Combine Jack Black, a couple guitars, and a classroom full of child actors, and you’ve got a recipe for face-melting comedic genius. Since bursting onto big screens and stealing viewers’ hearts back in 2003, School of Rock has gone on to inspire potential Dewey Finns around the country to start their own shredding schools. And while the latest incarnation of this still-growing phenomenon may not have Black at the helm, it is boasting lessons from some of Santa Barbara’s most successful musicians to date. Starting this summer, Mike’s Drum Shop (1109 De la Vina St.) will play host to aspiring Angus Youngs and Mick Jaggers when the shop launches the year-round Rockshop Academy. The two-week summer course will cover everything from one-on-one music lessons to talks on how to break into the industry and market your band, all taught by some real-life rock stars. For information on the academy, call George at 962-1211. And for a sneak peek at what the Rockshop Academy has to offer, read on below.
1) Experienced Educators: It helps that the Rockshop Academy is headed by former Dishwalla and The Penfifteen Club drummer (and Mike’s Guitar Shop owner) George Pendergast. And in addition to Pendergast’s wisdom, plenty of famous musicians have volunteered to take on teaching duties. “Dean [Dinning] from Toad the Wet Sprocket will come teach kids bass tips,” said Pendergast. “And Joey [Cape] from Lagwagon will come tell them about promoting their band. One of my very good friends is the vice president of MySpace Records and she’s going to come help the kids with promoting their bands on MySpace.” In other words, musical heavyweights imparting some serious knowledge on future shredders of America.
2) Network, Network, Network: Pendergast’s love of music is unquestionable, and a large part of the reason he thought to open the academy. “[The ideal academy] student is someone 12- to 18-years-old who just tears it up, either on guitar or bass or vocals, but they don’t really have the friend network or peers who are at their same level,” he explained. These sessions are devised to connect young musicians with players of their age-and hopefully spawn a few bands in the process.
3) Saving the Scene: Like the few other all-ages spots in town (Jensen’s, Muddy Waters), Mike’s Drum Shop has become a hub of musical activity for the under-21 set. And, as Pendergast sees it, it’s a great place to start pumping new life into the scene. “This is such a thriving music community. That whole ’90s era of every third building was a place where you could go see original music and three bands a night. We need to have that same thing happening here somehow.”