League of Rock – From the Inside Vol. 8 – Hey Now, Your A Rockstar / It’s Raining Panties!
The dust is settled, the ears are still ringing and there are panties in my guitar case. Let me explain. Last night was the final date of the 36th session and 10th Anniversary of the League of Rock. The venue for this celebration? Toronto’s Hard Rock Cafe, right in the heart of the city. It was a rock and roll party of epic proportions and a perfect ending to the wild ride of the last 10 weeks.
In one paragraph let me recap this rock and roll journey. Ten weeks ago 5 complete strangers sat down at a table to discuss some music. We left the table united as a band and we even had a name, [SIC]! From there we rehearsed, learned to play music together, developed some stage presence, played 2 live workshops and recorded together at Phase One Studios. We laughed a lot, we frustrated each other at times, we grew as musicians, we bonded as only a rock band could understand and that brings us to the now at the Hard Rock.
Arriving at the Hard Rock Cafe, a bolt of excitement sent adrenaline coursing through my veins. I couldn’t say that I was nervous, but more so a feeling of pure excitement and anticipation knowing that [SIC] would playing on one of the best stages Toronto has to offer. This here League of Rock is pretty damn fun! There was to be 5 bands taking the stage on the evening (the 4 LOR bands plus a bonus band the Sole Pursuit along for some extra entertainment). I quickly checked the lineup sheet to find we were scheduled third out of five. Perfect was my thought, time enough to relax a little, SHOWTIME!, and then kick back and enjoy the rest of the show.
The Hard Rock filled up fast and before long it was standing room only to watch the rock. unfold. The finale is when the friends and family members get to come out and see just what has transpired for the members of League of Rock. Integral to our story is the fact that our drummer Barry proudly works for the Markham Fire Department. It was cool to see the support of his co-workers, many of whom came out to cheer Barry “Bam Bam” on the drums.
The time soon came for [SIC] to take the stage, I strapped on my bass, got wired for sound and took a deep breath. The moment we had worked for the last ten weeks was finally here and it was time to enjoy every second of it. I have to take a moment and give thanks to each of my bandmates Bill Simmons (guitar), Tamara LeClair (vocals), Dylan Burrett (guitar) and Barry Vesh(drums). From day one, this group embraced the idea of not only just playing some rock and roll together but actually developing some stage presence, like a “rockstar”. So for the better part of the next half hour [SIC] became “rockstars” in every sense of the term.
For those that have been following along with this blog series, you know the songs and the stories behind them all but to recap. [SIC] blasted through our four song setlist. The Runaways classic “Cherry Bomb”, a completely new arrangement of Amy Winhouse’s “Back to Black”, “Venus” by Shocking Blue/Bananarama and lastly “Let It Go” by Def Leppard. Our last song is a big chorus arena rock anthem and as we approached the big dramatic hard rock ending, it happened. Suddenly a number of the audience started throwing what turned out to be ladies under garments onto the stage! Not just one or two, it was literally raining thongs!
As it turned out, Barry’s co-workers had masterminded a true “rockstar” moment that resulted in one of the most hilarious and surreal League of Rock moments ever. The dichotomy of big burly Firemen tossing skimpy ladies thongs will forever be one of the greatest rock stories that I will share a couple million times. Truly a “rockstar” ending to our League of Rock journey.
Indulge me here for a moment, let’s take a look at the term “rockstar”. It has evolved from simply meaning “a successful member of a rock and roll band” into something much more awe inspiring. It now conveys a “lifestyle” (party like a rockstar, treated like a rockstar), a “feeling” (she made me feel like a rockstar) and describes a “master of almost any domain” (chef’s are the new rockstars). It’s a dream that I think almost everyone has at one time or another fantasized about.
Think about it, even if you have never played an instrument, I can’t think of anyone who hasn’t sang with all their heart into their hairbrush or ripped a vicious guitar solo on their tennis racket. How many people can get through Phil Collin’s “In The Air Tonight” without air drumming the solo? Hell even Mike Tyson does it. For those of us that actually took it a step further and actually acquired a musical instrument, the “rockstar” dream was likely THE motivational factor.
Let’s be honest here, when you were a kid and you skated out onto the ice with your hockey stick you were Wayne Gretzky or Mario Lemieux playing for the Stanley Cup. When you put on the ballet slippers in the basement you were dancing at the Opera Bastille. When we picked up our first guitar and learned three chords we were Eddie Van Halen at Madison Square Garden. It’s sad that as adults we most often choose to ignore the imaginations of our inner child. We rationalize these dreams as childish or irresponsible and continue on with our grown up lives rarely if ever taking the time to play.
The League of Rock has created an incredible playground for adults to forget about the troubles and stresses of work and life. It awakens your inner child and if you are open to the idea, you may just realize your own “rockstar” dream. In the lyrics of one of the songs that was covered in this session of the League of Rock…”Hey now, your a rockstar, get the show on, get paid!”