By Perry and Traci
We got a call late Friday night, December 1st, from Pastor Z one of our California QT Correspondents, to tell us that he was going to be in Phoenix the next day for the Charity Ride Benefiting Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock. Pastor Z rode out here with his chapter of the Bikers For Christ MC from California. Sooooooo Saturday, Dec. 2nd, the following morning, we headed out for Alice Cooper’s “The Rock Teen Center,” about 10 miles north of our place in Phoenix, Arizona; the weather was beautiful, about 75 degrees and sunny… The riders gathered to register and buy raffle tickets. There were tables with numerous raffle prizes lining the sidewalk by the entrance to the Teen Center, and this was also the starting point of the ride. The Charity Ride was sponsored by Bikers For Christ MC (BFC), Law Tigers, and Desert Wind Harley-Davidson.
There was a tour of the Teen Center given by Randy Spencer, Branding and Partnerships, Alice Cooper’s Solid Rock. The Center is very impressive with an art room, music room, recreation room, community room with Christmas trees, couches, kitchen, and a theater with a stage. Massive paintings by staff and students decorate the rooms and halls of the facility; most paintings signed by the artist and giving thanks to the Center, direct evidence of the Center’s success. The Rock offers music and art lessons, GED classes, tutoring, support groups and a safe place where teens can come after school. We also had the opportunity to speak with Dave Little who is one of many “volunteers” there. Dave teaches guitar there and also rides. Why I say “volunteers” is that some of them are paid a small amount for their services. They currently have 75 kids attending regularly during the school year.
Every year Solid Rock hosts a talent competition of youth bands and the winner of the “Proof is in the Pudding” contest gets to open for Alice Cooper, and also receives $1000. The services provided by the Teen Center are free of charge and run mainly on donations. Next door to the Teen Center is Studio 164, a non-affiliated hall used for meetings that deal with recovery from addictions. These go on throughout the day and into the night to help folks in recovery. Alice Cooper’s Teen Center is a ”faith-based Christian Center”; after a little research by us through firsthand accounts, we found that there is no discrimination based on religion, race, or sexual identity. Alice Cooper’s Teen Center is pretty cool. That being said, there are a lot of Christians there, but they aren’t going to tackle you and make you see the Lord. It’s a safe place wanting to help kids stay off the street.
The run ended at Desert Wind Harley-Davidson where there were vendors, raffles, and bands. We got to hear the teen musicians from: Alice Cooper’s The Rock Teen Center, The School of Rock, and Arcadia High School. Kids in attendance were from the bands “Innocent Slaine”, “Don’t Tell Mom”, and “CMAS” (Creative Music Arts and Sciences under the direction of Richard Maxwell) respectively. All the kids were incredible; close your eyes and you would never know that they were just kids. Pastor Z’s band, the BFC’s own Full Throttle Band, performed great with these teens from various teen learning centers.
Dale James AKA “Zippy” (13 year-old from Don’t Tell Mom) really stood out tearing it up on lead guitar with an amazing solo. Conrad Valera (16) also helped with lead guitar as well as a young lady named Allie who helped on lead vocals. Pastor Z said while playing his bass: “I think we will take these kids on tour with us.” The Full Throttle Band sounds like a mixture of The J. Geils Band, ZZ Top, and CCR. If you like Jazz, they are the Rock band to see. Even though a lot of these kids, ranging in ages from 11-16 years, have already had experience being on stage with Alice Cooper and a lot of famous folks; that did not stop them from showing their admiration for Eric Turner, lead guitar and vocals, Pastor Z on bass and vocals, and guest drummer Rick Lebrun behind them as they played. These kids were truly impressed by the band they were playing with…
The raffle prizes were announced throughout the afternoon. We won a bike part for our Road King (a sissy bar bracket) I don’t think half the folks knew what it was, including me, I just liked the shiny bolts and I needed another bike part to add to my collection, Traci was thrilled at my win…”Oh boy another part for you to save,” she says… hey now. Ya never know, my backrest bracket could break …right? You guys know exactly what I’m talkin bout; we NEED this stuff! We purchased a poster from last year’s Christmas Pudding at Celebrity Theater with signatures from all the bands that came: Korn, Gin Blossoms, Sammy Hagar, Johnny Depp and Alice Cooper himself. We missed the Christmas Pudding this year, but next year…
–See more photos at www.quickthrottle.com in the Gallery!