By Laura Ferreiro
It’s hard to think of a more heart-warming scene than a 6’5” metal drummer jamming with a bunch of enamored kids. On Friday night, Tool drummer Danny Carey did just that, thrilling a bunch of aspiring young musicians at the School of Rock in West L.A.
Carey – a founding member of one of the world’s biggest rock bands and widely considered a world-class drummer – performed Tool and Led Zeppelin tunes with several long-haired teens who ably filled in on guitar, bass and vocals.
Between jams, Carey fielded questions from the kids and their equally elated parents, and offered advice about becoming a successful musician. “There really are no shortcuts,” Carey said earnestly. “I took drum lessons all my life and practiced, practiced, practiced.”
Carey added that there’s nothing more important for an aspiring musician than perseverance and learning how to collaborate. “Tool’s longevity is largely due to the fact that we always collaborate and split everything four ways. There are no tyrants,” he said.
Carey revealed that Tool have made significant progress on their next album, and said that they currently have “the framework of at least five good songs.” He added that they hope to finish the album by the end of the year.
The drummer also confessed that he was constantly air-drumming when he was a kid, and added that when he finally picked up drum sticks, it felt incredibly natural. As for his favorite Tool song, Carey said he doesn’t have one, but confessed that he has a special affinity for “Rosetta Stoned” because it’s one of the most challenging tunes to play.
This event was part of School of Rock’s guest professor series, which invites established artists to perform with and mentor hopeful young musicians. Previous guest professors have included Jon Anderson and Steve Howe of Yes, Josh Freese, Twiggy Ramirez from Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson, and Mike Watt of the Minutemen and the Stooges.
Made famous in the 2003 movie of the same name starring Jack Black, School of Rock takes a performance-based approach to music lessons, and teaches kids of all ages to play rock instruments including guitar, bass, keyboards and drums, all the while boosting their confidence and allowing them to meet professional musicians and likeminded peers. School of Rock has several branches across the United States and has graduated thousands of kids who have gone on to become musicians.