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THE GUITARIST'S RECORDED WORK REFLECTS AN ARTIST WHO IS IN TOUCH WITH HIS INFLUENCES AND POSSESSES A SPIRIT AND PASSION THAT IS THE REAL DEAL. HIS RIFFS ARE TAUT AND WELL CONCTRUCTED, THE GROOVES ARE LEAN AND UNCLUTTERED AND HIS HELLACIOUS TONAL PALETTE WOULD PROMPT MANY TWICE HIS AGE TO SALVIATE. - MUSIC CONNECTION FEB. 2006


Belleville teen builds on film success with his new band
BY BRIAN McCOLLUM
FREE PRESS POP MUSIC WRITER

In 2003's "School of Rock," the Jack Black comedy and surprise box-office smash, Joey Gaydos Jr. portrayed a young guitar whiz named Zack, helping lead the way for his talented fifth-grade band.

These days, back home in Belleville and away from the studio lights, 15-year-old Gaydos is making a run for off-screen rock glory, peddling heavy classic rock and catching the ears of music aficionados around metro Detroit.

He's the songwriter, guitarist and vocalist at the heart of Joey Gaydos Group, which will continue its summer public rollout with a Saturday performance at the Chrysler Arts, Beats & Eats festival in Pontiac. It comes a month after the self-issued release of the trio's debut album, "On Display," which Gaydos accurately describes as a cross between Stone Temple Pilots and Led Zeppelin, with a little Creem thrown in.

That album is actually the second post-"School of Rock" record for Gaydos, who in 2003 released a more pop-oriented solo disc that he diplomatically looks back on as "the best it could have been for that time."

"I really wanted to start coming into my own with my writing style," Gaydos says, "so I decided to form a band. I couldn't play live just as a solo project."

On stage and record, he's joined by a pair of seasoned players, 25-year-old drummer Nick Brandon and 27-year-old bassist Jonathan Redmond, both of Ann Arbor. They made the cut after auditions last year.

"After the three of us jammed, that was just it -- we felt the chemistry after jamming off the top of our heads," says Gaydos. "Our musical backgrounds came into one, and it just felt right."

The musical background runs deep for Gaydos, a Huron High School sophomore who plays on the junior varsity soccer team. His father, Joey Gaydos Sr., is a longtime figure on the west side music circuit, having played guitar in bands alongside revered rockers like the late Cub Koda and Rob Tyner. Today he serves as his son's musical manager booking gigs, arranging interviews and generally "getting things done," as the younger Gaydos puts it.

Gaydos Jr., who began playing guitar when he was 9, grew up saturated in classic rock. In an era of hip-hop-dominated teen culture, Gaydos speaks the language of rock 'n' roll, eagerly rattling off observations about performers and styles past and present. It made him a natural on the "School of Rock" set with Black, the actor and famously learned rock fan who plies his musical shtick with the side group Tenacious D.

"With the help from my dad and parents when I was young, I knew quite a bit about rock music," says Gaydos. "There were times on the set when I was talking to Jack, telling each other about this band or that. When we started the movie I had a pretty good knowledge already, as well as how I played guitar."

On the new album, Gaydos' guitar work stands out. A fluid player with a fat, crisp tone -- he's drawn to the time-tested combination of Gibson guitars and Marshall amps -- Gaydos musically nods to touchstone players such as Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and Jimi Hendrix.

"I'd describe our sound as a dynamic hard rock power trio," says Gaydos, "taking old rock elements, mixing new rock elements, and throwing in the backgrounds of all of us, whether jazz, blues, pop or rock, and making it into one big hard rock machine."

"School of Rock" certainly paid dividends to Gaydos: He's got a home studio loaded with music gear, including "tons of guitars," much of it purchased with his Paramount Pictures paycheck. And it certainly hasn't hurt the publicity game as he seeks to make a name for his band.

But while Gaydos appreciates the attention drummed up by his film role -- he continues to hold a contract with the Fox Entertainment Group -- he's pretty sure he knows where he wants to devote his energy right now.

"This seems natural. It doesn't seem natural for me to move to L.A. and pursue an acting career," he says. "But it does seem natural to be in this band and try to make something of it."

Contact BRIAN McCOLLUM at 313-223-4450 or b mccollum@freepress.com.

Copyright © 2006 Detroit Free Press Inc.

- DETROIT FREE PRESS


Discography

SCHOOL OF ROCK SOUNDTRACK-ATLANTIC 2003
JOEY GAYDOS JR. - DEBUT ALBUM 2004
JOEY GAYDOS GROUP - ON DISPLAY EP 2006

TRACKS CAN ALSO BE HEARD AT www.joeygaydosjr.net AND AT MY SPACE-JOEY GAYDOS GROUP

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Background:
While growing up, music was constant in my household. My parents were always listening to everything from The Beatles to Led Zeppelin to ZZ Top and just about everything else in between. I was inspired by my father, who plays guitar, to start playing guitar around the age of 10. When I was 11 years old, I was fortunate enough to co-star alongside Jack Black in the Paramount film SCHOOL OF ROCK”. Not only did I get to act in a major motion picture, but I got to play my guitar in the movie, which is my first love. After traveling around the world doing promotion for “School of Rock”, I returned back to Michigan, and recorded a batch of songs that I had been writing. Those songs turned out to be my self-titled debut album, which featured an outstanding musician Donn Deniston on drums, and Joe Gaydos Sr., (my dad) on bass. The record was a great first effort, and was well received both locally and internationally.
Through 2004 and early 2005, I continued to write new material. By now I felt it was time to form my own band with hopefully a group of like minded musicians. After a long and some what frustrating audition process, I was very impressed by the drumming skills of Nick Brandon. Although Nick would have been my first choice to fill the spot, I debated whether or not to try and find musicians closer to my own age. That idea went straight out the window after reviewing the audition tape, Nick was defiantly in. I still had not found a bassist until my dad suggested a guy that he had jammed with named Jonathon Redmond. A rehearsal was scheduled with Jonathon, needless to say he impressed both myself and Nick with his extraordinary musical abilities. The “Joey Gaydos Group” was now a reality.