‘Rock School’ Kids Tell Off Their Teacher

Film's star interviews his students — and Alice Cooper!

Long before Jack Black strapped on a guitar for “School of Rock,” failed guitar god Paul Green opened the real School of Rock, an after-school learning center for kids in Philadelphia who aspire to be the next Ozzy, Angus or Billie.

After observing Green with his students, it took local filmmaker Don Argott all of 10 minutes to decide to make a documentary about the school. The end result, “Rock School” — which opens in select cities Friday (go to www.rockschoolthemovie.com for listings) — exposes the world to the complex character that is Green, a quick-witted dork with a heart of gold.

With that in mind, rather than doing a standard interview with Green at the Sundance Film Festival — where “Rock School” debuted to rave reviews — MTV News gave him the microphone and let him interview Argott, some of his students, and one of his idols (who performed with the Rock School band at Sundance), Alice Cooper.

Paul Green: Don, in making a movie about a rock icon such as myself, what was the biggest challenge?

Don Argott: I think the biggest challenge, honestly, is that you are a very complex character, and I think you walk that very fine line between angel and devil. I think what we tried to do is really balance the film so you didn’t come across as too mean or too nice, which I think is very true to who you are.

Green: Were there any scenes that were difficult for you to include, that you thought would resonated a little too sourly with the audience?

Argott: There actually were quite a few of them and we had to choose the scenes very carefully because, again, I think your teaching style is very unique and I think that it can be misconstrued and taken the wrong way by the wrong type of person. There are a lot of scenes that we really had to be careful that we didn’t mislead the audience into thinking something about you that we didn’t want them to think.

Green: This is C.J. [C.J. Tywoniak, guitar prodigy and Green's most accomplished student]. C.J.’s really good now, but you vultures [reading or watching this] will probably pick at his bones, and he’ll be getting major facial surgery and skin lightening by the time he’s 22. How does that make you feel?

Tywoniak: I don’t know.

Green: Do you know that no child star has ever made it and not been completely insane by the time they’re 24? How does that make you feel?

Tywoniak: It doesn’t really …

Green: This is C.J.’s mother — in other words, a soon-to-be-wealthy woman. How do you plan to exploit your boy’s talents for mass financial gain?

C.J.’s mother: Absolutely not at all. He’s rich in spirit and he’s got great talent, so I don’t have to do anything. I just have to support him.

Green: Isn’t that great? But boring. This is Madi [Diaz, a Quaker singer who receives much wrath from Green in "Rock School"]. Madi and I really have a very good relationship.

Diaz: We love each other.

Green: The thing about Madi is her work ethic — it’s second to none.

Diaz: Green, I’m going to pull the plug.

Green: Seriously, after the movie, Madi and I had a little bit of a falling-out and I’m honestly — and I say this without a hint of sarcasm — I’m really amazed by the opportunity to have her back ’cause she’s a phenomenal talent.

Diaz: Seriously?

Tucker and Asa Collins, twin metal heads who started at the School of Rock as nine-year-olds, and their mother, Andrea.

Green: Hi, little girl. What’s your name?

Tucker Collins: [Hits Green] First of all, Green, I am a boy. You have known me for three years.

Green: Really? Why do you still play with dollies? I’m just kidding. In your tiny chest beats the heart of rock ‘n’ roll. So Asa [Collins, who appears in the film's poster], how do you feel having to grow up as “That Kid From That Movie Poster?

Asa Collins: Well, in a way …

Green: Hey, aren’t you that kid from that movie poster?

Asa: I feel excited, yet sort of nervous about that.

Green: So Andrea [Tucker and Asa's mom], when are you going to pay your tuition to the school?

Andrea: I was hoping somebody else out there would fall in love with my children and send money to me or Green to pay their tuition.

Dom Milandro, another one of the school’s guitar prodigies.

Green: Dom [another Rock School guitar prodigy] — how old are you?

Dom Milandro: 16

Green: Let’s be serious for a minute. Dom, do you have a girlfriend?

Milandro: Not yet.

Green: What’s the furthest you’ve ever gone with a girl?

Milandro: Man, I’m not going to answer this question on MTV.

Green: Mr. Alice Cooper, do you know that you’re the man?

Cooper: According to some of the kids, I’m the man. I think I scared them in a few movies and things like that, so I have some credibility.

Green: Is this the youngest backup band you’ve ever had?

Cooper: Absolutely. My original band was 16 years old, when I first started. And I never wanted any younger than that, but these guys can play. I was really surprised. I got there in rehearsal and they were doing “21st Century Schizoid Man” by King Crimson. They’re 12 years old and I’m going, “My band won’t even try that song.”

Green: That’s my fault. I’m a big old hard-rock head. Is there anything you can impart to these young rock n’ rollers as they embark on their own careers?

Cooper: Attitude. It’s all attitude. Once you get up there and you know the parts, sell it. It’s not so much singing the song, but selling the song. You know, Rod Stewart can sing a song; I can sell a song. You gotta get it right in the face. Once you get on that stage and you got all that adrenaline coming and you got all that music behind you, the audience is yours. Take them!

Relive everything big, bad, hairy and awesome from the last 365 days in film when the 2005 MTV Movie Awards air Thursday, June 9 at 8:30 p.m. The action kicks off a half an hour earlier with MTV News’ pre-show when the red carpet action, celebrity interviews and surprises begin at 8 p.m.

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Relive everything big, bad, hairy and awesome from the last 365 days in film when the 2005 MTV Movie Awards air Thursday, June 9 at 8:30 p.m. The action kicks off a half an hour earlier with MTV News’ pre-show when the red carpet action, celebrity interviews and surprises begin at 8 p.m.
Check out the 2005 MTV Movie Awards site for more.