What is the League of Rock? I, myself couldn’t answer this question until I opened up the most thoughtful birthday gift from my beautiful wife three years ago. The gift was a letter informing me the details of my upcoming session within something called The League of Rock. I read through all the information to learn what exactly was in store during the ten week session that promised an unforgettable rock and roll journey.
So I jumped into the session with a mix of uncertainty, plenty of excitement and honestly, a little bit of fear. Ten weeks later, I was on stage at one of Toronto’s legendary rock clubs living out a rock and roll dream. Much has transpired since then, in fact I am currently wrapping up my fourth session in the League.
If you have never heard of, are considering joining, or just want to learn a little more about the League then you are in the right place. This is the first in a small series of blogs designed to provide some insight and shed some light on what exactly happens throughout a complete session. The names, faces and songs will change but the process is quite consistent.
I suppose I should start by answering the initial question at the top of the page, just what is the League of Rock? The best analogy that I could use here would be to describe it as an adult “pick up hockey league” but for musicians. Let me expand on this a little more.
Hockey – You decide for fun, to play a little recreational hockey and join one of the many thousands of leagues that are available. It would be safe to assume that if you are planning to join a hockey league that you most likely have both the basic skills and the necessary equipment to play the game. Obviously NHL skill level would not be required but it would be very challenging to enjoy the game if you have never laced up a pair of skates before.
You are then charged a fee to join the league and this money goes to cover the costs of the various services required for you to come out each week and play. Stuff like the ice rental, the referees, the trophies, etc. The League takes care of the organizational duties so you can show up each week, hit the ice and have some fun. You play hockey each week and at the end of the season, most leagues finish up with some sort of awards banquet or party to celebrate.
League of Rock – You decide for fun that you would like to rock! You have a guitar (or bass or drums etc.) and have learned a few songs whether it was back in the day or just last year. The thought of playing music with a band sounds like fun but let’s face it, as an adult with jobs and mortgages and families and responsibilities, free time often comes at a premium. Not to mention the obstacles of finding like minded band mates, the challenge of finding somewhere to rehearse etc. Another option would be to join the League of Rock.
You are charged a fee to join the league and the money goes to cover the costs of the various services that they provide. They have created a remarkable program that removes all obstacles for those wanting to rock. You simply bring your instrument, plug in and play (full drums and PA is supplied). They provide you with a band of musicians and then facilitate a ten week program that includes weekly rehearsals with professional coaching, two live performance workshops, a four hour recording session experience with a producer in a world class recording studio and lastly, a rock and roll finale concert at one of Toronto’s premier rock clubs.
Prior to joining myself, I was the quintessential target demographic for the League of Rock. I fooled around with the bass guitar in High School, retired the bass during college and never touched it for almost a decade. After dusting it off, I began re-learning simply to play along to some of my favourite songs. At the age of forty-three, the thought of joining a band or getting up on a stage to perform was beyond ridiculous. I was quite content just rocking out with my headphones on. Or so I thought…