Our Honorary Board is comprised of high-profile artists, musicians and performers who use their celebrity as a powerful endorsement of our mission to enable all kids to get a music education, no matter what their financial circumstances.
Katy Perry cemented her status as a best-selling superstar with the global success of her second studio album, “Teenage Dream,” which debuted at No. 1 in eight countries and spent more than two years on Billboard’s Top 200 album sales chart. She became the only female artist to have five No. 1 singles from one album on the Billboard Hot 100 chart (“California Gurls,” “Teenage Dream,” “Firework,” “E.T.” and “Last Friday Night”). The special edition, “Teenage Dream: The Complete Confection,” added “Part of Me” and “Wide Awake” to Katy’s list of nine Top 40 chart-toppers (dating back to her multi-platinum debut album, 2008’s “One of the Boys,” which generated four hit singles: “I Kissed A Girl,” “Hot N Cold,” “Thinking of You” and “Waking Up In Vegas”). “Roar,” the first single from her third album, “Prism,” became Katy’s 10th No. 1 Top 40 track after debuting at No. 1 on iTunes in 68 countries with 557,024 downloads in its first week of release, the biggest digital song sales week of 2013. A successful follow-up single, “Unconditionally,” was released in late 2013, followed by “Dark Horse,” which helped Katy set the record at Top 40 for most total weeks (46) at No. 1 in the Billboard airplay chart’s archives, and makes her the only artist in 2014 with top spins at three different radio station formats (Top 40, Hot AC and AC radio). She is the first artist to surpass the 75 million digital award threshold, counting digital downloads and on-demand streams, and the only artist ever with two videos (“Roar” and “Dark Horse”) at over 1 billion views on Vevo. She has just completed 151 dates on the Prismatic World Tour, which was a hugely successful global spectacle, with sold out arenas in the UK, North America, Australia/New Zealand, Europe, Asia and South America, where Katy also headlined Rock In Rio in Brazil.
Katy donated two signed baby Taylor guitars to our CharityBuzz auction, along with a photo of her signing the guitar!
Dave Grohl is best known as the former drummer for Nirvana, and the founder and frontman of the Foo Fighters, the most successful contemporary rock band today. On January 10, 2015, Dave and the Foo Fighters had a surprise concert for Dave’s birthday at The Forum in Los Angeles, and we – then known as the Rock School Scholarship Fund – were extremely honored to have been one of three charities – along with MusiCares and Sweet Relief Musicians Fund – benefitting from the proceeds.
Jackson Browne has written and performed some of the most literate and moving songs in popular music and has defined a genre of songwriting charged with honesty, emotion and personal politics. He was honored with induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004, and the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame in 2007. Beyond his music, he is known for his advocacy on behalf of the environment, human rights, and arts education. He’s a co-founder of the groups Musicians United for Safe Energy (M– USE), Nukefree.org, and the Success Through the Arts Foundation, which provides education opportunities for students in South Los Angeles. In November 2013, Jackson Browne performed a benefit concert at the legendary Troubadour for us – then known as the Rock School Scholarship Fund – with students from School of Rock Burbank and West LA. www.jacksonbrowne.com
Billy Gibbons (born December 16, 1949) is an American musician, singer, songwriter, producer and actor, best known as the guitarist and lead vocalist of the American rock band ZZ Top. He began his career in the Moving Sidewalks, who recorded Flash (1968) and opened four dates for the Jimi Hendrix Experience. Gibbons formed ZZ Top in late 1969 and released ZZ Top’s First Album in 1971. The albums that followed, Rio Grande Mud (1972) and Tres Hombres (1973), along with extensive touring, solidified the group’s reputation as a hard-rocking power trio.
In the 1980s, ZZ Top released their three biggest-selling albums: Eliminator (1983), Afterburner (1985) and Recycler (1990). A wave of music videos for the hit singles “Legs”, “Gimme All Your Lovin’, and “Sharp Dressed Man”, among others, became mainstays on MTV. He was ranked at number 32 on the 2011 Rolling Stone list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.
Billy donated a signed Gibson guitar to our CharityBuzz auction.
Arthur Barrow is a multi-instrumental musician, best known for his stint as a bass guitar player for Frank Zappa in the late 1970s and early 1980s.He joined Zappa’s band in 1978, and in ’79 he also took on the duties of being the “clonemeister,” or band rehearsal director. The band rehearsed for 8 to 10 hours a day, 5 days a week. He would run the rehearsals for the first half of the day, then Zappa would take
over when he arrived. He did 5 tours with Zappa and can be heard playing bass, guitar and keyboards on about a dozen recorded albums.In the early 1980s he co-wrote music, recorded and toured the U.S. with Robby Krieger of The Doors. They had a live band then for a short time called Red Shift. He began working with Giorgio Moroder in the mid-1980s on albums and film sound tracks, including Scarface and Top Gun, and the Oscar winning single “Take My Breath Away.” He did keyboards, programming, bass, and arranging for a wide range of artists including Joe Cocker, Diana Ross, Billy Idol, Berlin, The Motels, and others. On March 17, 2013 Arthur performed at a fundraiser for us at The Whisky A Go-Go with Robby Krieger, hosted by the Neighborhood Rock School. home.netcom.com/~bigear
Michael Ciravolo ran Hollywood’s Sunset Custom Guitars before being tapped to take the helm at Schecter in the mid-‘90s. Ciravolo, who also holds down guitar duties with Goth rockers Gene Loves Jezebel as well as his own band Human Drama, was one of the pioneers of developing manufacturing relationships with offshore factories and producing high-end, premium-branded instruments. Some of these guitars include the famed C Series, Tempest, Ultra, Blackjack, Solo and many others. www.schecterguitars.com
Michael served on our Governing Board from 2013 through early 2016.
Durbin, 22, brought heavy metal to the ‘American Idol’ stage in 2011 by performing with metal legends Judas Priest during the final episodes. In November of 2011, Durbin released his first rock album, “Memories of a Beautiful Disaster,” which debuted at number 36 on the Billboard 200, and at number eight on the Billboard Rock Chart. Durbin, who suffers from both Asperger’s Syndrome and Tourette’s Syndrome but refuses to be sidelined by either of those medical hurdles, co-wrote five of the 11 songs on the album, and was afforded the dream come true scenario of working with his favorite band (Swedish cult heroes Hardcore Superstar) and with a guitar god (Mötley Crüe’s Mick Mars) on “Outcast.”
Durbin teamed up with guitar goddess Orianthi to perform at a benefit concert to help our scholarship kids in 2012. www.durbinrock.com
Robert Alan “Robby” Krieger is an American rock guitarist and songwriter. He was the guitarist in The Doors, and wrote some of the band’s best-known songs, including “Light My Fire,” “Love Me Two Times,” “Touch Me,” and “Love Her Madly.” He is listed as number 91 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time. In March of 2013, Robby, along with frequent collaborator Arthur Barrow, performed at The Whisky A Go-Go with proceeds going to support our scholarship programs. www.robbykrieger.com
Orianthi burst on the scene in 2009 thanks to the killer trifecta of Carrie Underwood, the Grammys, and the King of Pop. Born in Adelaide, Australia, Orianthi Panagaris was only six when she fell in love with the guitar. Legendary names like Clapton, Hendrix, and Santana influenced her to take lessons, and she spent five years on the acoustic guitar before switching to the electric at the age of eleven. At the age of 18, she met her hero when she was invited to jam with Santana during a soundcheck. That soundcheck evolved into a half-hour guest shot during that night’s concert, and with Carlos’ enthusiastic endorsement, she went on to share stages with acts like Prince and ZZ Top, and earned a support slot on Steve Vai’s 2007 world tour.
Orianthi’s musicianship was exposed to millions of television viewers when she joined Carrie Underwood’s band for a 2009 Grammy Awards performance. That same year, an email invitation arrived asking her to audition for Michael Jackson, who was assembling a band for a 50-date residency at London’s O2 Arena. One blistering rendition of the “Beat It” solo was enough to land the gig, but the King of Pop unexpectedly passed in June of that same year. Orianthi sang at the memorial service, and rehearsal footage of the guitarist backing Jackson was featured in the popular film “Michael Jackson’s This Is It.” Her second album, Believe, arrived several days before the movie’s release, featuring the Top 20 single “According to You” which became a worldwide hit. The following year, Orianthi released the EP Fire featuring production from the Eurythmics’ Dave Stewart. In 2013, Orianthi returned with her third full-length album, Heaven in this Hell.
In 2012, Orianthi performed at a Benefit Concert for us – then known as the Rock School Scholarship Fund – along with American Idol finalist James Durbin. www.orianthi.artistintersect.com
Vicki Peterson is a US musician (guitar, vocals). In 1981 she founded The Bangs, later renamed The Bangles, with her sister Debbi Peterson and Susanna Hoffs.
After The Bangles disbanded in 1989, Peterson played with the Continental Drifters and The Psycho Sisters, in both cases alongside Susan Cowsill (whose brother John became her husband in October 2003). In addition to performing their own material, The Psycho Sisters freelanced as celebrity background singers (Steve Wynn’s Fluorescent, Giant Sand’s Center of the Universe}, and Peterson has also contributed harmony vocals to recordings by the Hoodoo Gurus, John Doe and Belinda Carlisle. Additionally, she replaced a pregnant Charlotte Caffey on The Go-Go’s 1994-95 reunion tour. In 2000 The Bangles reunited, and they currently have a new studio album, “Sweetheart Of The Sun.” Vicki was a VIP judge along with Dave Matthews and other artists in our 2013 Youth Songwriter Program with Carnegie Hall and the Casterbridge Music Development Academy in South Africa. www.thebangles.com
Rudy Sarzo is an accomplished rock and roll bass player who has been a part of some of the greatest recorded music and live performances in classic rock history. His track record reads like a who’s who of rock, with stints in Quiet Riot, Ozzy Osbourne’s “Blizzard of Ozz” touring band, Whitesnake, Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force, Dio and Blue Oyster Cult. In May 2011, Rudy led the panel of celebrity judges selecting the winners of a youth rock band fundraiser and competition at Guitar Center Hollywood. The winning student band went on to perform at The Whisky during the Sunset Strip Music Festival.
American rock drummer and percussionist Matt Sorum is most famous for his 7-year stint in Guns N’ Roses (1990–1997) and supergroup Velvet Revolver (2002–present), which is comprised in part of former Guns N’ Roses members Duff McKagan (bass) and Slash (lead guitar). He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Guns N’ Roses in 2012. A passionate champion of arts education for children, Sorum also founded Adopt The Arts, a non-profit organization dedicated to keeping music and the arts in schools. In February 2013, Matt performed at a fundraiser that we did with Project Green – as did The Changels, a young girl’s choir supported by Matt’s charitable efforts. www.mattsorum.com
Dave Stewart is an English musician, songwriter and record producer, best known for his work with Eurythmics. Stewart produced or co-produced all of Eurythmics’ albums and, once the band became established, he also became a producer of other artists. In 1985, as well as producing Eurythmics’ hit album Be Yourself Tonight, Stewart co-produced the album Southern Accents for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, as well as co-writing several songs for the album including the hit “Don’t Come Around Here No More.”
A frequent collaborator, he has co-written or co-produced songs with numerous artists, including Jon Bon Jovi, Celine Dion, Bob Geldof, No Doubt, Bryan Ferry, Mick Jagger, and many more. Dave Stewart, along with Ann Marie Calhoun and Judith Hill, performed at our first benefit concert, in September 2010.
Special Thanks To These Founding Board Members: