News That Rocks!
By Dave Richards, Erie Times-News
Kevlar deserves a Ph.D. for racking up so many impressive credentials after “graduating” from World of Music’s Rock School program.
The original hard rock band has played more than 75 shows, including opening slots for Nonpoint, All That Remains, Adrenaline Mob, Hawthorne Heights and Mushroomhead. It played a showcase gig for Atlantic Records, has one for a Sumerian Records’ representative in June and will release its second CD this summer.
“Rock School has done a lot of good for us, as far as teaching us how to write, how to manage our practices and basically social networking, which is huge in becoming successful in today’s music scene,” said Kevlar singer Brian Lowery. “You get a taste of recording in there. If you want to be a musician, for what it does it’s a great program.”
At Rock School, based at World of Music, budding musicians come together and learn assorted aspects of playing in a band and promoting it. Following each nine-week session, World of Music hosts a graduation concert where bands perform.
On Sunday, Kevlar, One Day November, Stage 5, M4, Rosegun Vibe and some newer Rock School groups will play a benefit for the Rock School Scholarship Fund, which helps students from ages 7 to 17 who want to attend any U.S. rock-music school. The M-80s and French Kiss — whose bassist, Trevor Vogt, also teaches at Rock School — are also on Sunday’s bill.
After musicians apply to Rock School, director Ryan Krysiak assembles bands based on compatibility, players’ abilities and the genre they want to play. (Hard rock and indie-pop are most popular.) Players sometimes switch bands; Lowery started Rock School with a different group before he met Kevlar.
“We all hit it off really well,” he said. “We just started jamming together, then I joined and became the singer of the band. Then Jake Flaugh, our lead guitarist, came in over the summer and ever since then it’s taken off. Rock School is an awesome thing. Without it, none of us would ever have met.”
“If you haven’t had a lot of luck in putting a band together, Rock School is a great choice,” added Nick Sanzo, who attends McDowell with Flaugh and his brother, Anthony. “Me and my brother started off with having buddies over and jamming in the basement, but we never really started a band until we did Rock School. That helped us get to where we are now.”
Krysiak believes Rock School will give Erie’s music scene a big boost in coming years, as more students graduate. He emphasizes songwriting and encourages musicians to forge original bands.
“I don’t know if Erie is going to be able to handle this many talented bands,” said Krysiak. “It won’t know what to do with them.”
“There’s a lot of younger bands still in middle school that I know that are working their way up and I think will be great bands when they reach high school and end up in college,” added Nick Sanzo. “It’s definitely going to be great for the Erie music scene.”
Sunday’s benefit includes a raffle for assorted items, including one of Krysiak’s Les Paul guitars.
“Step Up 2 The Mic” a national televised singing competition for kids ages 8 to 12, is supporting kids music education via the Rock School Scholarship Fund. The winner of the competition will receive a 4 month scholarship from the Rock School Scholarship Fund, to the School of Rock nearest their home! Young singers should submit their auditions via the website at www.StepUp2TheMic.com