I Wanna Be a Rock Star

In my 3rd form year, Te Awamutu College was a musical vacuum. There was an orchestra in which I played percussion, but it was 98% naff, with miserable old instruments and minimal teacher support. The end-of-year productions were somewhat better and went down quite well with audiences. We also got to do occasional variety-type performances like the Custard Squares below. Sadly, most of the time playing music was just slightly more cool than doing ballet.

The Incredible Custard Squares (I'm the fat bastard under the hair)

The breakthrough came in my 4th form when two things happened. Firstly, a few mates and I finally learnt enough about drums, bass and guitars to attempt to form a band. We struggled doggedly for the next year or so to become good enough to appear in public. Secondly, several new teachers arrived who revitalised the music department. By the 5th form, things were starting to look promising.

The timing was perfect. There hadn't been anything in the way of student music for ages and live bands weren't really available to young teenagers. Just by virtue of owning electric instruments, we were endowed by our peers with "muso" status and mistakenly perceived as ground-breakers. Our poor schoolmates couldn't tell how bad we were because they had no-one to compare us to.

Drumathon to raise funds for the Te Awamutu Municipal Brass Band.
From left: Me, Shaun Joyce, Wayne Lim.
This photo appeared in the Te Awamutu Courier.

From this point on, music had changed my life. It was suddenly a safe and reliable way to be cool, and it worked a treat. I quickly learnt that being in a band gave you respect amongst virtually all social groups at school -- priceless stuff for a struggling geeky adolescent.

Practicing in the music room during lunch break.
From left: Shaun, me, Wayne.