Students Pan GENE SIMMONS At 'Rock School'

The U.K.'s The Sunday Telegraph is reporting that KISS bassist/vocalist Gene Simmons was rather a "flop" in the classroom of one of England's oldest boarding schools where he came face to face with 10 musically gifted teenagers who wre being filmed for a Channel 4 series entitled "Rock School".

In the week after seasoned performers entertained five billion people across the globe in the Live 8 concerts, however, students at the school, talking for the first time about their experiences, were unswayed by the promise of a rock 'n' roll lifestyle.

"At times I got really annoyed by him," said Rodney, a 14-year-old from east London. "He said, 'Money is the most important thing and if you don't have it, you have nothing' and I really don't agree with that."

"I still don't like rock music," he told The Sunday Telegraph, "but I do understand it more and I have become more confident and open as a result of taking part. He got us jumping up and acting more rockish when we were rehearsing and I surprisingly didn't find it that embarrassing. But I definitely don't want to be a rock star, I want to be a lawyer. It was all quite surreal really."

A classmate Dudley, or Dudders, from Alford, in Surrey, was equally circumspect: "He was in your face, bragging and boasting and that is not really our type of thing," he said. The 14-year-old, who "can play most things" but specialises in the French horn and the organ, was the band's drummer.

"A lot of us disagreed with his morals and challenged him during his reign over us," he said. "He would act like the big hard man — you could say he was like the Gordon Ramsay of the classroom."

Bruce Grindlay, Christ's Hospital's musical director, said he was impressed by the attitude of pupils at the school, which counts among its alumni the poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, the journalist Bernard Levin and the comedian Mark Thomas. "It is very interesting that, often the quieter characters, were very self-assured and determined," he said. "They said, 'Yes, it was interesting', but they were not in awe of him and held a certain approbation that making money and financial gain was at the centre of his artistic outlay. The pupils stuck to their guns and that created conflict. They did get a lot out of it in terms of how to perform, which is just as important for the classical artist as it is for a rock star."

The program will be screened in the autumn on Channel 4.


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