Friday, July 17, 2009

League of Rock, the buzz gets louder!

The message is getting out there that the League of Rock is coming to Vancouver!

People are telling ME about it now. They say they saw it on television, in a paper, online or they heard it on the radio, and people are starting to get it. Now they want to join up. I don't blame them, it's going to be a lot of fun!

To say I was excited when I first wrote on my blog about the LOR is understating things and as the story unfolds I continue to be amazed and thrilled by all the developments.

Founder Terry Moshenberg flew in from Toronto last week for a media tour to let Vancouver know that LOR is 'going global' and that Vancouver will be one of the original chapters in a worldwide League where real everyday people 'the unsung hero's of rock' really truly DO get the opportunity to live out their dreams of playing in a band.

So far with leagues already running or starting up in Toronto, New York, and Chicago, Vancouver is keeping some impressive company. League-wide there continues to be amazing opportunities for members to play at some very impressive events. Take for example the Toronto chapter, they recently sent 5 bands to represent the LOR and played at the Grey Cup festival. I don't care who you are...... a doctor, construction worker, teacher or rock star, that is just SWEET with a capital S and goes to show this league is the real deal.

I do love it, what members will gain from being in this kind of environment is immeasurable and working in a team with others under the guidance of the coaches will be an experience like no other.

I find it interesting that Terry calls his quest for members a search for the 'unsung hero's of rock', while at the same time engaging one of Canada's greatest unsung hero's in music Tal Bachman, as the figurehead coach for the Vancouver chapter of the League of Rock.

Tal Bachman, is of course already well known worldwide and holds various musical kudos and honors including 2 Junos, but I really think he deserves even more recognition for his talent and ability. He writes, plays and produces or co-produces all of his own material, and if you haven't heard or listened beyond "She's so high" you are really missing out on some incredibly tasty well written music.

I've been a fan since his first album and I currently follow Tal's blog and facebook page so for me jamming with our new coach the other day while doing the media tour was a lifetime highlight. Tal seems to be able to play any song that you throw at him (which is a huge treat for any singer or player) and as we all called out names of tunes and discussed what to jam (everything from Beatles to Zepplin) you could hear Tal quietly noodling on his guitar little solos played note for note from the songs being talked about. Crazy. Equally impressive was when he felt like playing a song on another instrument, he would just walk over and play it. Put those skills together with a really genuinely nice person and really, you got a great coach. It is clear he will be able to help any player on every level. We are fortunate, our coach is not only a rock solid talented musician with a wide scope of experience, but he is the sort of kind and empowering human who is willing to reach down and lift people up in their own quest to grow and make music.

And the great news is this, Tal is not the only one. All of the coaches Terry and Topher have found to come work with, inspire and help out at the League of Rock are people who are filled with as much internal 'human good' as they are extraordinary talent. These are people who get it that musicians of all levels can flourish in a friendly community where people push each other by inspiring them and by sharing what they know, its a place to learn from each other by focusing on learning to listen to everyone else as much as to yourself.

So part of the reason for my post today is that I have just found out who some of the other incredible coaches are going to be and I am EXCITED all over again. I must tell you about some of them and give you some links so you can go check them out!!

Right away I noticed that Shari Ulrich is going to be a coach and I am SO thrilled to see her name on this list. Shari is of keen interest to me because I have seen her Bluebird North series a few times here in Vancouver and it is always outstanding. Watching her sing and play live is impressive because she is enormously talented and plays a multitude of instruments with full possession of each one. You really pick up on her warm sincere energy as it truly fills the room. I love that she does so much for musicians and the songwriting community and being new to songwriting myself, I can't wait to meet her and see what I will learn from her. Yay Shari!

I also spotted Craig Northey , Doug Elliott and Pat Steward from the Odds on the list and once again for you rockers out there, this is something to get hugely excited about. These guys are supremely talented and highly regarded and I can imagine they will bring with them them their incredible repertoire of knowledge and experience, I can't wait!

Of course there is Terry's partner in the League of Rock, Topher Stott who will be making the trip from Toronto to share his vast wealth of experience. Topher has studied in private lessons with Andy Newmark, Joey Baron and Joe Morello. As a performer, Topher has specialized in drumset and percussion/hand drums as a hired gun with a variety of artists in the fields of rock, folk, jazz, world music, funk, pop and improvisation including Karen Durrant, Laurel James, Janet Whiteway, Phillip Sayce, Jeff Healey, Stop Die, Andrea Florian, Bruce Gordon. As a leader, Topher runs the Squawking Heads, a deep ambient groove project, and co leads both the Tiny Specks (Garage jazz) and The True Hot fo' Gandhi (live Jungle/Funk) with Adam Faux. I'm so looking forward to meeting Topher too this week, the jam is going to ROCK!

Some of Vancouver's top working musicians/writers/producers Mick Dalla Vee, Marc LaFrance, and Brent Howard, make up a band called Cease and Desist. Cease and Desist tours worldwide on concert stages as themselves and they also work as Randy Bachman's band when he is on the road. I consider myself very lucky to have been working this year with Mick in his studio (Millennia Sound design) on my original music and I would highly recommend him to songwriters like myself who want to flesh out their tunes into fully produced songs. Marc LaFrance you may notice, is the drummer in the jam session video I posted above. He was one of the pro coaches in there helping out on media tour day, and he is one hell of an awesome solid drummer who can sing like no body's business, in fact during our jam he sang AC/DC and it sounded like the record, awesome!

And also I noted Shaun Verreault , Verreault is best known as the virtuosic singer/guitarist/song-writer for blues-rockers and Canadian live favourites Wide Mouth Mason (currently at work on their 7th album together while also enjoying a lack of musical monogamy). Meaning he has his own fantastic projects on the go too! I am looking forward to meeting all of these wonderful coaches!

There are more equally impressive people on the list and I would go on, but I think you get the picture, there is really something cool going down here. I want you to pay attention, and don't be afraid to come be a part of it. It's just real people rocking out, and if you want to come and just observe, I invite you to the Yale in Downtown Vancouver on Wednesday July 22nd, to see the draft event and be a part of the jam!


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