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Rockers open school of songwriting

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. - Are you currently a struggling musician hoping to strike it gold with your first big single? Have you been plagued with writer's block coming up with lyrics to go with an awesome guitar riff you composed after an all night binge of Jose Cuervo? Now you can breathe easy because two of Rock and Roll's greatest pioneers have recently opened up The School of Song Writing in Anaheim, Calif. Chad Kroeger, lead singer of Nickelback, and Chester Bennington, the rock portion of Linkin Park, have decided to lend their considerable talent in helping you succeed.

"I always envisioned opening up a school like this back in the early days," Kroeger said. "I just don't think it's fair that the average Joe doesn't get a chance to shine. Everyone, despite their lack of talent, has it within themselves to make it big.

Although Kroeger had entertained the notion of a songwriting school for many years, he did not actively pursue it until one night when he was writing a new song about having sex with one of his groupies for his group's upcoming album.
"I knew right then that the school was something I had to do," Kroeger said. "So I picked up the phone and called my buddy Chester, and we got the ball rolling."

Bennington, whose band Linkin Park topped charts in 2001 with the album Hybrid Theory, and again in 2003 with Meteora, was immediately on board.

"I see so many musicians falling into the same creative traps," Bennington said. "For example, you have to write for a specific audience. And if you're in your 20s, it's really difficult to grow an audience of your peers because so many of them are off doing unique things and having unique experiences. If you're going to play any kind of hard rock and be successful nowadays, it's got to appeal to teenagers. And how do you do that? You make your lyrics as vague and relatable as possible. Take the chorus for 'One Step Closer' for example. It took me forever to come up with those lines, but when I finally nailed them down, I felt like I had really done something great."

Kroeger and Bennington will not only address songwriting concerns, but many others common to up-and-coming musicians.

"We're not just going to teach you how to write a top single, but what to do after you have. We're going to immerse the student into the complete contemporary Hard Rock lifestyle," Kroeger said. "For that we're going to enlist the help of a lot of our friends in the business."

Among those friends is Scott Stapp, formerly of Creed, who will handle proper posing techniques for students as they shoot the video for their debut single. Fred Durst, of Limp Bizkit, will handle wardrobe and image concerns. Aaron Lewis of Staind will be responsible for keeping students focused on what inspires them.

"This project is really something I'm proud to be a part of," Lewis said. "Of course, my father probably wouldn't think so. He'd just crush a beer can on my head and tell me what a loser I was."

Although the school is based out of Anaheim, Lewis will spend most of his time teaching in a satellite school in his hometown of Boston.

"Boston has always felt like a kindred spirit when I'm writing new songs. Where else in the world will you find a city of half a million people that whine about the same thing over and over again, for years and years?"

Spaces in the school of songwriting are booked for the next six months, so interested musicians are encouraged to complete an online application and be placed on a waiting list.

"It'll be an experience you'll never forget," Bennington said.

The Daily Collegian - March 8, 2005



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