311's P-Nut (center) with Notes for Notes members
Doreen Daley

For the elementary-school-aged members of Notes for Notes’ after-school music programs, jamming on a fender in a professional music studio can be an almost daily experience. But jamming with a real rock star? That only happens once in awhile — like last Friday, May 6, when Aaron “P-Nut” Wills, bassist for the band 311, stopped by two Notes for Notes studios to jam with the kids.

P-Nut visited the Westside Boys & Girls Club first, where Notes for Notes runs the MusicBox, a room filled with professional-grade recording equipment and instruments that kids can use every day after school. Surrounded by a small pack of the most devoted young musicians, he sat down to talk about music and hitting it big.

P-Nut jams with Notes for Notes members
Doreen Daley

“You can do [music] the rest of your life,” he said. “I don’t know if people realize how important it is to have something you can do forever.”

The group then jammed to 311 hits like their rendition of “Love Song,” with Notes for Notes kids playing acoustic and electric guitar, bass, and drums. P-Nut got more than a few questions about the origins of his nickname, which he humorously explained came from the shape of his head as a kid.

After signing instruments and posters, P-Nut headed over to the MusicBox at the Eastside Boys & Girls Club, where the room was packed with fans both young and old. Their jam session included Eric Clapton’s “Crossroads,” and ended with P-Nut listening to tracks recorded by some of Notes for Notes’ older participants.

“It’s not about playing at the Hollywood Bowl; it’s about building a rich life for yourself,” said P-Nut to the group.

This isn’t the first time Notes for Notes has brought a famous musician in for some hands-on rocking at their studios—Jack Johnson paid a visit in October. The poster he signed sits in a frame above a rack of guitars. Now, on the table next to it, rests the 311 poster P-Nut signed.


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