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Various Artists: Rock School-Music From and Inspired By the Original Motion Picture

The Paul Green School of Rock Music - not to be confused with the Jack Black School of Rock movie - was founded in Philadelphia in 1998 "to help advance the art of Rock by connecting the future generation to the rich history that has come before them," according to the school's namesake. That's why Green called on such rockers as Alice Cooper, Jon Anderson from Yes, Dave Mustaine, The Police's Steward Copeland, Heart's Ann Wilson, Billy Idol, Marky Ramone, Gregg Rolie from Santana and Journey, and Deep Purple's Ian Gillan to help teach at the School of Rock. Filmmaker Don Argott thought the concept was so cool that he even made a documentary about it and called it Rock School (opening this month in select theaters around the United States).

Lo and behold, this is Rock School's soundtrack, which features recordings of classic rock songs performed by the actual student-musicians who appear in the film, with their singing heroes. For example, Mustaine sings "Peace Sells" backed by a pair of guitarists named Dan Nitz and Louis Graff, a bassist named Julie Slick, and a drummer who goes by BK. Gillan does a raw but effective run-through of "Highway Star" with guitarists Phillip Kingsford and Jeremy Blessing, bassist Peter White and drummer Joseph Randazzo III. Pay attention: Those names could grace the credits of future metal albums.

In addition to playing with hotshot rockers, a handful of students also get the opportunity to take the mic themselves. Chuck Flavor makes for a creepily real-sounding Jim Morrison on "L.A. Woman," while Madi Diaz could front an all-female Police tribute band after her performance with Stewart Copeland on "Don't Stand So Close To Me." Classics that you've heard all your life also get a little reworking, especially Heart's "Barracuda" and Santana's "Black Magic Woman." The biggest surprise, though, is Jon Anderson's appearance on Yes' "Heart of the Sunrise." I'm not sure why that's a surprise, but trust me - it is.

Sure, this album could be considered one of those lame "classics reworked" records or even a glorified tribute disc. But in an era when public schools are eliminating music programs to cut costs, Paul Green emerges as a hero, a staunch believer in both the power of music and the power of the people who make music. Plus, any program with the tagline "Teaching kids the basics: power chords, head banging & being a rock star" deserves all the kudos it can get.

Track Listing:
1) Black Magic Woman
2) I Want to Be Sedated
3) School's Out
4) Barracuda
5) Highway Star
6) L.A. Woman
7) Heart of the Sunrise
8) Rebel Yell
9) Don't Stand So Close To Me
10) Iron Man
11) Peace Sells
12) Hocus Pocus

Added: June 1st 2005
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Related Link: Official Rock School Web Site
Hits: 3025
Language: english

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