Friday, February 3, 2017

Wicked Cool Minute Installment #3

Dave Grohl and Steven Van Zandt
(photo courtesy Dwayne Hicks)
It's times like these I learn to love rock and roll again (bonus points if you get that statement).

My friend Cameron Hicks, a budding, multi-talented teenage musician, recently won a trip to New York City (from his home in West Memphis, Arkansas) and it turned into the trip of a lifetime (for his parents, too).
Silvio Dante and Tony Soprano
Cameron participated in a Scholastic Books contest and won. The contest was part of a plan put together by a really important organization which was established by the most great Steven Van Zandt (guitarist for Bruce Springsteen's E Street Band, member of Tony Soprano's family, brain child of Little Steven's Underground Garage on Sirius XM plus many other achievements).

Steven Van Zandt's Rock and Roll Forever Foundation is especially noteworthy. You need to remember this, Folks.
TeachRock is an online educational resource presented by
Steven Van Zandt's Rock and Roll Forever Foundation and
offered free-of-charge to educators, students, and individuals
Van Zandt launched the foundation in 2007 after he pushed various politicians to support music history inclusion in academics. He wasn't able to get anywhere with the politicians (shock), so he began the institution. 
The first incentive of the foundation is Rock and Roll High School, a chronological anthology tracing the history of Rock and Roll from its roots to present day, highlighting the cultural impact and significance of each era of the genre as it relates to the events and changes that took place in the history of the country and of the world. The program, endorsed by Scholastic and by MENC: The National Association For Music Education has brought to fruition an entire rock and roll curriculum appropriate for middle and high schools.
The curriculum is free and is called "Rock and Roll: An American Story", and materials are located at

Teachers:  You can obtain FREE educational resources through Van Zandt's TeachRock. The website offers new lesson plans and teaching resources on a monthly basis. Created to address the challenges of an environment in which schools face cuts to arts funding, TeachRock includes interdisciplinary, arts-driven materials designed to keep students engaged and in school. 
To access these materials and learn more about the curriculum, visit
I'm not a teacher, however, I went on the website and signed up to receive their informational emails. 
This is all good stuff.

Dave Grohl and Cameron Hicks
(Photo courtesy Dwayne Hicks)
Back to Cameron.
A budding young musician, Cameron Hicks, has performed in a few of my Recipe Records presentations and continues to perform various other gigs (even for money!). His mom and homeschool teacher, Andrea, had learned of the Scholastic contest and suggested Cameron enter the contest. And yep, he WON!
Along with his parents, Cameron received a paid trip to New York City to attend the Scholastic Books/Rock and Roll Forever Foundation event.
Andrea texted me on that day: "At the Scholastic Beatles event and DAVE GROHL is the guest!!!"
Steven Van Zandt, Whoopi Goldberg, Cameron Hicks
and Dave Grohl
Suffice it to say, I immediately responded to her with a threat of what I would do to her if she was messing with me.
She was not messing with me and later supplied me with lots of photos and details of the event which included the opportunity to meet Dave Grohl, Steven Van Zandt and Whoopi Goldberg.

The Hicks family submitted a brief narrative of the event and I'd like to share a snippet:

It was SO’s where you join the story, Lanea...we get seated in the auditorium.  We’re up in the back with the suits and somebodys that are all talking about the board meeting after this, and they’ll get more into it then and yadda yadda yadda.  We’re in our reserved seats – and Andrea’d already asked during the emails from home who the celebrities would be, and it was “oh, we can’t say, plans still being finalized blah blah blah” – so we’re sitting there with our handler who tells us that Colleen will meet us again after, that she’s “with the talent right now” So Andrea asks her in her whisper voice, “can you tell me who the talent is”  and handler whispers back “shhhh...Dave Grohl”  and not-so-whispery Andrea says, “NO WAY!”  “Shhhhh..shhh...shhhh...yeah, he walked by us earlier when were upstairs on the couch, but I didn’t want to interrupt him by pointing him out.”  That’s when Andrea texts Lanea “Dave Grohl” “If you’re making that up...”  HAHA!!  But yup...Dave Grohl. 

Dave Grohl photos courtesy Dwayne Hicks
Then it was Walnut Ridge all over again.  Our handler got tickled at us.  The moderator dude says, “Before we start, who here has heard of the Beatles” and quite a few hands go up (including ours).  “How many people know some Beatles songs?”  Far fewer hands go up (including, of course, ours) – Cameron sitting there knowing ALL the Beatles songs and dressed in John Lennon army shirt, his Greek fisherman’s hat, and the Lennon NYC shirt he got in Chicago.  “How many of you consider yourselves full fledged Beatlemaniacs?”  And it’s a few of the old folks in the back row – and us raising our hands again.  Later on it’s “How many of you know what a vinyl record is?”  Our hands.  “How many of you actually own and listen to vinyl?”  Our hands.  It was like, “dudes, y’all aren’t going to answer a Beatles question that won’t apply to us...we know it all! Lanea’s tried this question bit with Cameron already!”  HAHA!!  But the webinar was great.  They talked about liner notes, and really getting into an album, not just a ipod download of a song you like.
 Dave was awesome...simply awesome.  Dave shook his hand, and that boy went slack-jawed and just “uhhhhhh”.   Dave had told the story about HIS introduction to the Beatles.  That his mom was a public school teacher and brought home a school record player with the hinged lid and one speaker “smelled like dust” and that they had gone and gotten a Beatles record to play on it.  He said he was 6 or 7 and he was hooked.  They had an old guitar, and he grabbed it and tried his best to play it the way he thought they were playing it.  Then they bought him a real guitar and a Beatles chord book and he was hooked, and the rest was history.  So while Cameron is frozen in awe, I told him that his story was Identical to Cameron’s story. and He said, “Well, yeah, that’s what we do as parents, right?  Shove all that music on them to make sure they hear the good stuff! HAHA!”  Then I added, “yeah, and then you stick him in various restaurants with a tip bucket to earn money!”  and he looked at Cameron and said, “Really, are you serious?!  And you’re HOW old?!”  14  “Man, that is so cool!”  And Andrea mentioned that he’d won a Beatles Talent contest playing Blackbird.  SO he goes on to tell us about his daughter’s talent show.  She’d come to him, “Daddy, I want to do Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band for the talent show with (drops 6 or 7 girls’ names)”, and he said, “I told her that it was a great idea, go call them and I’ll help you out with she calls (drops the same names JUST as quickly as he originally did) and they all said, “Sgt WHO?”  so now she’s all down and heartbroken, but I told her that maybe they could do Blackbird...they could sing it because it was a really pretty song, and I’ll learn to play it on guitar.  So they did and it was really cool.  Then it wasn’t long after that, I get a call from the Academy Awards, and they’re wanting me to play Blackbird live at the Oscars.”
Dave & Cameron

I haven't decided which thrill would be greater of all of the celebrity meet and greets. The Hicks family certainly enjoyed meeting all of the celebrities and gained even more respect for their works. For now, Little Steven's Underground Garage greets me daily in my car and Van Zandt's narratives about music and culture are exquisite (that alone is worth subscribing to Sirius), so I'll keep on rubbing elbows with celebs from behind my wheel.

Enjoy a bit of Little Steven here:

Little Steven & The Disciples of Soul:

Thank you for reading my Wicked Cool Moment. The intention behind this blog series is to lighten your load for a few minutes and give you something wickedly cool to think about and share with your friends -- and to make you look Wicked Cool. My posts are running behind due to the death of my mother. Thank you to all friends for your thoughts, wishes and prayers; it means more than you could know.
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Lanea Stagg
Recipe Records Cookbook
Evansville, Indiana
Radio Show:     Recipe Records
Twitter:  @RecipeRecords and @LaneaStagg
*Food for Thought*Food for the Soul*Food for the Love of Rock & Roll*

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