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Cherry Pop

Joey Gaydos ('School of Rock') Joey Gaydos ('School of Rock')
’Rockin’ All Over The World’

A contemporary comedy starring Jack Black and Joan Cusack, ’School of Rock’ also features Joey Gaydos Jr., 12, who resides in Belleville Michigan. Gaydos plays a fifth-grader who becomes the lead guitar player in a talented kid’s rock band. Richard Linkater directs from an original screenplay by Mike White, who also stars along with Sarah Silverman.

Black stars as a hell-raising guitarist with delusions of grandeur. Kicked out of his band and desperate for work, he impersonates a teacher and turns a class of fifth grade high-achievers into high-voltage rock and rollers. Cusack portrays the principal of the private school where Black is prepping the kids for a ‘Battle of the Bands.’

Taking some time out with Joey recently, a boy on the run with regard press-junkets if ever there was, I first wondered just how it all came together for him with regard his role in ’School of Rock’: ”Well, I’ve been playing rock guitar since I was eight now. Stuff like Zeppelin, Deep Purple and I went to this camp [‘Day Jam’s] and you formed a band there and played songs. And they taped me playing guitar and Paramount got a hold of the tape somehow and they thought I would be good for ‘School of Rock.’ So, I went on an audition to Chicago and then I went to New York and met the Director and then I went to the final screen test in Los Angeles where Jack was. And everyone just saw how we played together. I think we played like Black Sabbath or something, so it was really cool.”

How much of what we see of you playing guitar in the movie is REALLY you?! ”That’s all me.”

What was the most difficult aspect of filming this movie for you? ”Probably the acting, because the music part, most of the rock songs and everything, I had known as they are songs that I like to play. So, that just kind of came easily to me, but the acting was kind of different. When I first started there were all these things that you had to learn on the movie set and so it was all pretty different.”

Is music and acting a 50/50 for you right now? ”It’s more like a 60/40 thing as music is something that I will always love to do, but hopefully I can continue playing music and acting, you know. Because, in this movie I actually got to act and I got to play music, so I got to do both of the things that I like to do.”

Like ‘Spinal Tap,’ perhaps?! ”Oh yeah, I’d like to do one of those movies. That’s probably my favorite movie of all time. I’ve seen that more than a hundred times!” [It’s right about now that Joey starts speaking in a faux English accent] ”Nigel Tufnel, I do him a lot. Yeah, so I do the accent a lot.” [And then, just as quickly, he’s back to Americana!].

So, one could say that ’Spinal Tap’ is your musical movie bible?! ”Yes, it is. It definitely is for a movie, yep. It’s my favorite movie of all time.”

Tell me about your guitars at home ”I’ve got about six guitars and I just recently got given this SG guitar P-90 pick-up that was owned by Cub Koda from Brownsville Station. He was in a band with my dad and he passed away recently, and so we fixed it up and it just plays great. That’s probably my favorite guitar.”

You also collect records, so what kind and what is your most valuable one? ”That’s true, yes vinyl. I collect a lot of stuff from the early ‘60s, ‘70s and stuff like that and I go to a lot of record shops. As for the most valuable, there was only fifty made and it’s of Hendrix playing Woodstock! It’s actually not even a 45 it’s a 33 and it’s a picture disc and it’s ‘Purple Haze’ and ‘Star Spangled Banner. Cub Koda actually gave that one to me as well and so I cherish that one.”

It seems like Cub Koda was a huge influence to you ”Yeah, he was and he was the coolest guy. He gave me great pointers like, ‘You gotta let the audience know when the songs over’ and ‘If you’re sitting down playing guitar it’s gonna sound like you’re sitting down playing guitar so stand up and move around.’ He was just a really cool guy.”

So, how has a 12 year-old become so engrossed with the ‘60s and ‘70s guitar rock like you have done?! ”My dad's always listened to it with my mom and they’re both rockers. My dad has played guitar for like 30 years and he’s been in lots of bands in the Michigan area and so that’s the music that I grew up with and liked. I didn’t want to listen to this Britney Spears stuff,” he laughs. ”I’d rather be jamming out to Purple or something like that, you know.”

Are there any bands of today that you can still rock out to?! ”I like Queens of the Stone Age and a couple of years ago a band called The Hives came out. A band called the Sonics came out in the mid-‘60s and they sounded exactly like what The Hives were doing. It’s not like I just don’t like any new music, I’d rather prefer ‘60s and ‘70s music.”

Did Jack Black play any tricks on you or anyone during filming?! ”Oh Jack, he was so funny and he didn’t really play any tricks or anything, but he was nice! At the video shoot for the video of the song, he bought everybody that was in the band in the video, a Game Boy Advance and a game! He went to Virgin Records and bought everybody that.”

Anything lined up next? ”Well, not at the moment, no. I’ve been recording a lot as my dad knows a guy who owns a studio so I record a lot of my songs there. But, I’ve been going on lots of auditions and I’d like to continue acting. So, hopefully we’ll see what comes.”

Finally, what’s the best part about all this new found fame, and what’s the pain in the ass part of it all?! ”Well, the pain in the ass part about it is getting up early, you know,” he laughs. ”Because, for the Regis show I had to get up at like 5.30am in the morning and you go all day till about 11.30pm, so it’s a long day. The good part is that you get to be on national television,” he laughs again. ”Yeah, so that’s the good part.”

Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk

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