first things first: Rock School, the movie, premieres in New York today as wll as other select cities, and here are the details below. Please go out and see this wonderful, wonderful film. It's like nothing you've ever seen and if you love music and want to laugh your ass off, this is a MUST SEE. And if you don't believe me, read what Roger Ebert has to say:'s where you can catch the film tonight:

Cine Arts 5 - Pleasant Hill, CA
Empire 3 - San Francisco, CA
Hyatt Cinema 3 - Burlingame, CA
Embarcadero 5 - San Francisco, CA
The Grove - Beverly Hills, CA
Arclight Cinemas - Hollywood, CA
The Crest Theatre - Westwood, CA
CineArts Sequoia - Mill Valley, CA
Monica 4 - Santa Monica, CA
Embarcadero Cinema - San Francisco, CA
Shattuck Cinemas - Berkeley, CA
Aquarius Theater - Palo Alto, CA
Santana Row - San Jose, CA
Camera 12 - San Jose, CA
Dupont - Washington, DC
Cantera 30 - Warrenville, IL
South Barrington 30 - S. Barrington, IL
Esquire 6 - Chicago, IL
Addison 20 - Addison, IL
Lincolnshire 20 - Lincolnshire, IL
Landmark Century Center Cinemas - Chicago, IL
Kendall Square - Cambridge, MA
Embassy Cinema - Waltham, MA
Bethesda Row Cinema - Bethesda, MD
Riverside 12 - Reno, NV
Loews Lincoln Square - New York, NY
Loews Village 7 - New York, NY
Angelika Film Center 5 - Plano, TX
Magnolia 5 - Dallas, TX
Shirlington 7 - Arlington, VA
Loews Meridian - Seattle, WA
Landmark Metro - Seattle, WA

Secondly, tonight at 8:00 p.m. at the Trocadero in Philadelphia - the best of the season benefit which not only showcases the finest songs and student performances from each of the spring shows from not only the Philadelphia branch of the School of Rock but the other branches as well, it provides scholarship money for those students unable to pay monthly tuition. So how cool is that!

It will be yet another bittersweet evening for me -- with my son, Eric, graduating Rock School after the summer tour, this is his very last Best of Show, and it's also the final show ever for two All-Stars -- keyboard great Allie Hauptman and bassist Matt Rothstein. I believe all of the other All-Stars about to graduate along with Eric will also hang around for the summer tour but if I've neglected anyone whose final show is tonight, please let me know and I'll edit this entry.

And to make it more enticing, throughout the evening, they will be showing clips from the movie!

So far with few exceptions the reviews rolling in for Rock School have been incredible. The only negative reviews I've read, and there are only a couple, don't have anything to say about the movie itself; they attack Paul because he's not politically correct. Gee, what a shame. (Sorry - besides words like "bling bling" and "closure", politcally correct and the people who are shackled by being so are my biggest pet peeve of this millenium). One critic went so far as to say he/she didn't see any comradery among the students. Ha! What movie did they watch? The comradery shines through...all you have to do is watch the kids in Germany on stage and see the smiles on their faces, everyone hugging. Why did none of these lovely critics bother to interview any of the kids themselves and ask them? Of course having gone extensively on tour with the All-Stars, I speak from experience. You've never seen such a tight knit group all with a common goal - to go out there and play their asses off because they want to, because they are focused, talented musicians...and Paul has provided them almost surreal opportunities. There are also a few critics who question that Paul has the kids playing classic rock and Zappa. Err...excuse me...but just because music isn't "new", does that mean it should be forgotten forever and shouldn't be learned and performed? So you're telling me students shouldn't study/perform Bach or Miles Davis?

Yikes, what a world. What the fuck has happened to common sense? And someone please tell me what music is out there right now that compares to Zep or Zappa or Hendrix? What, they should be playing the three chord dance bullshit forced down our throats by MTV?

When kids learn to play their instruments, they study the masters, and that enables them to go out and create their own music. Practically every one of Paul's All-Stars featured in the movie are now in bands of their own and writing just incredible original material which is complex and brilliant in nature. Does their Zappa and classic rock roots as taught to them by Paul show? You betcha! And the problem with that is?????

Sheesh. I reiterate. Soon you will see a slew of awe inspiring bands who will all credit Paul as their teacher. As Marky Ramone announced to the audience at CBGBs on Wednesday night (and Eddie Vedder and Jon Anderson both remarked to me last week) rock and roll is not dead...there is hope for the future.

Anyway, I can't wait to see a lot of you at the show tonight. It promises to be awesome and it's for a really great cause.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Last night in New York

Carlos Alomar on guitar (by the way, he's now President of the NY chapter of the Grammys...see post from yesterday for his creds), Jeremy Blessing, my son Eric on drums, Madi Diaz, and Max DiMezza.

...okay, I didn't get home until 2:00 a.m. last night, I had no sleep because I was so pumped from the NY premiere and after party at CBGBs, but a couple of things.

One, the movie Rock School is even better the second time - I saw a lot of stuff I missed at the first screening...(like I saw myself a couple of times in the audience in Germany and asleep on the plane next to my daughter, who looks like an angel while my mouth is wide open...yikes...)

Two, the after party was amazing. Performing were Madi Diaz on vocals, guitars and keyboards, my son Eric did all the drumming with the exception of I Wanna Be Sedated which brought out Marky Ramone on drums...and I know this is really going to embarrass Eric but Liz from Picturehouse Films told us that Marky did not shut up about Eric...he kept going on and on backstage that Eric is the best drummer he's ever heard in his life...and then ditto Carlos Alomar...Eric spent the night in NYC and we left him a message on his cell phone to tell him so I'm waiting for more news in that regard; also on stage and absolutely amazing: Guitarists Jeremy Blessing and C.J. Tywoniak; bass player Max DiMezza; vocalist and sax player Dom Malandro; and back up vocalists Madison Flego, Teddi Tarnoff, and the Collins family.

The NYC crowd went insane over both the movie and the concert. CBGBs was completely packed...the New York Grammy people issued invites, Newmarket issued invites, and everyone took them up on their offers and you couldn't even move in there. I did manage a lot more pictures but I am way too tired to deal with uploading them now so that'll have to wait until later today.

And finally, and this is totally awesome, we got the news that Roger Ebert and that other guy whose name I can never remember (it'll always be Siskel and Ebert to me) gave Rock School two thumbs up and you can watch their show on Sunday night in the Philadelphia area at 1:35 a.m. (arghhhhh...) on Channel 3.

Okay, somehow I have to drag my sorry ass to work now.

More later...

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Rolling Stone Magazine gives Rock School Three Stars out of Four

You cheered Jack Black in School of Rock, now give it up for Paul Green in the real thing. Green runs the Paul Green School of Rock Music in Philadelphia, and this fireball documentary from director Don Argott shows Green preaching the rock gospel to students ages nine to seventeen. "Dynamo" doesn't begin to describe Frank Zappa freak Green, who brings the cream of his crop to Germany to compete in the yearly Zappanale and makes believers of us all.

(Posted Jun 02, 2005)

Tonight: Rock School New York City premiere

Marky Ramone with Rock School All Stars Joey Randazzo, Eric Slick, and Grace Hollander.

Sooo...that's David Bowie's guitarist, Carlos Alomar, who will be performing with the Rock School All-Stars at CBGB's tonight following the premiere of Rock School in New York City tonight. My son, Eric, will be on drums behind Carlos on "Heroes" and "Fame". Think I'm a little excited? The rest of the set list is incredible as well but I'm not going to give it away -- I'll report back with a review tomorrow.

And on the drums tonight performing Ramones' hit I Wanna Be Sedated fresh off the Rock School soundtrack, Marky Ramone.

A brief history about guitarist Carlos Alomar -- he's played on more David Bowie albums than any other six stringer has (including Mick Ronson, who was perhaps the most identifiable with Bowie). In 1974, Alomar crossed paths with Bowie, who was interested in penning an album that explored dance/funk sounds of Philadelphia soul. The two hit it off, which would signal the beginning of a long and fruitful relationship between the singer and guitarist. 1975's classic Young Americans soon followed, as Alomar also helped co-write one of Bowie's biggest hits, "Fame," along with Bowie and John Lennon. It was also around this time that Alomar supposedly 'discovered' soul singer Luther Vandross, having him sing on Bowie's album, which ultimately led to a successful solo career of his own. Alomar quickly figured out that Bowie wasn't set on a single musical style for any period of time, as Alomar kept pace on such experimental and musically varied Bowie albums as 1976's Station to Station, 1977's Low and Heroes, 1979's Lodger, and 1980's Scary Monsters. The guitarist and Bowie also helped revive the career of punk icon Iggy Pop during this period, helping produce and co-write two of Pop's finest solo albums, 1977's The Idiot and 1978's Lust For Life.

So yep, I'm pretty excited about tonight.

In other news, I'm waiting for Eric to wake up because apparently he got in late last night and mumbled something about Rolling Stone giving Rock School three stars out of four. I don't know if he was talking about the movie or the soundtrack; if it's the soundtrack I don't know if specific kids' performances are mentioned or they just concentrate on the "names" like Ann Wilson, Jon Anderson, Billy Idol etc....arghhh...I'm so dying to wake Eric up but since he has the big NYC show tonight, I wouldn't dare.

I did see this very nice review of Rock School the movie this morning in the Seattle Weekly:

One of the principal ideas behind Don Argott's debut documentary, Rock School, is summed up in its first five minutes by an adorable, adenoidal little boy. Wearing an Angus Young–style shirt and tie, 9-year-old drummer Asa explains that "AC/DC's really easy, all you do is . . . , " then bangs out a beat that every AC/DC fan will immediately recognize. Rock music isn't rocket science, and the point is well-made by the students of Paul Green's irreverent Philadelphia-based music school. But Argott's film would be pretty one-note if all it did was show that elementary-school kids can play elementary riffs.

Fortunately, Rock School is really about relationships—primarily the ones between Green and his students (ages 9 to 17). And it's about how those relationships push young musicians past 4/4 rock rhythms, all the way to a Frank Zappa festival in Germany.

Anyone who has played in bands will recognize Green as that guy who always took it a tad too seriously. He confesses to having failed at the rock and roll dream of making it big, although he also says he'd only want to make it big if he could make it big in 1972. Still, it's clear that he's living out some vicarious fantasies through his students, but that would only be a problem if they weren't also having a genuinely good time and benefiting from his outside-the-box pedagogy.

Green's star pupils are C.J., a preternaturally talented preteen guitar player whom Argott paints as a mini Carlos Santana, and Madi, a high-school-aged Sheryl Crow–ish singer/songwriter who moonlights with the Friendly Gangsters, a Quaker rap group. Dry-ice clouds surround confident C.J. wherever he goes, while Madi needs—or does she?—cajoling, editing, and lots of direction from Green. Perhaps reminiscent of Jack Black in School of Rock, Green tells us he utilizes the kids' aptitude for learning without actually treating them like kids. You do get the sense that Green would scream and carry on with his shtick even with his mother.

Argott gets some narrative shape for his documentary as it culminates with the kids' big performance at the Zappa fest. Music fans will recognize that these particular students are beyond AC/DC; Zappa was a complex composer, and the students have expertly mastered his music. Even if you're not a Zappa fan, it's hard not to be thrilled by C.J.'s deft solo and Madi's slightly hesitant but bright smile when her band nails the toughest song of the festival.

You do worry about these kids, however—about their stars burning too bright too soon. Will they burn out or fade away while juggling their chores and homework? We'll have to wait for Rock School 2 to see. (R) LAURA CASSIDY


I like this review because she's got a better handle on what goes on at Rock School and she understands Paul and gets it. She also appreciates how Don Argott portrayed him. I was distressed by the review in the Village Voice because again, it was as if the critic was looking to attack Paul and totally missed the point that the kids are there because they want to be there; that he does bring out the best in them; and anyone who has spent time with this group of musicians on the road knows about the unique bond they have with each other and with Paul. Yeah, there's a lot of screaming but there's a lot more laughing and good times. Rock School is a family...and that's what families do. People who love each other also lose their tempers with each other. That's just the way life is. So some critics choose to focus on the negative and completely overlook the positive. Again, that's why they are critics and not artists.

Which would you rather be? No wonder some are, um....small minded and bitter.

But all anyone has to do is view the tape I have of Eddie Vedder singing with the Rock School All-Stars backstage in Seattle and you will see how much they love Paul, each other, and how much they love the music.

Getting back to this reviewer's comments where she worries about whether the kids will burn out/fade away....sure, some might, but that's the way it is. Many will go on to music college; I predict many will go on the road with their bands or be studio musicians - they're in it for the long haul. Actually, I think a good portion of Rock School graduates will go on to be major stars...and you're going to see a whole slew of them who make it and credit Paul Green. In any case, these kids have a life long love of music which will never fade or burn out and they'll pass that on to their kids and maybe there's some hope for the future of music after all...Britney and 50 Cent be damned.

Meanwhile, how about that Rock School soundtrack? I've played it for anyone who will listen; everyone who heard it yesterday is in awe. I had phone calls from relatives, friends...people are blown away.

Funny stage mother story here. I went, against all of my principles, to Tower Records to buy it because my son went into town earlier and said he couldn't find it at any of the indie stores. He said he couldn't find it at Tower, either, which I found impossible to believe. So I go to the store, and where do I fucking find it? In the same bin, under soundtracks, as "School of Rock". In other words, they just put it in the same exact place; no separate divider, nothing. What, did the salespeople just think it was the same Jack Black CD, new cover?

I complained and then stood there while the clerk changed it. No way was I leaving that store until it was fixed. Now. Where are the accompanying posters? Why isn't it getting special attention in "New Releases"? Trust me, I got on that, too.