Who says kids can’t rock?
Solid Fuel, band brainchild of music teacher Graeme Peters, features astounding performances from kids aged 10 to 15.
Peters originally wanted the band to be called Thunderblasters, but was promptly vetoed by the savvy rockers in favour of Solid Fuel.
Past performances include a set at The Old Fire Hall on May 15, where they played to a sold-out crowd — maybe mostly parents, but those who were there were rocked out of their seats.
The talent and musicianship shown by the youngsters echoes dedication and skill of bands much, much older.
Says Peters of his young School of Rockers, “When I first heard them, I was blown away. I close my eyes when we are practising and can’t tell the difference between them and older, more studied musicians.”
High praise for kids who are barely into high school or, in the case of Ragnvald “The Viking” Royle, at 10, just into middle school.
Stand-out covers the band performed included Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne, with Graeme Peters on vocals and bass, Alejandro Peters on drums, and Madison Dixon, Logan Frasher and Royle on electric guitars.
Peters likes to keep the kids on their toes, musically. He switches up their band duties every other set, letting them get comfortable with an instrument or a song, and then having them change over.
Dixon, in particular, demonstrates particular skill with her tiny daisy-shaped electric guitar, jamming it out with the best of them. She also has vocals that many would die for, belting out For Whom the Bell Tolls by Metallica, an incongruous song for a petite 11-year-old girl.
Peters hopes to include a mix of originals and covers in the band’s upcoming recording session with Old Crow Recording.
“We’re really trying to stretch the band’s technical skills, and really allow them to expand their creativity,” he says.
Peters is humble about his role with the young stars, saying he just “directs them and conducts” and the kids do the rest.
“It’s really amazing, their level of dedication and talent. I’m just there, helping them be cohesive and move together as a band, and they take everything on themselves,” he says.
Their next show is at Coasters Bar and Grill on June 5, something that tickles Peters because the oldest performer in the group is four years underage.
“We’re having an afternoon show, doors open at 2 p.m. and the show is at 2:30 p.m. It should be awesome. The kids are working on more technical songs like maybe some Pete Frampton, The Who. We’ll see what happens!” he says.
With the high-energy direction and help of Peters, the kids relax and move from playing music to really performing, confidently owning the stage with an audience present.