The couple behind Arizona's School of Rock

School of Rock has produced and refined ASU students into prominent musicians

When you hear "School of Rock," the popular mid-2000s movie featuring Jack Black might come to mind. The stars of this School of Rock story, an educational music school, go by a different name: Shane and Megan Baskerville, who own and operate three locations in Arizona, somehow finding the top talent along the way.

There are over 200 School of Rocks in the United States. During Shane’s time spent at School of Rock Minnesota, he taught members of indie-pop Hippo Campus and pop-punk trio Remo Drive. His knack for discovering talent did not stop there. 

Baskerville started out as a touring musician living in Los Angeles for a good portion of his twenties. He said that living out the "rockstar fantasy" that many dream of was an incredible experience; however, when he hit 30 years old, he had a new dream: stability.  

Enrolling in McNally Smith College of Music, Baskerville studied music theory to understand what he had been playing for years. One morning while he was getting ready to go to school, a story about the students at School of Rock Minnesota played on the news. He sent in his resume to the business shortly after that. Since then, he has gone from teaching one student a week to personally owning three schools. 

Before he married his wife, Shane interviewed her for a position teaching vocals at School of Rock Minnesota. Although she did not receive that job, she instead became the face of the music school, running the front desk. She eventually moved her way up to general manager. 

Nowadays, Shane and Megan divide their time in Scottsdale, Ahwatukee and Gilbert, hiring new teachers, scheduling upcoming performances, casting the first batch of songs for shows, updating their website and social media, and booking shows.


Shane Baskerville poses for a photo at the Desert Rose Gastropub on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018.

The Baskervilles may best be known for the bands and artists who come out of their programs. When the couple moved to Arizona, several local bands of note evolved from School of Rock, including Doll Skin, Analog Outlaws, Plants After Dark and Paranova

Shane has always had a nose for musical talent, even in the greenest of beginners to walk through School of Rock’s doors — he sees the diamond in the rough by the way an artist holds himself or herself. 

“Not to sound weird, but I think that is my greatest talent and asset (to spot talent),” Shane said. “I can see it in their eyes.”

Megan added, “Watching Hippo Campus play the main stage at Lollapalooza and our kids freaking out was surreal, and it filled my heart. They are some hard working musicians."

Zac Wolin, a member of Plants After Dark and a management freshman at ASU, looked to School of Rock for help when forming his band due to the program's notorious band-making skills. 

“School of Rock is where I met ... our (Plants After Dark) bassist, singer and songwriter,” Wolin said. “School of Rock has not only given me dozens and dozens of performance opportunities, but it has also given me an understanding of the etiquette behind gigging and the process of booking shows.” 

Before Wolin was a student at ASU or involved with School of Rock, he saw his older brother, Nathan, play electric guitar in a Led Zeppelin tribute show put on by School of Rock at Crescent Ballroom. This event inspired him to work with the school.

The majority of musicians at School of Rock are in the performance program, where students take private, one-on-one lessons with an instructor and participate in a three-hour band practice each week. 

Students sign up for the specific genre they are interested in, varying from 80s Prom to Pink Floyd: The Wall to British Invasion. When the time comes, a pair of show directors instruct, prepare and style students. 


Megan Baskerville poses for a picture at the Desert Rose Gastropub on Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018.

Another unique aspect of School of Rock’s environment is that nearly every instructor employed is currently or has been involved in a band themselves. Meghan Herring, drummer of Doll Skin, graduated from the School of Rock program. When she is not on tour, she teaches and coordinates for the organization. 

“I knew that I could never simply graduate and leave,” Herring said. “If I wouldn’t have gone, I would never have met the ladies of my band ... I would have never become the drummer I am today.”

In addition to Herring — just on a provincial scale — Taylor Sackson of Vintage Wednesday, Al Pahanish Jr. of Powerman 5000 and Danielle Durack, along with ASU alumni TJ Friga of Playboy Manbaby and Christopher Trevigne of Clementine have all worked at School of Rock. 

“It’s a definite pleasure to be teaching music that people are excited about. Working (at the School of Rock) was an easy choice given that it’s run by a community of really genuine people and musicians,” Friga said. 

While Friga is not a previous student, the Baskervilles make it a point to hire those who are alumni because they are knowledgeable about the ins-and-outs of the program.

Perhaps it’s the way they approach School of Rock from the heart and soul, or all the years they’ve spent involved in the program gigging out or employing graduates. However they do it, Shane and Megan have found a tried-and-true method for producing passionate musicians. 

“My favorite part are the kids that … won't look you in the eye and won't talk and two months later they won't shut up and you can tell they feel at home,” Megan said. “Sometimes, something is missing and they don't even know it. Music is one of those things that can fill a void in someone’s life.”

Clarification: in a pervious version of this article the frequency of student lessons was unclear. We have updated the article to clarify that the lessons students recieve are offered on a weekly basis.


Reach the reporter at sarawindom@outlook.com and follow @SaraWindom on Twitter. 

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