Honorary Board of Directors
Little Kids Rock is proud to have the support of these musical luminaries who have displayed their passion for helping bring music education to children by being big friends to our little kids.
Bonnie Raitt was one of Little Kids Rock’s earliest supporters, lending her name, time, and musical expertise when Little Kids Rock was just a small, nameless program in San Francisco in the 1990′s. Since then, the blues legend has visited classrooms, met with students at her soundchecks, and been a proud member of our honorary board.
“Little Kids Rock does a great job getting kids excited about music, picking up the slack from budget cuts to put music programs in our schools. They deserve our support.” Watch Video
Little Kids Rock was proud to count B.B. King as an honorary member of our board of directors. The blues legend has been a proponent of Little Kids Rock since 2002 when Little Kids Rock incorporated. He was a blues legend and a man whose music has inspired future generations of music makers, including the kids who we serve today.
I think that what Little Kids Rock does for kids is just amazing. I’d like to see this program in a lot more schools. Young kids playing instruments, composing their own music and recording their own songs? That is something I just have to get behind!”
Carlos Santana has been a Little Kids Rock supporter since the days when it was just a few volunteers giving free guitar lessons in San Francisco. His Milagro Foundation has supported our efforts ever since donating the first dozen electric guitars to Little Kids Rock.
“The effects of the foundation’s involvement go far beyond the money and instruments that it provides,” says Little Kids Rock founder, David Wish. “Our kids have greater confidence in themselves and in their community – seeing that someone as well-known as Carlos Santana is interested in them and their dreams.”
Mr. Santana has performed for and with Little Kids Rock students at different schools and has also hand delivered instruments. Videos and Blog >
Joe Satriani is one of the most recognizable guitar voices of our time, earning his place alongside the great masters of rock guitar. He has been a gracious supporter of Little Kids Rock, visiting classrooms, giving free lessons to sutdents, donating signed guitars for auction, and sitting on our honorary board.
“With the tools provided by both the schools and Little Kids Rock, the dream can happen. I’m just so happy to be a part of it.” Video >
G. Love delivered instruments to a Little Kids Rock class in the Bronx and had such a good time, that he decided to do the same thing in Atlanta, Nashville and San Francisco! Videos and Blog >
Taboo (Black Eyed Peas)
Taboo visited a school in his native East Los Angeles and delivered a dozen electric guitars before hopping on stage with them during their end-of-year concert and performed “I Gotta Feelin’” with them!
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame funk superstar, Bootsy Collins (Parliament-Funkadelic and James Brown), joined Little Kids Rock’s Honorary Board when he visited a Jersey City Little Kids Rock class and brought the funk with him!
Bootsy gave the kids a bass lesson and rapped with them while they played the blues. Bootsy and his wife Patti Collins support music education through the Bootsy Collins Foundation, whose motto is “Say it Loud-An-Instrument-4-Every-Child.” Staying true to that motto, Bootsy and Patti brought a brand new bass guitar to donate to the school. Video and Blog >
Bernie Williams (NY Yankees)
Little Kids Rock honored the New York Yankees icon in 2010 the annual Right to Rock celebration. Williams performed onstage with students and signed some guitars to be auctioned. With the money he helped raise, Williams delivered instruments to a school in the Bronx and gave the students a lesson in music and life. Video >
Chad Smith (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
Chad Smith, drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chickenfoot and the Bombastic Meatbats, has supported Little Kids Rock since 2007. He participated in the launch of “Little Kids Rock Across America,” sponsored by the Dr. Phil Foundation. On the show, Chad received a drum lesson from a Little Kids Rock student and shared stories from his musical upbringing with the kids and national audience. In 2010, Little Kids Rock students opened for the Bombatic Meatbats before a lively Anaheim crowd. Video >
Stefan Lessard (Dave Matthews Band)
Stefan Lessard, the bassist for the Dave Matthews Band, joined Little Kids Rock’s Honorary Board in August 2009.
“Having access to music education programs was a critical part of my own development as a musician, so I’m excited to help Little Kids Rock provide instruments and music lessons to kids that wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to be musicians,” said Lessard. “With more and more music and arts programs being cut in public schools nationwide, it’s imperative that kids be given the chance to express themselves creatively through programs like Little Kids Rock.”
Monte Pittman taught Madonna how to play guitar and then played guitar with her on tour. He has also played with Prong and Adam Lambert. Pittman took time to visit a Little Kids Rock class and teach some middle school students how to play as well.
Since then, he has been involved in a variety of ways, from raising money, to donating auction items and even speaking at a middle schools graduation. Video >
Joshua Radin visited six Little Kids Rock schools in six different cities and gave the kids a guitar lesson on his song, “Brand New Day.” Later in the evening, he brought some of those kids onstage with him during his concert to perform the song with him, effectively changing their lives forever! Video >
Liberty DeVitto (Billy Joel)
Liberty DeVitto, a longtime member of Little Kids Rock’s Honorary Board, played drums for Billy Joel for more than 30 years. Mr. DeVitto has visited several Little Kids Rock classrooms, played at benefit events with Little Kids Rock students, done radio interviews, filmed a commercial, and has held drum clinics for Little Kids Rock. He even wrote a Little Kids Rock anthem. He is a founding member of NYC Hit Squad, a band that includes a number of notable musicians from bands like Bon Jovi, Deep Purple, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes and Bad Company. Video >
Steven Van Zandt
At Little Kids Rock’s 10th Anniversary Right to Rock Benefit, the charity proudly honored Steven Van Zandt – a musician, songwriter, performer, arranger, record producer, actor, writer, human rights activist, and international radio DJ. He is a founding member of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and an original principal cast member of The Sopranos. Steven’s current projects include starring, writing, producing, and scoring “Lilyhammer”, chosen as the first original programming for Netflix, America’s first digital network. He continues to host his internationally syndicated Rock and Roll radio show Little Steven’s Underground Garage (now broadcast in over 180 countries), and continues to tour the world with Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.
Steven has also founded The Rock and Roll Forever Foundation dedicated to the development, preservation, dissemination, and continuing support of Rock and Roll, past, present, and future – which is currently developing an online curriculum on the history of Rock and Roll and it’s role in American culture with a pilot program set to launch in schools in 2013. Video >
Little Kids Rock is proud to align forces with Paul Simon. The 16-time Grammy winner sits on Little Kids Rock’s honorary board and has donated autographed memorabilia to be auctioned with the profits going toward Little Kids Rock’s mission of expanding music in our public schools.
Since he joined the honorary board, Little Kids Rock has served hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged children with free instrumental music lessons!
Slash of Guns N’ Roses and Velvet Revolver fame, is a member of our Honorary Board. He has visited Little Kids Rock students, jammed with them, donated instruments and his time. Slash’s passion for music is evident in his charity as well as his art.
“Being a musician is something that is good for the character because it teaches you a lot about discipline,” Slash said. “I think it’s a really great creative outlet.” Video >
A native of Kingston, Jamaica, Ziggy Marley joined Little Kids Rock’s honorary board in 2008 and has visited schools, jammed with students, invited kids to his soundchecks, and recorded a public service announcement. Little Kids Rock and the Marley family’s foundation 1Love.org have partnered to further Little Kids Rock’s mission.
“I believe music is an integral part of society,” Marley says. “Music brings people together. Music teaches unity. Music is a very powerful tool, not only for educational development, but human development, emotional development, spiritual development. As the cliché says, ‘children are the future,’ and that is true. If we want to change anything in this world, we have to start with the kids.” Video >
The legendary co-founder of KISS and star of A&E’s Gene Simmons Family Jewels visited a Little Kids Rock classroom and featured the segment on the show. “If it weren’t for music, and my teachers, I’d be out on the streets,” Simmons told the kids.
Simmons described Little Kids Rock students’ musical ability and innocence as “inspiring.” He decorated a guitar for auction with his son Nick. Video >
Honorary Board Member Jake Clemons is a talented, multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, composer, and currently plays saxophone in the E Street Band. He supports our students by performing at benefit events, jamming with our kids and delivering instruments to schools.
Says Clemons, “Little Kids Rock has a huge impact on kids as people. They are raising visionaries, spreading a message of hope, inspiring teachers, kids and their peers and sharing in what it means to really love something, and, I’m sure, in some cases, simply what it means to be loved. This program is teaching us all how to be better stewards of what we have; be it time, resources, or artistic expression.” Video >
Matt Sorum (Guns N’ Roses/Velvet Revolver)
Matt Sorum drummed for Guns ‘N Roses for seven years before drumming with Velvet Revolver. His support of Little Kids Rock began with a visit to a Pasadena classroom where he inspired an entire auditorium full of children and gave them a master drum lesson.
Since that time, he has gone on to found Adopt The Arts, and nonprofit organization that rallies celebrities to raise awareness and funds to keep the arts in the classroom by partnering with organizations like Little Kids Rock.
Kris Allen was honored at the 2010 Right to Rock Celebration, where he performed “Imagine” with Little Kids Rock students, Bernie Williams and Carmine Appice. Allen first saw Little Kids Rock in action when he visited a “Little Kids Rock Across America” Modern Band workshop in Los Angeles sponsored by the Dr. Phil Foundation, and again supported our kids when he performed at the 2012 Right to Rock Celebration. Video >
Brad Delson (Linkin Park)
Brad Delson, the guitarist for the Grammy Award winning group Linkin Park, joined Little Kids Rock’s Honorary Board in 2005.
He visited with Little Kids Rock students in Los Angeles, California, answered all of their questions, jammed with them, and recorded a video for Little Kids Rock. Video >
Carmine Appice (Vanilla Fudge)
Carmine Appice joined Little Kids Rock’s Honorary Board several years ago, and has been a constant supporter ever since, visiting several Little Kids Rock schools, filming videos, jamming with Little Kids Rock students, doing radio/TV interviews, and being a verbal proponent of music education in our schools.
He has played drums for artists such as Rod Stewart, Ozzy Osbourne, Pink Floyd, Vanilla Fudge, Cactus, and our students at the 2010 Right to Rock Celebration. Video >
Jon E. Gee
Famed bassist Jon E. Gee joined Little Kids Rock’s honorary board in 2005 and has been a supporter ever since. In 2010, in a brief hiatus from touring with John Mellencamp, Jon visited a Little Kids Rock school in New York City and delivered a bass guitar to the classroom, which had only guitars at the time. He jammed with the kids, inspired them and gave them a masterclass in bass guitar. Jon and his wife Sondra donate to Little Kids Rock in an effort to help keep music alive in our public schools! Video and Blog >