Young metalheads get chance to make a noise

By Hannah Norton

With tickets to Black Sabbath's Auckland show in April selling out within minutes, there's no doubt the heavy metallers among us are still alive and well.

In fact Waipu's self-confessed "metal head" Niel de Jong is waiting to hear from the organisers of the concert whether his school-aged sons will be able to play alongside the band "widely regarded as the band who started the heavy metal genre," he said.

"Wouldn't it be cool if the world's youngest metallers came together and played with the world's oldest metallers?"

Any young, budding Northland Ozzy Osbournes aged between 10 and 16 can sharpen and hone their skills at a heavy metal workshop run by Mr de Jong at Wards Music in Whangarei on February 16.

He got the idea after watching his sons, Henry, 12, and Lewis, 10, perform at the Smokefree Rockquest last year. "There were a lot of bands that could have been quite good, but the kids didn't have any stage presence or stage craft. They still looked like they were standing in the corner of a music room."

He is doing a leadership course through Landmark Education and as part of the programme he has to take on a community project that spans two communities he's involved with: namely school-age boys and heavy metal music.

"It may seem an unusual choice ... but having spent my teenage years as a 'misunderstood' metal head, I can fully appreciate the influence that metal and hard rock can have on boys.

"I see this as a way of getting these kids out of their bedrooms and into a space where they can feel the power of co-operating with others in a way that can get them performing in bands."

He said the workshop would cover aspects of music history, stage craft, equipment set-up and live performance, assisted by his friend Andy Woodd of metal band Cripple Mr Onion. "We are also planning to throw in fun modules like an air guitar competition and design your own scary metal T-shirt workshop."

Kids needed a "minimum of a year's experience playing an instrument".

Interested young metalheads should text Niel on 021831888.

- Northern Advocate

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