By DAN BOEMEKE
On Aug. 16, students of the local School of Rock franchise will take the stage at Chesterfield Amphitheater for the U-19 Bash, a 9.5-hour concert featuring the School of Rock house band, students’ own bands and special guests Jon Anderson of Yes and Steve Ewing of The Urge.
For many of the school’s students this may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Not only will the students’ bands be billed with these two highly accomplished guest artists, but members of the school will form the backing band for each artist.
Scott Rinaberger, owner of the St. Louis franchise of School of Rock, says the opportunity students have to work with the guest artists is helpful on a multitude of levels. Students gain the experience of rehearsing under a deadline. At the same time, they are held to the standards of the original composer and performer of the music, typically the hardest standard to meet. Additionally, working closely with the guest artists may help the students understand the creative process and help them develop a process of their own.
A showcase for local talent
The Public, consisting of Dylan Andersen (vocals), Jack Boly (guitar), Jack Heet (drums) and Harrison Snyder (bass), all age 14, is one of the local bands scheduled to perform at the U-19 Bash.
The band has been playing together for about a year. They say their involvement in School of Rock has been instrumental to the band as that is where the relationship with drummer Jack Heet was initially formed. They bring to the table a sound influenced by everything from classic rock artists such as The Who and Pink Floyd, to more recent grunge bands like Nirvana and Alice in Chains.
Although they have performed at The Pageant in the past, they said there is always a bit of pre-show anxiety.
“It is always a little intimidating when you know that everyone is watching (and) the pressure is really on,” Snyder said.
But the band says that it’s the pressure that pushes their limits and helps them put on a “killer performance.”
In addition to pushing personal limits, opportunities such as the U-19 Bash also help the band gain experience working with soundboard engineers, lighting techs and everyone else involved with such productions. The band says the experience has really helped them respect everything it takes to put on a good show.
While The Public is on the first rungs of success’ ladder, Clockwork has climbed considerably closer to fame.
An indie rock band out of the St. Charles area, Clockwork is a three piece power trio that consists of brothers Jordan (guitar/vocals) and Logan (bass/vocals) Slone and drummer Logan Mohler. Their sound has been described as “harmony-drenched alternative rock” and they have performed on a national scale, sharing the stage with acts such as Chuck Berry, The Urge, and Brett Michaels of Poison. The band released a full studio album entitled “Out to Sea” in 2013 and is currently working on another studio effort out of Nashville, Tennessee.
Unlike many of the other groups performing at the U-19 Bash, the members of Clockwork are not students at School of Rock, but they are role models. They have been asked to play, because they are a young band that has reached a good amount of success in their short time together and may serve as as living proof that hard work and dedication can pay off.
Knowing that almost all of the musicians at the event will be looking up to them is a different kind of feeling, they said.
“We have played with a lot of bands that we’ve looked up to and some of them have been very helpful in our understanding of what we are doing as musicians,” said Mohler. “It will be nice to have the opportunity to share our knowledge now as a band that is beginning to have success.
“We also want to project to these younger bands that no matter where you are in your career, when it comes down to it, we are all just people.”
Jordan added, “Really what we want to do is show that if you work hard enough and have fun with what you are doing, then the end result will always be yours and you can really own it.”
The band says they’ll see a great deal of this attitude when working with Ewing at the show.
“Steve has always been great to us,” Logan said, “and getting to open for The Urge has been one of the scariest, yet rewarding experiences we have encountered. We always jump on an opportunity to work with any of the band.”
In addition to The Public, Clockwork and the School of Rock house band, many other bands are scheduled to perform. One of those bands, Irie Sun, comprised of Connor Low, 14, and Jesse Phillips, 17, won the 2014 West County Talent Bash in the Teen Solo category earlier this year and have played festivals, such as Lollapalooza, with the School of Rock All-Stars.
In the grand finale, the School of Rock house band performs the music of Steve Ewing and Jon Anderson with the artists joining in.
Typically, house band concerts feature the music of one well-known rock group. So far the band has performed the music of Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix and The Police to name a few. But they agree that nothing compares to performing alongside the artists themselves.
Rain or shine
The not-for-profit U-19 Bash, which benefits the Rock School Scholarship Fund, will take place rain or shine.
Tickets are $10 and may be purchased online at ticketmaster.com, The Pageant box office, or the Chesterfield Amphitheater on the day of the show. Tickets will continue to be available throughout the event, however, Rinaberger hopes that people will come for the the entire day.
The Chesterfield Amphitheater, 631 Veteran’s Place Drive, is located inside Chesterfield Central Park.
For more information about the event, visit ballwin.Schoolofrock.com or chesterfieldamphitheater.com.