Megadeth bassist and co-founder David Ellefson has launched the "School's Out" initiative, to provide music lessons and mentoring via Skype from rock and metal musicians to kids who can't participate in school activities because of coronavirus restrictions. Ellefson's Youth Music Foundation is partnering with the GRAMMY Music Education Coalition for the initiative, which aims to launch one-on-one Skype sessions for students 18 years old and younger.
Musicians participating as instructors include David Ellefson, Dirk Verbeuren, and Kiko Loureiro of Megadeth; Frank Bello of Anthrax; Jimmy Degrasso of Alice Cooper, formerly of Megadeth; Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal of Sons of Apollo, formerly of Guns N’ Roses; Chris Kael of Five Finger Death Punch; Chad Szeliga of Black Star Riders and Walking with Lions; Phil Demmel, formerly of Machine Head; Dave McClain of Sacred Reich, formerly of Machine Head; Clint Lowery of Sevendust; Nita Strauss of Alice Cooper; Brandan Schieppatti of Bleeding Through; Thom Hazaert of Ellefson; Alex Snowden and Sydney Dolezal of Doll Skin; Ra Diaz of Suicidal Tendencies; Shani Kimelman of Cirque Du Soleil MJ ONE; Marc Rizzo of Soulfly and Cavalera Conspiracy; Danny Cooksey; Jeff Duncan of Armored Saint; Rusty Cooley of Day of Reckoning; Ra Diaz of Suicidal Tendencies; Shani Kimelman of Cirque Du Soleil MJ ONE, and more.
"When one person suffers, we all suffer," Ellefson says, "and this is an unprecedented moment in history when all of us around the world are united for a common cause. Music and the arts have always been some of our greatest healers in a way none other can. As we reach into each other's souls with resounding hope, I'm forever thankful to our friends in the creative community who have kindly offered their expertise to put a smile on the faces of so many people in need right now. Let this be a time when we can all unite under the banner of Music and let our creativity lead the way."
His partner and foundation co-chair Thom Hazaert says, "David and I were brainstorming on ways to give back during the COVID epidemic, and put some positivity out in a time of some pretty unparalleled crisis and uncertainty. The mission of our foundation is to try and help keep music in schools, but what happens when kids can’t go to school? Or, in many cases, even leave the house? As I’m sitting home with my 2 restless kids, in basically forced exile, it kinda hit me. We started talking about David doing a few online lessons with kids, via the foundation, and then got around to the idea of recruiting some of our other friends as well. Then we talked to our friends at the GRAMMY Music Education Coalition, and it really took on a whole new life, and became a massive initiative."