"I believe the children are our future / teach them well and let them lead the way." When the great Whitney Houston sung those timeless words in 1985, the world was a very different place. Ronald Reagan was president. Scientists had just discovered the hole in the ozone layer. And Motörhead, the seminal British metal band helmed by singer, bassist, and famously hard partier Lemmy Kilmister, were celebrating their 10th anniversary with an ear-pummeling London show later released as the live video The Birthday Party.
While it's unlikely that "The Greatest Love of All" was meant to suggest our best bet for the future of humanity involved teaching small children about heavy metal, a lot can change in three decades. With the Trump Administration promising to slash federal funding for the arts and a new education secretary whose appointment was hotly contested by public school advocates, it's safe to say extracurricular programs that expose kids to music, theater, visual art and the like are going to be more important than ever these next four years.
That's Reason No. 1 that you should go see the young musicians of the San Francisco Rock Project shred on a bunch of Motörhead songs this Sunday, March 12, at Thee Parkside in San Francisco. The nonprofit music school offers year-round, performance-based mentorship programs for students aged 7 to 17; sliding-scale tuition assistance helps make their classes available to families for whom music lessons would otherwise be unaffordable. In their time, they've inspired these budding musicians to cover everything from Judas Priest and the Ramones to Bikini Kill.
If for some reason you need another reason to go: It's been about 14 months since Kilmister died at the age of 70, and while venue calendars still seem to be overflowing with David Bowie and Prince tribute shows (not complaining), a Lemmy tribute show -- never mind one featuring kids -- is a rare and beautiful thing indeed. Rounding out the day's programming will be original songs written and performed by the students of SFRP.
Seeing as the event's stars are children, one can only hope neither Lemmy-level profanity nor substance abuse will be part of the afternoon's programming. But we have to think he'd be just as pleased by the thought of passionate youngsters ripping through "Iron Fist" in his honor onstage at perhaps the coziest, most punk rock dive in the city. Let them lead the way, indeed.
The San Francisco Rock Project Tribute to Motörhead kicks off at noon this Sunday, March 12, at Thee Parkside in San Francisco. Details and tickets ($5 suggested donation) are here.