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Teenagers get their kicks by rocking up to school

By Lincolnshire Echo  |  Posted: December 13, 2012

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You can never be too young to pick up an instrument and start playing music.

Stevie Wonder was signed, sealed and delivered to Motown when he was 11 years old, while future King of Pop Michael Jackson joined his brothers as the Jackson 5 when he was as young as six.

Brit Award-winning siren Laura Marling was 16 when she helped launch the UK's phenomenal nu-folk scene and, while chart-topper Jake Bugg is only 18, he has been playing guitar for the last six years and even performed at Glastonbury in 2011.

Which is why it's refreshing to see a group of teenagers from Lincolnshire following their hearts and their passions by releasing their debut single and music video.

Ripkord are a rocky four-piece made up of James Jolly, 16, Jake Skipper, 15, and Josh Dugan and Evan Snook, both 14.

They formed at the Ultimate Rock School, based at its studios in Roman Way, South Hykeham, which aims to provide young musicians with the tools and expertise they need to thrive in the music industry.

After two years gigging and playing cover songs of some of their favourite artists, earlier this year they put pen to paper and wrote their debut single Firefly.

"It's a song about mixed emotions from a past relationship and just dealing with it all," explains lead singer James, from Lincoln.

"We wrote it at the Ultimate Rock School along with two other songs Love Pretending and Dark Side of the Moon.

"We kind of go for an indie rock sound. We've been performing covers since we started as a band and were originally inspired by bands like Nickelback and Red Hot Chili Peppers, but we've been trying to branch out a bit and have been taking influence as well from Two Door Cinema Club and The Wombats.

"We have loads of gigs coming up in 2013 and we're really excited about the next 12 months. We've got a big charity gig in March at the Engine Shed for Comic Relief which is going to be huge for us, and then we're going to spend the summer touring the West Country."

Firefly is available to buy through iTunes and Amazon now – but with no limit to their aspirations, the band have already released an accompanying music video, put together by the Ultimate Rock School's film and media team.

"The video was a lot of fun to shoot," adds lead guitarist Jake, from just outside of Newark.

"We spent a day at a warehouse recording live gig footage to show our performance, and the narrative side was filmed in and around Lincoln with James.

"It's been really good for us to put out a music video. We've been playing together for two years since we were around 12 and 13 and not many bands can come up with a video this quickly.

"The Ultimate Rock School has really helped us get to where we are today. They put us together and have really helped with writing our own material and getting us gigs."

The Ultimate Rock School is open for pupils between eight and 18 and offers lessons in drums, guitar and singing, as well as sound recording, video production and other forms of multimedia.

For more info, call co-founder Nicci Snook on 07597 093884 or visit www.ultimaterockschool.com.

To watch Ripkord's video for Firefly, search Ripkord and Firefly on YouTube, or to buy the single, search on iTunes.

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