So You Want To Be A Rock ‘n’ Roll Star

For over 50 years, the Westport Music Center has been the place to go for lessons, instrument rentals and repairs, musical books and accessories.

Now it’s the place to go to be a rock star.

In the back of the sprawling space underneath the former Pier 1 store on the Post Road — past all those instruments and sheet music — aspiring musicians gather at the Gig Center.

It’s the brainchild of Steve Sasloe. Last year, the longtime owner built 2 state-of-the-art studios. In the afternoons they’re filled with kids. At night, adults come. Under the guidance of pros, they learn music history, recording and songwriting skills.

And they play.

But the Gig Center is not just a rehearsal space. These guys (and girls) end with a live show. All that’s missing are groupies.

“Growing up, we formed our own bands,” Sasloe says. “But you don’t see a lot of ‘Guitarist Needed’ signs anymore.”

Steve Sasloe (left) and Gig Center show instructor Josh Auchterlonie.

Enter the Gig Center. Sasloe and his crew do the legwork. They form bands, bringing together guitar players, drummers, keyboardists, singers, even brass and woodwind sections.

They lead rehearsals, and arrange performances. (This year’s venue: Kieran’s Place, at the Smith-Richardson golf course.)

Music ranges from the ’60s to today. Sasloe says the tweens and teens who are attracted to the Gig Center — some of whom already take private lessons there — appreciate the roots of rock.

But their voices are not always the same as Mick Jagger, John Fogerty, Tom Petty, Patti Smith or Kurt Cobain. So Sasloe and his staff change keys, as necessary.

For kids, the Gig Center offers a chance to be in a real band — something not easy to do, in today’s STEM-and-sports-filled world.

A Gig Center band. From left: Audrey Blau, Annabel Blau, Freddie Aldridge, Lili Aldridge, Lucas Nilsson. All live in Westport.

Adults get an opportunity to get back to a passion that fell by the wayside, once “real life” intruded. Or, Sasloe says, to “cross ‘rock ‘n’ roll musician’ off their bucket list.”

The results are impressive. The 2 studios crackle with the sounds of music.

But it’s about as far from “The Sound of Music” as you can get.

Rock on!

(Hat tip: Suzanne Sherman Propp)

7 responses to “So You Want To Be A Rock ‘n’ Roll Star

  1. Awesome… kids must be having a blast!

  2. Ilene Mirkine

    This is terrific on so many levels – ‘glad Steve put this program together! Westport Music Center is a gem in our town, a family business that endures because they care so deeply about music and Westport. While many sports may go by the wayside, music can be a lifetime pursuit . Treating your children to a great music education (which can start in the Westport schools btw) is a gift. ‘Hoping to hear some of these rockstars out and about town!

  3. Lori Winthrop Dockser

    Steve … always the coolest dude !

  4. Such an amazing group of people at the Westport Music Center!
    30+ Years is an amazing achievement!
    Keeping Music alive from the young to the old is so critical and provides a such needed emotional outlet for all ages, especially in these times.
    Wishing all good things! Mazel Tov!

  5. Ishi Kabuleleh

    Rock on, dudes! Hope they include ear plugs 🙂 Steve and his crew are all groovy rock starz!

  6. Dan Lasley (Laz)

    We used to jam in Steve’s back rooms 10 years ago. Glad to see that it’s now official. Steve is the best.

  7. What a great idea! Steve – one of the nicest guys ever!!!!