“They stuck us on a tour bus, and we hit the road for a week.” Back home from the School of Rock All Stars Summer Tour is a handful of local teens, some of them as young as 13. “I was on the West Coast leg,” says All Stars veteran Aysia Rodriguez, 18. She lives in El Cajon and plays bass guitar. “This was my third tour.” She thinks there were at least 26 kids on her bus. “We switched up after every song so that everybody got a chance to play.”
The school books the tours but students pick up the tab, Rodriguez says, at a cost of about $1000 per kid. A graduate of Granite Hills High School, Rodriguez will head to the Berklee College of Music in Boston this fall. Her telephone demeanor is both courteous and serious. Fun times on the road? She says yes, but she’d rather not say exactly how much fun.
“You’re talking to David Aizuss, right?” Aizuss was on the same tour. “He’s the king of shenanigans.”
The School of Rock is a nationwide franchise. The local campus is near Golden Hill on Market Street. To get on an All Stars tour, students must pass two levels of eliminations. “The School of Rock All Stars summer tour represents the greatest examples of what we have to offer nationally,” says San Diego general manager and music director Tyler Ward. There are tours for students in the Midwest, the South, and on the East Coast. Ward says the West Coast region included Warped in San Diego, the Echo in Los Angeles, the Hard Rock in Las Vegas, the Complex in Salt Lake City, and Red Rocks in Colorado.
“At Red Rocks, they played in front of something like 7000 people.”
David Aizuss is a 17-year-old guitarist from University City. He favors metal. (“I’m more of a shredder,” he says.) Aizuss went on his first All Stars tour while he was still in the eighth grade. “It’s basically every little kid’s rock-star dream. You go on tour, you stay in big hotels, and you play for a lot of people sometimes. And when you’re on tour, you have a lot of fun.”
He talks about taking pictures of tour mates using the bathroom (“It happened to me”) or decorating with hotel soap. “When you get stuck on a bus for eight hours straight, you get restless. Let’s just say this: you don’t want to fall asleep on the bus while everybody else is still awake.”