Napoleon: Dynamite!

The former Zappa sax man does it for the kids

Napoleon Murphy Brock
Napoleon Murphy Brock

Rounding up the recent activities of the real Austin underground – the totally rockin’ teen bands – could easily take up two full pages in the Chronicle. That’s how much has happened since the Teen Music Texas forum in February.

Summer’s coming and the camps are gearing up. Some, like Natural Ear Music School, sense the growing interest and are offering an additional summer session. Booking agency RajiWorld announced the formation of ALTWorld with weekly Sunday afternoon showcases this summer. More U18 bands are performing at Austin venues. And South by Southwest was very good to bands like the Fireants, who won Best Teen Band as well as performing at the Austin Music Awards, and Chief Rival, who played Roky Erickson’s Ice Cream Social. Notably, the wildly successful SXSW Underage Day Party at Momo’s highlighted the national scope of U18 and U21 bands by presenting six hours of non-stop rock pumped out in the purest vein by kids feeling its power for the very first time.

Remember that? Remember your first real rush of rock & roll as a teenager, the heart punch that dropped into your guts, made you close your eyes and die for more? That ripped the top of your skull off and sailed it to parts unknown, so that you were never the same again, young but not a child? That’s what these teenagers are about. The playing that flows from their fingers into the strings or mouth kissing the microphone is like first love.

Now, imagine you’re 15, in love with rock & roll, and you get to step onstage with a pro. That’s what’s happening with the Paul Green School of Rock kids and Napoleon Murphy Brock. The sax player is best known for his stint with Frank Zappa & the Mothers of Invention during their Bongo Fury heyday, and continues today as one of the Grandmothers.

He was also featured in Rock School, the 2005 documentary about the original Paul Green School of Rock in Philadelphia. A longtime supporter of young musicians, Brock is in town and rehearsing this week at the local Paul Green School of Rock Music, reports headmaster Rick Carney. He will perform with the students this Friday and Saturday at Red 7, 7pm. Tickets are $12, but are available in fun packs of 4 for $40.

What a cool thing for those teen musicians. I’ve watched the PGSORM kids perform and had to pick up my jaw, but that’s happening on a regular basis these days with the U18 musicians around town. The first of the spring Next Up U18 showcases was a hit last Saturday with newcomers Blue House and Indigo Fresh joining Next Up regulars Team Next, Taylor Yanez, Cheap Fire, AfterMath, and Avenging Poor Yorick. We’re back on April 11 at Threadgill’s World HQ with an hour of Natural Ear bands, plus the Next Up debut of Edison Chair, 12th Planet, the Bluejays, the Peterson Bros., Loose Change, and Georgia.

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teen bands, Napoleon Murphy Brock, Paul Green School of Rock Music

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