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6/2/2005

DEGENERATES ABROAD
Our Puerto Rican review is up:
http://www.degeneratepress.com/travel/puerto_rico_2005

FILM FLAM/EAR PLUGS
Wednesday we headed over to Landmark Midtown Art Cinema to see Rock School, a documentary about the Paul Green School of Rock Music. But before the film began we were treated to a short performance by Diamonds Rage, a group of 16-17 year-olds in a local summer camp for musicians, Camp Jam. Diamonds Rage do straight up rock with some degree of skill. They missed on a few notes or beats and their thrashing and posing seemed a bit put-on, especially in front of a seated movie theater crowd, but they obviously enjoy what they do and they were better than some local acts I've seen. They did a couple of original tunes, vaguely reminding me of local act Motor 76 (formerly The Ditchdiggers.) Their t-shirts spoke of their influences, Aerosmith and AC/DC, which came through in their classic hard rock sound. Not great, but definitely not bad for beginners!
Rock School follows the kids who are attending Paul Green's after school program for wannabe rock stars, age 9-17. Well, some of the kids want to be rock stars. Some of them are typical fuck-ups who don't practice and are there because they don't fit in any where else. And some of the kids are there because their parents wanted to be rock stars but weren't so now they hope to live vicariously through their talentless children who struggle with music beyond their capabilities. A generation ago these kids might've been shipped off to baseball practice or piano lessons, but these days it's ok if kids want to rock, or their parents want them to.
And some of these kids ROCK. I couldn't help but think the current generation of rock stars are only years away from being overtaken by these kids. The music on today's radio is literally child's play to some of the kids in Rock School. So what will they do next?
Paul Green's technique might offend some folks. He curses and screams and rages at the kids like some kind of rock and roll drill sergeant, "Goddammit, you can't make a mistake, not during Rebel Yell!!" Sometimes it's funny, sometimes it's not, and let's hope nobody from the Christian Right sees this flick 'cause there's a long series of clips where Paul hails Satan, only half jokingly, and gets the kids to join along. Jack Black is a Disney character by comparison.
Paul tries to be larger than life, but despite the size of his mouth it's the kids who are the charmers in this film. When they travel to Germany to perform at a Frank Zappa fest and win over not just the crowd but a former Zappa band member it's a misty-eyed moment.
Rock School is rated R for language but appropriate for any wanna be rock stars of all ages, so take the kids.
For more, see www.rockschoolthemovie.com


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