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13 November 2014

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You are in: Suffolk > Entertainment > Music > Features > Rock School: after graduation

Chris Hardman

Lil' Chris

Rock School: after graduation

The members of Gene Simmons' Rock School band went from Kirkley High in Lowestoft to supporting Judas Priest in Los Angeles. Since then, Lil' Chris has taken the charts by storm with his number three hit, 'Checkin' it out'.

2006 is gearing up to be a massive one for the 15 year old Kirkley High schoolboy who's now known as Lil' Chris.  The second series of Channel 4's Rock School ended with the pint-sized would-be pop star fronting Hoax UK as they supported Judas Priest and Anthrax in LA.  The children's teacher/mentor "Sir" Gene Simmons was hopeful that the youngsters had at least been inspired to do something with their lives - and so it's proving.

Chris Hardman at the Suffolk Show 2006

Lil' Chris at the Suffolk Show 2006

Check him out

Chris released his first single 'Checkin' It Out' on RCA on 25th September 2006 and it went straight into the chart at number 3.   The record's producers are Ray Hedges and Nigel Butler and the pair have previously worked or written for Take That, Bewitched, Steps, Towers Of London and even Tom Jones. On his first single Chris does a Kevin Rowland (Dexy's Midnight Runners) vocal trill.

The record company blurb describes Chris as 'The Voice of Generation Next' and 'Bart Simpson four years on', which is better than 'Flanders twenty years previously' I suppose.  An album is due out before the end of 2006.

Chris Hardman

Get permission from an adult first, kids

Chris took the BBC Radio Suffolk stage by storm at the Suffolk Show with a three song set (he played 'Checkin' It Out' twice) which attracted a small army of teenage girls.  His band is made up of fellow Lowestoft musicians Ollie Bagley (bass), Will Cook (drums) and Nathan Slater (guitar).  They're hoping to continue a Lowestoft musical lineage which includes former Kirkley pupils The Darkness and Benjamin Britten.

Mr Simmons' advice

Lil' Chris says he's taken three pieces of Gene Simmons' advice to heart: the harder you work, the more you get out of it; don't get ahead of yourself or get bigheaded; when you do a gig, never worry about mucking up - that's all part of it.

It'll be interesting to see if the he can stick to all of these in the future. 

Click on the links on the right for lots more Rock School and Lil' Chris features.  You can hear the single by visiting Chris' RCA website>>

The Upraw

As for the girls - their single was out earlier this year.  'Make My Way' is a guitar-driven stormer with softer keyboard interludes - very much in the loud/quite style of Nirvana or The Pixies.

Guitarist Samanie Warren and bassist Linde Rose are the only 2 members of The Upraw who got selected for the Rock School band.  Just to prove there's no jealousy , they've teamed up with three of the other girls who didn't get chosen by Gene Simmons -  singer Ellie Chapman and drummer Lauren Pashley. Keyboard player Lily Vincent played on 'Make My Way' but she's since left the band.  The management are to hold auditions for a replacement (see The Upraw's website for details using the link on the right>>)

The Upraw at Kirkley High School

The Upraw rehearsing at school

Their single's been produced by Jimmie Clarke and Mike Deal of Broeknrule Records which is based in nearby Norwich.  On the single, Ellie's certainly proving she's got a voice, even if Chris was selected ahead of her by Gene Simmons.

last updated: 01/07/2009 at 10:17
created: 09/05/2006

You are in: Suffolk > Entertainment > Music > Features > Rock School: after graduation

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