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What Should Never Be

The Paul Green School Of Rock Boston Presents A Tribute To Led Zeppelin at the Middle East Upstairs, October 25, 2008
By DANIEL BROCKMAN  |  October 28, 2008

“WAYYYYY DOWN INSIDE!” Who says kids can’t play Zep?

“Does anybody remember laughter?” 

On this Saturday afternoon, the legions of the School of Rock (Boston branch) were pretty much indistinguishable from the real Led Zeppelin, who were themselves teenagers when they formed in the late ’60s. Except: switch golden gods like Plant and Page with awkward adolescents in oversized Tool T-shirts, sub in a petrifying terror of screwing up for Zep’s sexual bravado, and replace arenas filled with screaming nubile groupies with, uh, the performers’ parents. You’ll never realize how tedious a rock-and-roll song can be till you’ve watched a group of really young kids struggle to complete “How Many More Times,” the reckless juggernaut of the original stretching into one musical hurdle after another, the band members bracing for every change as if they’re running over traffic cones on a highway.

The net effect of this was exhilarating, perhaps because it was more of a recital than a rock show — and had all the requisite drama and anxiety. It struck me more than once in this room filled with kids forced to play old rock and parents clearly unschooled on deep cuts like “The Rover” and “Night Flight” that I might be one of the few actual Zep fans in attendance. When Harley Spring sang, in “Rock N Roll,” “I don’t know but I’ve been told/A big-legged woman ain’t got no soul,” he was oddly convincing — though it felt messed up to be in a room with a child singing the orgasmic breakdown of “Whole Lotta Love,” complete with “wayyyyy down inside, woman you need it,” right in front of his folks.

I was especially impressed with the powerhouse drumming of Ben Dealy, who was able to channel the galloping whump of John Bonham even though he could probably have fit his entire body inside one of Bonzo’s legs. Still, I couldn’t shake the feeling that any of these kids who goes on to play in a band in the real world — that is, sans parents — will shudder at the memory of this gig.

Related: Chaos theory, Fortunate one, Four play, More more >
  Topics: Live Reviews , Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin, John Bonham,  More more >
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Re: What Should Never Be
As a parent of a child in this show I want to comment on this review/reviewer.  I feel that he is totally unfair in what he wrote about these kids. Not only that but he completely screwed up!  First--Harley Spring DID sing 'Rock N Roll' BUT the line "I don't know but I've been told/A big-legged woman ain't got no soul" is from "Whole Lotta Love"  NOT 'Rock N Roll' Second--These kids are not "forced" as he wrote to play this music, they are all given a choice of at least 3 different shows NOT recitals but actual gigs to be a part of.  These kids decided on Zeppelin instead of Punk or Funk/Reggae becuase they enjoy Zeppelin. As far as him being the only Zeppelin fan in the crowd he is 100% WRONG!  All the parents there grew up listening to Led Zeppelin.  Another thing that I feel needs to be brought up is that this reviewer showed up to the show about 1 hour early.  He then started to see a few people that he knew and literally was swearing like a truck driver!  Dropping F-bombs left and right.  Then while kids were singing songs like "How Many More Times" and "Whole Lotta Love"  he would sing/yell out very loudly the next verse well before it was time to sing that verse.   More than a few of the kids told their parents at the end of the show that "the loud guy with the bandana freaked them out and made them mess up"  Behavior like that is not fair/appropriate for an all ages show.  And as far as any of these kids 'shuddering at the thought of this show' as an adult breaks my heart,  these kids should be and are VERY proud of themselves and the performance that they gave.  I will add that the show on Sunday was much better, the kids were more relaxed and did not miss 1 note........maybe it's because the reviewer who was freaking them out wasn't there!
By jen38d on 10/29/2008 at 4:35:32
Re: What Should Never Be---revision of above comment
I have to apologize, in my heated writting I made a mistake.  The line "I don't know but I've been told etc etc etc  is actually from Black Dog.
By jen38d on 10/29/2008 at 5:02:42
Re: What Should Never Be

I just wanted to respond to this article from a non-parent of someone that was there to support a 10 year old musician; oh did I mention I’m a big Zeppelin fan also.  This article is wayyyyy off base.  These are kids who choose to go to a school of rock.  This is what they are there to learn.  Why are you so critical considering that you were dancing around and singing out loud with the kids to the point during “Stairway to Heaven” you yelled out the wrong words causing one of the kids to say into the mike during the song that you scared him?   It was obvious to this viewer who has worked with all types of kids the last 18 years that these kids have a passion for what they were doing.  We cannot lose sight of the fact that they are KIDS. 

PS If any of the kids or family members read this I thought the show was great granted it wasn’t perfect but I was impressed.  I want to say excellent job by all - this from a non parent, non family member, just a supporter of kids pursuing their interests.    

By RickyH on 10/29/2008 at 6:55:55
You're Grounded
Hi everybody, I'm not in the business of bursting bubbles, but the person you folks seem to think was a reporter from the Phoenix, wasn't. I've received a bunch of upset phone calls and comments today describing the offending party as a freaky, pottymouthed, balding yet mulleted, loud, somewhat fat guy who was visibly enthused about the various doings of today's childre. I am happy to report that our reviewer, Daniel Brockman, is none of those things. Reports also claim that our reviewer was wearing a Zeppelin shirt, ugly neon sunglasses and was scribbling in a notebook. I can only confirm that Daniel was doing the last bit, as I've personally never seen him wear anything but black T-shirts, hooded capes, a respectful smile and his rock-loving heart on his sleeve. Parents of children playing Led Zeppelin songs should pray to God that their kids turn out one tenth as sweet as our man Daniel Brockman.
So what happened was you went to a rock club for a midday Led Zeppelin tribute show and encountered a loud, fat, degenerate wastoid whose possibly drunken swearing and carrying-on disrupted the performance for everybody involved. Welcome to the world of rock music. Kids: Consider this on-the-job training.I hope this clarifcation helps, and perhaps relaxes your appraisal on Mr. Brockman's observations, which seem less in the service of busting your children's collective chops and more about describing a unique scene that otherwise might only have been enjoyed by parents, children, and a loud fat degenerate wastoid who doesn't work for us. You're right though, those lyrics are totally from "Black Dog," not "Rock and Roll." For fuck's sake, Brockman! Oops. Sorry. Love,M. Brodeur
By Michael Brodeur on 10/29/2008 at 7:35:07
Re: What Should Never Be
Well there is a matter of opinion on who the loud gentleman was,  I was told from someone who knows him that the loud gentleman was from The Boston Phoenix, maybe he was a freelancer?  Regardless of which gentleman wrote the above article he was mean when he wrote about these kids.  For him to say that they are 'forced' to play old rock is totally wrong, maybe if he knew a bit about the program then he would realize that these kids get to decide what they want to play. How can he say that the show was 'tedious'?  what the hell was he expecting?  perfection?   instead of treating this show like a bunch of adults that have been in a band together for years he should have treated it like a bunch of hard working kids doing their best. Yes there were mistakes but he didn't site them and he didn't site that the kids worked through them and still put on a great performance. How can he say that these kids are going to shudder at the memory of this performance?   And who the hell is he to think that in a room full of people aged 35-55 that he is the ONLY zeppelin fan, especially since he screwed up his song quotes. he clearly wasn't paying attention to the show....Harley Spring did sing 'Rock N Roll' BUT  it was a kid named Cameron who sang the orgasmic breakdown of “Whole Lotta Love,” complete with “wayyyyy down inside, woman you need it,” right in front of his folks  if you're going to be critical of these kids then at least make sure you know who you're talking about.
By jen38d on 10/29/2008 at 8:07:20
Re: What Should Never Be
Sounds like these parents need to calm down and stop being so defensive. It's sort of like the dudes at little league games who beat up the refs. Here's my advice kids:quit the school of rock, start writing your own tunes and play shows that you'd be embarassed to have your parents show up at. And if somelocal music writer discourages you from playing, you probably weren't meant to do music anyway.
By Cornelius Nasty Traps III on 10/29/2008 at 10:11:33
Re: What Should Never Be
I was at the show saturday.  Not becuase I had kids in the show but becuase I am a zeppelin fan and becuase the concept of this school is great.  I don't blame the parents for being upset.  Yes there was a very odd man in front acting totally inappropriate, with a note book and I overheard people saying he was there to review the show.  The kids were clearly shaken by him and his behavior BUT they still kicked ass.  The older kids who sang gave it their all and did great.  One of the drummers was so small you could barely see him over the drum set.  One singer, the youngest singer up there at 9yrs old, even went so far as to put on a long blonde curley wig so he would look like Robert Plant.   These kids weren't forced to play rock they clearly wanted to. For the reivewer to write that he is the only zep fan in the crowd is ridiculous and for people to compare these parents to the likes of the little league parents who get into fist fights with the refs is unfair.  You could hear the parents comment with "oh no, he just messed up his guitar solo"   or  "he just forgot a few words"   they were clearly aware that the kids weren't perfect but totally supportive of the fact that these young kids, aged 8-17, have enough balls to get up on stage. The reviewer isn't being fair and the fact that he screwed up his quotes with the song name/verse shows that he's not exactly the best reviewer.  I think these kids and parents should continue doing what they are doing and not let a critic who doesn't know what he's talking about get them down.
By music lover on 10/30/2008 at 10:00:12
Re: What Should Never Be
I was a patron in the restaurant on saturday afternoon and I could hear the kids playing.   They were great.  I couldn't believe that they were just kids!  No one is perfect,  even bands that have been together for years and have more experience still have times when they make mistakes. There's no need for this reviewer to be so negative about these kids and this show.  He could have written the negative but also put a bit more positive in the article as well.  I don't blame the parents for being a bit upset, the reviewer titled the article in a negative way and then made mistakes in the article itself. I think it's great that these kids and this school are doing what they are doing.
By supporter of good music on 10/30/2008 at 10:13:06
Re: What Should Never Be
To the Kids----continue rocking!   don't let any critic get you down,  be happy that your parents were there in the crowd supporting you, without them you wouldn't have your equipment or be able to get to your lessons!   most parents tell their kids to turn down the music, be lucky that yours don't. To the Parents---regardless of any concert, movie, play there will always be a critic that didn't like it whether it's valid or not.  i'm sure each person there had their own view of how the show went.  To the Critic-- these are kids, they were probably nervous.  you could have taken that and there age into consideration and cut them a little bit of slack,  yes point out the stuff that went wrong but also point out the stuff that went well. give them some credit for having the guts to get up on stage.
By sweet cheeks on 10/30/2008 at 10:32:04
Re: What Should Never Be
Ahhh, yet another pithy edition of the Pheonix.  The newspaper that I read on the subway to figure out who is playing this weekend and to check out the personals for a chuckle.  I really only read you for these functions.  The articles are sub-par, snuggled between the copious amounts of advertising that somehow keep you afloat. I guess waning sales demanded a little extremism?  I guess it worked.  Congrats on that. 
How is it that you get off swinging these kids into such a bad light?  Constructive criticism, and stinging remarks alike, help build and shape a musician or any artist for that matter.  These may be Boston's music future.  The Boston scene, a place where major tours seem to skip, needs some support from the music reviewers/listeners out there.  Don't lie of course, but when something a little different comes along, don't be all sad that it isn't "f'n Godsmack". Grow a backbone dude.
By HootyMcBoob on 10/30/2008 at 7:43:48
Re: What Should Never Be
 The loud guy with the Zeppelin shirt was my friend and the biggest Zeppelin fan I know. He was not the reviewer. F-Bombs happen. This is rock and roll. Like the kids in the audience have never heard the word before or heard their parents utter it. What he shouted during "Stairway" was "Does anybody remember the forest" after "And the forest will echo with laughter". This was what Robert Plant said during a show from Sheffield England '72. It has historical roots. So does rowdy/enthusiastic behavior from fans. I can't believe the parent who was offended was not offended at the fact that some people were drinking beer. If someone shouting the words in advance causes your child to screw up the song then he/she didn't really know the song that well. I have heard Paul Green say that if World War III goes off and you can still play the song flawlessly that's when you know you have the song down. Blaming someone in the audience for your screw up is childish. Yes I felt the review was harsh but felt the need to respond to the needless bashing of my friend. Why are we so afraid of language in this country? George Carlin rest in peace.  
By Tony Clifton on 10/31/2008 at 6:42:35
Re: What Should Never Be
 shooby doo
By Tony Clifton on 10/31/2008 at 6:50:32
Re: What Should Never Be
By Tony Clifton on 10/31/2008 at 6:51:37

[ 11/01 ]   Sean Kingston + New Boyz + Jaicko  @ Healy Auditorium
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 See all articles by: DANIEL BROCKMAN

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