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All they are saying is give kids a chance

In this week's report Paul Watson talks to Brian Rothschild about bringing the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus to Britain and beyond

The John Lennon Educational Tour Bus (JLETB) has been helping underprivileged kids across the USA find their way in the music scene since 1998; and has become a pivotal part of Winter NAMM’s outdoor entertainment. Every year, the bus is open for tours, and there are plenty of live shows taking place on the Wanna Play? stage which is located in the Lennon Bus arena at the back of the conference centre. The non-profit mobile facility houses a state-of-the-art audio and HD video recording and production studio, and is dedicated – with the help of its three onboard engineers – to providing free songwriting and multimedia production workshops for kids, educating them on how to write, record, perform and produce their own material. One of last year’s highlights, according to executive director Brian Rothschild, was when JLETB crew members worked with children from Fernando Pullum School of the Arts (which is located in South Central L.A) over a five month period, teaching them how to become recording engineers. “Twelve students made it through the entire semester, which was an amazing achievement; we then took the bus to the school and recorded an original music video over two days,” he explains. “The kids produced the song, wrote the song, and then did the edit with us. It’s called I’m in love wit’ you; and it just brought our standards up to a whole other level.” A new partnership with Avid has raised the bar even further. The bus now boasts Avid’s award-winning Media Composer video editing solution (used on Avatar, Black Swan, and Iron Man); and a full Pro Tools rig, allowing for even better quality recording, mixing and editing capabilities. “The Avid relationship has been going on for years, but what we did when approaching 2011 was really bring the whole full Avid product solution line onto the bus,” says Rothschild. “In that regard, it’s really the dawn of a new era for us to have such a strong partner supporting the mission of the bus and believing in the value of it; and giving young people exposure to potential careers they might have in audio or video.” Another of Rothschild’s goals for the bus is to expand it into the UK and Europe, which he hopes he can bring to fruition in the not-too-distant future. “I have every intention of making that happen; it’s something that Yoko [Ono Lennon] talks to me about all the time,” Rothschild insists. “She said to me a few weeks ago that she has these grand visions of having buses all around the world; and the UK and then Europe is a very important starting point for all the obvious reasons.” The JLETB is supported by a host of international artists who also collaborate with the children on projects whilst on board the bus, including Black Eyed Peas, who will be doing a show in NYC’s Central Park in June 2011 with the bus in tow. Another supporter of the cause, and somewhat closer to home, is UK songstress Natasha Bedingfield, who will also perform at the Central Park show; and is keen to help promote the bus in the UK. “I met the Lennon bus team at NAMM a few years ago, and I immediately wanted to get involved and start helping these amazing kids,” Bedingfield reveals. “I think it would be fantastic to bring the Lennon bus over to the UK; it could do so much good, as it has done in the States; and I love what it stands for. I certainly didn’t have a tool like this when I was trying to get a demo out there; it would be great to make it happen.” The JLETB has also launched a free App for the iPhone and Droid in conjunction with Mobile Roadie, to make it easier for people to keep a tab on the bus’s movements. “The goal is to continue to breed the bus, if you like,” concludes Rothschild. “And the App is a cool way to stay up to date with where we’re going and to see the new projects, video content and blogs, and post your thoughts and ideas about the Lennon bus on our fan wall. You can also win a lot of cool stuff including Epiphone guitars and Pro Tools and Media Composer prizes; it’s definitely part of what we’re promoting this year.” Rothschild is currently looking for partners committed to aiding the JLETB in its UK/European quest; and urges anyone who is interested to get in touch with him as soon as possible at