With Bristol Rock Centre, you 'll be taught by people who love what they do, right from the outset. Meet Chris, Becky, Jonny, Rich, Joe, Kate, Tobias and Iain.
Only two living people have ever seen Becky without full make-up. One of these had their eyes gouged out in an 'unrelated' incident, the other has become a recluse and resides in a monastery in the Himalayas.
Becky manages to play more gigs than we thought was possible. We're pretty sure she secretly undertook a degree in genetic engineering which enabled her to send an army of clones to take over the UK gig circuit. As well as performing with about 826 bands, Becky has worked with the Rockschool Examination board, recording promotional videos, performing in the Rockschool band and helping to write bass books and theory exams. She also features in 'Let's Rock! Bass', helped to create the new Rockschool vocal syllabus and has recorded tracks for Total Guitar Magazine.
Some of Becky's current musical projects include: trans-atlantic hard rock band 'Dorja', heavy metal band 'Triaxis' and rock trio 'IDestroy'. Becky has performed on 3 released albums and dozens of singles and EPs, and toured throughout the UK and Europe. Check out Becky’s website HERE. Interested in Rockschool? Check out Becky performing a Rockschool track!
Rich once had a date with a biker chick called Laverne, who was most disappointed when she found out he wasn't actually Ronnie James Dio. Rich often entertains unsuspecting guests by reciting the full scripts to Full Metal Jacket and Pulp Fiction.
Rich has been playing guitar for over 100 years, but still has most of his hair. He was brought up in Birmingham in the 1970's, aspiring to follow in the footsteps of the great guitarists of that era, such as Tony Iommi and Richie Blackmore. Rich learned his playing skills from the late, great Gypie Mayo of Dr Feelgood and The Yardbirds fame. He also studied classical sitar in Benares, North India, taught by the legendary guruji Dr Rajban Singh. Since then he has eaten curry at least five times a week and plays really weird scales. Rich has played in some "legendary" bands such as 'The Acid Squirrels', 'Charity Shop', 'The Unconditional Future', 'Krisis' and currently plays in freakbeat rock band 'Psychedrive'. Rich's main interests are dark chocolate, red wine and origami.
“Another storming lesson today! Thank you Richard Thornton, you were really on form - feeling awesome!”
Chris first picked up the classical guitar at the age of 9 but ditched it immediately when he discovered the electric guitar was way cooler and way louder. He later took up vocals once he realised how much he liked the sound of his own voice. His falsetto screams have been known to shatter windows and encourage bats back into the neighbourhood. Chris currently performs lead vocals in metal tribute band 'Metalhead', channelling some of the greatest singers of rock history, such as Bruce Dickinson and Phil Anselmo. He also sings in original metal bands 'Endeavour' and 'One Machine' where he imitates Taz (the Tasmanian Devil). Since his teens, Chris has played guitar in a ton of rock and metal bands and has picked up music production techniques through the many projects he has recorded. Chris has contributed exam material to Rockschool's guitar, bass and vocal grades and has taught vocal workshops at Bath Spa University.
Iain is often mistaken for the Elf Warrior who we think might be called 'Legoland'. Early in his career, limits to Iain's mindblowing shredding speed were legally enforced after a school assembly performance resulted in 23 air guitar related injuries.
Born and raised in in the lands of Rome, Iain has been involved in music since the age of 13, playing guitar and writing music throughout the years to meticulously hone his craft and musical identity. His travels once brought him to North Korea and escaped with state secrets to weapons-grade shredding.
Iain is best known as the guitarist for Thrash legends Onslaught and Bristol based progressive metal band Endeavour with fellow BRC tutor Chris Hawkins. He likes to experiment and expand his musical palette, having played in funk-rock bands and previously composing pieces for small classical ensembles, piano and a saxophone quartet.
Iain has worked with BRC for over two years now and has recently become a tutor at City of Bath College. When Iain is not in the classroom, he is touring internationally, playing enormous festivals such as Hellfest and Bloodstock.
“Joe has been teaching my son drums for over six months now, he is very easy going and works at my son's pace. Joe's love of teaching is certainly contagious and this shows when my son comes out of each lesson saying "That was awesome!" - you can't get better than that!”
Kate’s unique stage tights were especially woven by an elite squad of Himalayan Jumping Spiders
Originally from Birmingham, Kate is classically trained and has studied grades in classical singing, music theory, clarinet and saxophone. After starting out in opera and musical theatre, Kate found her true calling in alternative and popular music thirteen years ago and has been performing in bands ever since.
Over the years, Kate has been a part of many projects of varying different genres and has performed at such events as the National Rock and Pop Festival, the Royal Cornwall Show and the Quinphonic Festival. Kate has featured on several tracks as a session vocalist as well as recording for past and current musical projects. Kate is the ex-frontwoman of Cornwall based folk duo “Kvist” and Bristol melodic metal band; “Control The Storm” who released their debut album “Beast Inside” in March 2015. Kate is now the lead vocalist of Bristol based function bands “The Gecko Blasters” and “The Franssen Effect”, 60's Freakbeat band; “Psychedrive” and alternative rock band “Feed The Fire”.
Kate’s vocal style is varied and ranges from opera, musical theatre and choral to jazz, pop and rock. Kate loves nothing more than to musically experiment in her kitchen at 3am with a large glass of wine.
Joe is a devoted vegan who loves bananas so much that he has them grated onto his pizza instead of cheese.
When it comes to playing the drums, Joe’s an all rounder with live and studio experience in a range of styles such as pop, funk, jazz, rock & heavy metal, musical theatre, Latin, Hip-Hop, and many more.
As well as playing in bands for more than 10 years, Joe has studied with some of the finest drummers and educators the UK has to offer such as Jason Bowld (Bullet For My Valentine, Bill Bailey, Pitchshifter) James Hester (Rhythm Magazine, Cars on Fire), Professor Albus Dumbledore (Wizard, The Warlocks), Dom Greensmith (Reef), Mark Whitlam (Freelance Jazz Drummer), Severus Snape (Nine Inch Nails, Black Veil Brides) and Keiron Pepper (The Prodigy).
These days, if he’s not out performing or recording, he’s working at home writing music for Video Games, Podcasts, and YouTube videos.
A single rehearsal with Joe can produce enough drumstick sawdust to cover an entire day's worth of vomit at Thorpe Park.
Joe lost most of his hair in an unfortunate argument with a ceiling fan, but has surprisingly managed to retain his musical prowess. He has been tutored by some of the UK's finest professional drummers such as James Hester (Cars on fire) Jason Bowld (Pitchshifter, This is menace, Bill Bailey) Dom Greensmith (Reef) Mark Whitlam (Freelance Jazz Drummer) and Keiran Pepper (The Prodigy) - and he is ready to pass this wealth of knowledge and experience on to his students!
Joe has found himself on the throne for a wide range of bands, showcasing his versatility, including double-kick metal mentalism in 'Witness to An End', Alt/Funk/Rock in 'Artikae', and Motown/Blues/Funk in 'The Coochie Club'. Legend has it that Joe even did a jazz gig once, though he denies it to this day.
Not only is Joe an exceptionally talented drummer, he is also a very skilled bassist and guitarist in many styles, from funk to metal. Some might say he is a jack of all trades and master of puppets.
Nobody knows what AJ keeps inside his beanie hat, but current thinking leads us to speculate that he stores his mother's secret yorkshire pudding recipe, a Trevor McDonald action figure and a small lump of cheese.
AJ Rousell is a professional drummer/percussionist based in Bristol (UK). Since the age of 12, he spent the following decade developing his craft, which included studying at a number of highly respected institutions (including the Bristol Institute of Modern Music). AJ has received tuition from some of the biggest names in the drumming world including James Hester (Lily Allen, Malakai), Jason Bowld (Pitch Shifter, Bullet For My Valentine, Fightstar), Benny Greb, JP Bouvet, Mike Johnston, Craig Blundell and Matt Halpern.
AJ began expanding his experience by working with a variety of bands and solo artists, building a reputation as a reliable, diverse and skilled player. Having performed at a number of different venues, festivals, radio stations and studios; AJ began playing with Makala Cheung in 2013 and has become the Musical Director for her live performances. AJ is quickly becoming a well known name in Bristol as a player and an educator; and he is showing no signs of slowing down!
Visit AJ's website for more information about him and his projects.
Despite his bad boy image, Cameron loves nothing better than staying home and cuddling his kitty.
Cameron is the Bristol Rock Centre apprentice. Having studied guitar with Rich Thornton (BRC director) since the age of 9, he has been a great ambassador for BRC, involving himself in a variety of the school’s activities as well as the wider Bristol music scene. Now aged 17, Cameron studies music performance at Bath College with the aim of making music his long term career. For some work experience, he has been offering lessons at BRC on Sundays, with great results. Cameron can teach up to about grade 5 guitar, and up to grade 3 drums and bass. As Cameron is still undergoing teacher training, lessons are discounted to just £17 per hour, and remain under the guidance of Director Rich Thornton.
Jonny holds the world record for playing the most screaming pinch harmonics at a wedding gig. Jonny's well spoken demeanour and radical hairdo had us pretty convinced we were hiring the real-life Sideshow Bob.
Jonny works as an international criminal mastermind in between guitar lessons. He has written for Total Guitar and Guitar Techniques magazines and has taught at the International Guitar Festivals in Bath, London, Newcastle, and Cheltenham, as well as for the music colleges BIMM and Access to Music.
Jonny played guitar on the album Redux:Europe by Kee Marcello of Europe, which peaked at #9 on the Swedish album chart. As well as touring all over Europe, he has also performed on BBC and ITV.
Tobias has an interesting fashion sense - the other month he went to Dismaland and people thought he was an exhibit.
Tobias has worked as a professional musician for 10 years. Originally self taught on drums, he went on to study for both BTEC and degree level qualifications in music (specialising in drums).
Tobias has worked with function bands and with original music in live, touring and studio situations. These areas of work have led Tobias to play gigs supporting Calvin Harris and the Noisettes, and playing with multi award winner Soweto Kinch. Tobias' work has had radio play, both in the UK and in the US, he also spent a year working as a session musician in Paris. Tobias also once managed an A&R team of 20 people for a record label, this reminded him of how much he loves hitting things, so back to drumming he went!
Tutors and students benefit from lessons within a rock n' roller's natural habitat - a dedicated studio packed with great gear and resources, in a building capable of withstanding even the seismic rumbles of Lemmy's Marshall stack!Read about our studio Or just book now!