School Of Rock kids play with Guns N' Roses heroes
9:40am Wednesday 13th October 2010
By Tom Jennings

WANNABE music stars got to jam with their heroes yesterday when members of US rock legends Guns N’ Roses came to town.

Lead guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal and drummer Frank Ferrer joined aspiring rock stars from Witchwood School of Rock at Fat Lil’s, in Corn Street, Witney.

They performed several classic Guns N’ Roses songs, including Paradise City and some of the youngsters’ own tunes.

Harry Nolan, 13, who played bass guitar was stunned he got to play along on one of the group’s biggest hits.

Guitarist Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, front, and drummer Frank Ferrer, back, with Witney group Elm, from left, Eddie Finch, Harry Nolan and Oscar Finch

He said: “I love Guns N’ Roses and Sweet Child o’ Mine inspired me to want to play a bass. I never thought I would be able to play with them. It’s great.”

Marnie Wood, 16, sang some of her band’s tunes with Ron Thal and said: “At the start of one of our songs Ron noodled a bit – it was brilliant.

“It’s the best experience I have ever had with singing.”

Mr Thal said: “We get to do something besides waking up in a hotel room, driving on the bus and playing on the stage, we get to be human and interact and share in a more personal way.

“When you’re on stage there’s a bit of a connection there, but not like this.

“You can’t stop a Guns N’ Roses show and say: ‘Hey, does anybody have questions?’ “The thing is, when we started we were kids, we were them, and we wish we had something like this back then.”

Mr Ferrer said: “Talking to the kids is always great.

“Time is tough on the road, but we try and make time for this, especially for something like this.

“This is a big deal for them, but it’s a big deal for us too. We never get to come to a town and meet real people.”

Witchwood School of Rock events organiser Mike Dove said he got them to appear after contacting Mr Thal to get a School of Rock T-shirt signed for publicity.

Mr Dove said: “He came back to us and proposed the idea of coming to jam with our kids when he was next touring England, and now they’re here.

“It’s bonkers – we can’t believe this has happened to us.

“This is just what we were looking for to move to the next stage and to spread the message out there to people about how important the rock school is and what we can do.”

The aspiring rock stars have already played to hundreds of people at the Witney Music Festival in March and Fat Lil’s in June. They play the town’s Corn Exchange on October 29.

The celebrations coincide with the opening of a new branch of the rock school at Henry Box School, on November 4.

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