Legendary drummer Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge, Rod Stewart, Jeff Beck) is shown working with students of the Count Basie’s Rockit! program in 2015. The classic-rock conservatory kids hit the Basie boards on Saturday with a program entitled, “Rock and Roll Goes to the Movies.”
It’s been an unfathomably long time — at least a couple of generations before any of the student musicians of Rockit! at the Basie were born — but there was a day when the presence of a youth-oriented rhythm bopper like “Rock Around the Clock” on a major-studio movie soundtrack represented a societal sea-change, one that threatened to spill soda-fountain milkshakes into the riot-torn streets and tilt the earth off its axis more surely than the atomic arsenals of any Commie (or possibly Martian) power.
Since then, of course, Hollywood has more than made its peace with the jukebox. Uncle Oscar and cousin Grammy soon discovered a mutually lucrative method of keeping the cashboxes ka-chinging. Entire film vehicles were engineered around performers who had never so much as appeared in a school pageant. Rockers became actors and even directors. The carefully curated and licensed soundtrack album became an art form unto itself.
On Saturday night, the kids from Rockit! return to the stage of the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank for a whirlwind tour of that cultural crossroads where “Rock and Roll Goes to the Movies.”
Scheduled for 7 p.m., the concert is a freewheeling affair that spans some 60 years of celluloid/vinyl synchronicity, dating back to the earliest cinematic salvos from Elvis (Jailhouse Rock) and the Beatles (A Hard Day’s Night).
Among the many projects represented are classic concert/tour documents (the Stones’ Gimme Shelter; the Band’s The Last Waltz), ambitious films adapted from equally ambitious concept albums (Pink Floyd’s The Wall; the Who’s Quadrophenia), music-infused teen comedies (the Ramones in Rock and Roll High School), and recent bio-dramas centered around the Runaways and Amy Winehouse.
It’s all delivered in spot-on and note-perfect style by the students of the classic-rock conservatory program founded by veteran drummer Bruce Gallipani — a program whose partnership with the theater’s Performing Arts Academy has resulted in regularly scheduled theme showcases like this one, and even the occasional onstage collaboration with some well-known visitors to the Basie boards.
It’s a performance for which, we’ve pointed out previously here on redbankgreen, you don’t have to be related to the onstage talent to appreciate — and at a retro-rocking ticket cost of $15 (available right here), it’s one of the most popularly priced ways of enjoying Monmouth Street’s very own great American music hall.