Saturday, December 01, 2007

2 kool 4

The Portland Skool of Rock (whom I saw tonight open for Derrick Jensen of all people. That guy is a whole nother entry and change, one that would probably land me on some nasty lists and brand this blog as a hotbed of eco-terrorism).

Anyway, Portland Skool of Rock is an organization that gives private lessons to kids on how to play "rock music" and sets up performances of the cover band nature starring the school's best a brightest. It's like Jack Black and shit. I'll preface my spiel about them by saying that on one level you have to be a complete fucking hater to let any cynical negativity enter into the picture when what you're dealing with is basically a bunch of kids enjoying and expressing themselves through music.

BUT. On another level it's not quite all good with the PSoR. If you really do the knowledge on the whole scenario it starts to seem kinda lame for a few reasons. First, it teaches impressionable young people that "rock music" (whatever that fucking is, anyway) consists of X, Y and Z and is best played on expensive electric guitars and through more expensive amplifiers and effects racks. That, of course, is a sucky thing to present to a kid. One made doubly sucky because it robs that kid of the much more illuminating experience of slowly and painfully arriving at the realization that their janky, starter pack guitars and drumsets played in a concrete basement with 7 foot ceilings aren't gonna sound like a Green Day album. True, getting that straightened out when you're thirteen doesn't afford you the opportunity to play rockstar in front of bunch of college kids and your video-ing ass parents, but it does expose to you the glaring disparity between real music and fake music right from the jump. It might even open up your eyes to the awesome transformative powers of the recording studio and land your future self in a degree program of some kind.

Second, there's a fucking old guy hella up there the whole time.
Not to just put on my union suit and become Mr. Punk Rock Old Guy at 19, but I was doing the same Dead Kennedys covers when I was those kids age but in a majorly different context (which is, of course, everything). My parents weren't sending me to rock and roll fantasy camp every week to be told what songs to play by the director of my "rock school". Instead me and bunch of other 7th graders were booking our own shows, practicing every day after school entirely of our own volition, writing our own songs and generally doing the damn thing our own selves. We were teaching ourselves the rudiments of sustaining an artistic community as apposed to nailing a sick AC/DC cover. The two are near polar opposites.

Last, and maybe most important, the kids in the Portland Skool of Rock were not playing music to or for their peers. The songs in their set alternated between regular shitty 70's classic rock, hair metal and alternative radio hits, none of which anyone on stage (besides the aforementioned old guy) was alive to witness. They were working within someone else's conception of a band and playing songs their parents or older siblings were meant to enjoy. Impressing your relatives and older cool kids is definitely a part of a growing performers life, but that's what jazz band is for.

When you play for your friends they g e t m a d i n s p i r e d. Then you get more inspired. Then you all up the punks. Then everyone starts pushing their own individual artistic imprint in a million fascinating ways and you're all glad to have put in your years with the DIY army instead of the school of shitty rock.


Blogger Jono Davis said...


9:29 PM  
Blogger JonGoldy said...

word son.

12:31 AM  
Blogger butt lord said...

i was going to say the same thing as the two above comments, but they've already been said. so nevermind.

3:51 PM  

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