Sussex Rocks 2013 with Richard Perkins | Day 4

sussex-rocks-2013-logoThe penultimate day of Sussex Rocks 2013 saw bands in all-day rehearsals to fine-tune the song arrangements for Friday’s end of week performance.

The started with a band with a mega 2-hour full-band rehearsal session before lunch. All bands had the opportunity to perform alongside head tutor Richard and drum tutor Phil.

This session was a huge success and many students benefited (esp. the drummers) from having an expert on hand to guide them through the tracks.

Bands rehearsed the following:
Billie Jean by Michael Jackson
Sweet Home Alabama by Lynyrd Skynyrd
Wishing Well by Free
School’s Out by Alice Cooper
Highway to Hell by AC/DC
Don’t Believe a Word by Thin Lizzy
Come Together by The Beatle
Dakota by Stereophonics

Intro Riff: ‘Dakota’ by Stereophonics

The intro to ‘Dakota’ begins with a synth riff playing the fifth of each chord (E-B, C#-G#, and A-E). A guitar can emulate this sound with a light delay and phaser set to a slow and deep sweep. Have a go!


After lunch bands continued to rehearse their songs with the extra help of Jason Stocker.


The student concert will begin at 4:30pm on Friday 2nd August at Willingdon Community School, Eastbourne, East Sussex. Entry is free and we welcome anyone to come and show their support.

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Sussex Rocks 2013 with Richard Perkins | Day 3

sussex-rocks-2013-logoWe’ve reached the middle-point of the week, and bands are starting to form; friendships have been made, and songs are now chosen for Friday’s end-of-week performance showcase.

The morning sessions taught the guitarists two new songs – songs that students did not know before arriving at Sussex Rocks; a key goal of head tutor Richard Perkins.

One track (‘Dakota’ by Stereophonics) specifically focused on multiple layered guitar parts that would allow up to 5-6 guitarists to perform together as a band, and the other (‘Come Together‘ by The Beatles) centered on a bass groove with power chords and a harmony solo guitar spot.


Intro Riff: ‘Come Together’ by The Beatles

‘Come Together’ was written by John Lennon (credited as Lennon-McCartney) and appeared on the Abbey Road album and was later released as a double A-side single with ‘Something’ in 1969. The track principally grooves on D bass riff and the guitar subtly, and quietly, plays the riff an octave above.


Through-out the afternoon session the South East rockers continued to work on their performance songs, after some minor line-up changes to mix things up and allow the youngsters to experience playing alongside as many new musicians as possible.

The bands convened for the performance session at 3:30pm to showcase the songs they had been working on in rehearsals. Songs performed to the group for critique were: ‘Highway To Hell‘ by AC/DC, ‘Don’t Believe A Word‘ by Thin Lizzy and ‘Sweet Home Alabama‘ by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

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Sussex Rocks 2013 with Richard Perkins | Day 2

sussex-rocks-2013-logoStudents returned for Day 2 of Sussex Rocks and the group split into their instrumental classes for the daily technique expander sessions.

The guitarists resumed their caterpillar exercises; working with patterns in 4-note groupings per string along with a click track (quarter, eighth and sixteenth notes at 60bpm).

The guitarists then learned to play all the guitar parts for ‘Wishing Well’ (Free) to perform later in the afternoon band performance session.

Song structure: “Wishing Well”  by Free
Intro (Main riff)
Verse 1
Chorus 1
Interlude (Main riff)
Verse 2
Chorus 2
Interlude (Main riff)
Outro (Main riff)


After lunch students were put into new bands; Sussex Rocks encourages its participants to work with as many musicians as possible to expose students to the widest possible range of musical styles and genres. The bands then descended to the practice rooms to begin rehearsing songs for the performance session.

The performance session is designed to give students a chance to showcase their songs, be it work-in-progress or completed song. Each band has approx. 5-mins to perform their chosen song and the class and instructors give critical feedback on their performance.

Songs performed in today’s session included:
Wishing Well‘ by Free
Smoke on the Water‘ by Deep Purple
Paranoid‘ by Black Sabbath
Billie Jean’ by Michael Jackson

Intro Riff: “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson

Billie Jean featured as a single on Michael Jackson’s mega-selling 1982 album ‘Thriller’. The song was written by Jackson about a real-life encounter with a groupie. I have arranged the string and bass parts for electric guitar – have fun!


Side Note
riffstation-logo-250I have been trialling Riffstation ( during Sussex Rocks 2013 and would encourage anyone to download the generous 30-day free trial from the website. The software allows you to change pitch, tempo, add click track, beat match, analyses and identifies chords and has a great sweeping EQ so you can remove guitar and vocal parts to create your very own backing tracks.

Sussex Rocks 2013 with Richard Perkins | Day 1

sussex-rocks-2013-logoSussex Rocks kicked off with 19 budding rock stars looking to further their skills during the week-long Monsters of Rock Summer Camp in Eastbourne under the expert tutelage of head tutor, Richard Perkins!

After an induction session and short introduction to Sussex Rocks the students split into their instrumental groups. The guitarists took part in a technique expander session working on exercises to develop strong hand coordination and synchronisation, dexterity, endurance and stamina.

During the late-morning session the guitarist group learned a selection of classic rock riffs, including; “Wishing Well” by Free, “School’s Out” by Alice Cooper, and “I Love Rock N Roll” by Joan Jett.

Intro Riff: “Wishing Well” by Free

Recorded in 1972, ‘Wishing Well’ became one of Free’s most successful singles and features a monstrous opening riff in the key of E that is built the E minor pentatonic scale.


An important part of Sussex Rocks success is our emphasis on encouraging youngsters to work together; learning to support each other through-out the week, and watching their confidence grow as they each enjoy playing with other musicians, many for the very first time.

After lunch the Sussex rockers split into five bands and headed to the rehearsal rooms to begin the afternoon band workshops. Songs heard through-out the building were: “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana,”Enter Sandman” by Metallica, and “Don’t Believe A Word” by Thin Lizzy.


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Sussex Rocks 2013

Whether you want to play for fun or for your future career, our Monsters of Rock Summer School is the place to be in July-August 2013.

We offer five days of music making with our exceptional tutors, packed with workshops and activities to challenge and inspire all. You should be prepared to work hard and play hard in order to take your music to the next level, and get the most out of our course.

Students do not need any formal musical qualifications to join us. We only ask that you are familiar with your instrument, have been playing for at least a year, and have knowledge of the basics.

Students will be in small classes with specialist tutors. There will be time throughout the week to develop your technical skills as well as your performance skills. There will be lots of performance opportunities throughout the week, including jam sessions, band rehearsals, and a show at the end of the week for your friends and family, which is the highlight of a hard, fun packed week.

Our aim is for you to: Improve your technique and musicianship, Develop your performance skills, Network with other local musicians, and if you want to, learn to write and perform songs.

Some of our offered workshops are:

  • Building powerful rhythm parts and constructing effective solos
  • Exploring power chords, open position chords and other ‘clever’ chord voicings
  • Focusing lead guitar technique on pentatonic tricks and blues scale lick
  • Improving improvisation and vibrato
  • Special interest classes, such as alternate picking and hybrid pentatonics
  • Recognising song structure, forms, and key changes
  • Introduction to fusion
  • Guitar effects

The course will run from Monday 29th July 2013 until Friday 2nd August 2013, 10:00 until 16:00 each day. All students are fully supervised from arrival until they leave each day. Cost: £150.00 (5-day course).

Sussex Rocks is located at:

Willingdon Community School
Broad Road
Lower Willingdon Nr. Eastbourne
East Sussex
BN20 9QX

We Are:

  • A 10 minute walk from Polegate Station
  • Easily accessible by Car, Bus and Train from all surrounding areas

Please visit for more information