Kelly LeMieux, Guest Professor Paul Green School of Rock
111 SE Madison
I don't know what you were doing Friday nights in July, but if you missed the Paul Green School of Rock concerts, you missed some of the best shows of the summer. Portland rockers stood shoulder to shoulder with moms and pops, jaws dropped in awe as eight-year-olds expertly interpreted guitar leads from Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin, 12-year-olds managed meaty bass lines from AC/DC, pre-teens pounded out perfect Cheap Trick and Beatles beats, and innocents screamed out the drug-addled lyrics of bands from Jefferson Airplane through Nirvana. OH MY GOD, IT WAS AWESOME. The School of Rock recruits celebrity rockers to tutor its students, and on board for Portland's rock camp was one Kelly LeMieux, bassist for Goldfinger. Handsome, tattooed, and charismatic to the extreme, LeMieux won over moms and maidens alike from his perch beside the kids' drum kit, coaxing a fog machine, fiddling with amps and cords, and making sure extra sticks and picks were available when the ones in use went flying. Now he's contemplating coming back for School of Rock's fall semester (now enrolling: hit schoolofrock.com for more information), leaving his LA rock 'n' roll lifestyle for babes in the woods. Look out, ladies!
What are your duties at rock camp?
Storyteller, kid wrangler, and I run 'em on tunes. I'm way into music trivia. I sit down with the kids and ask 'em what they like, tell 'em who wrote what song, or why Joey [Ramone] wrote "The KKK Took My Baby Away." All the kids love the Ramones. Ramones songs are deceptively hard to play.
What's the most important thing the kids learn?
I always tell them, "You're serving the song. The song doesn't serve you."
How'd you get the handle "The King of Pop-Punk-Ska-Rock 12-String Bass?"
I'm really not the king. I'm just a versatile guy, so they throw that title at me. I'm queer for gear. I love, love, love music, I love musical instruments, and I love the bass. There're not a lot of bass players. I tell the kids, "You don't know it, but bass is the sexiest instrument." You can sit on a guitar amp, and you aren't gonna feel squat. Sit on a bass amp... Girls love sitting on bass amps.
You're clearly in your element doing this kid thing.
That's 'cuz I'm just a big kid. It's funny 'cuz back in May I did a bunch of festivals over in the UK. We played Earl's Court to 25,000 people, and then two months later I'm roadie-ing for 10-year-olds. I'm an awesome roadie 'cuz anything that can go wrong, I've witnessed it. VIVA LAS VEGAS