The past week, the school was entertained by The Inferiors, a four-piece band from Kimberly, BC. I have seen a lot of concerts in different genres of music, in different venues, at different times of the year, and among different crowds, but what made this fifty-two minute show in our acoustically-anihilating fifty-four year old gymnasium was something I needed to share. It was something that we often forget when we work with children. Something we forget to expect of them. To expect of ourselves. Bringing our passion, our risk-taking and modeling these behaviours. I cannot be certain that I’ll get an argument here, but when we are passionate about something (anything!) we want to learn more; we want to know more; we want to share our learning and insights. And that is a very contagious and sometimes inspiring thing!
The Inferiors are comprised of four students (ages 14-19) from David Thompson Secondary that have been playing together as a band for three years. And did it show. The passion. The musicianship. The trust in one another. Sure for our student body a rock and roll band might not have been their first choice for Friday afternoon entertainment. And let’s be honest, most of our tweenagers/teenagers nowadays are very busy with dressing like and listening to the latest in hip-hop or trip-hop or…well the music of choice rarely includes searing guitar solos.
But here were four kids (the youngest not much older than the oldest students in the audience) being completely vulnerable in front of their peers. You would be hard pressed to really get anymore passionate or authentic than that. So powerful was the band’s conviction to their craft that they were Led Zepplin or the Clash. As the band led the rock concert’s obligatory hand-claps-over-the-head the entire audience of 360 students and staff were along riding shotgun. Eat your heart out Mick Jagger.
I spoke briefly with The Inferiors after their performance (mostly to thank them…and perhaps gush a little) and asked what lay ahead for future plans. Truth be told, I sort of expected “we don’t know” or “oh, we’re back at school on Monday.” Their reply (with an obvious twinkle of excitement in their eyes): “We’re shooting a video for ‘Get Ready’ (an original tune they ripped through mid-set next to Green Day and Violent Femmes covers) next week!” Oh, and a tour through the Kootenay region and Southam Okanagan next month.
Of course, the band wasn’t there to inspire. It was never the ethos of rock n’ roll to inspire. The Inferiors were there to entertain and share their love of three cord rock music with peers. There was no conscious intent or hope that an audience member might pick up a guitar and learn to strum Zappa or learn the bass line for American Idiot. Rather the message is very simple: whatever it is that you do, do it with passion. Do it like no one is watching.
Rock ‘n roll ain’t noise pollution. It’s a little bit more.