About the School of Hard Rocks Seminar

Who are we?

Two guys who have made all of the mistakes you’re about to. We’ve seen the good, the bad, and the truth about the industry, both local and national.

Why are we doing this?

In hopes to continue our support of the Lake County, IL music scene, we thought we’d offer our two cents, for no cents. Our passion for all things local music didn’t die with our bands. We want to see the new crop of bands find success without going through the trials & tribulations most bands see.

What are these seminars all about?

Basically, we figured it was about time for some real-world advice about expectations, harsh realities and why you should love being in a band. We’ll be having our 3-part seminar at The Oasis, on Monday, April 12th, 19th, and 26th at 7:00pm, followed by a Q&A session if time allows (trust us… we’ll have a lot to talk about). In the meantime, feel free to peruse the site or subscribe to our feed for a plethora of interesting and valuable reads.


About Greg

From the moment I had played my first show, I knew that I was a lifer to music. I spent many hours honing my craft, developing as a musician and a songwriter. In hopes to share my appreciation for music, I became a guitar instructor, and have been for a decade now. This has afforded me the luxury realizing a lifelong dream of opening a recording studio. 

I have been fortunate enough to play in many bands, and tour across the country. Through these bands, I found myself enthralled with all things on the local music level. I began booking shows, running sound, and producing large scale events, all in support of the scene. In the wake of over 10 local venues getting shut down in 2004, I became involved with the Grayslake Youth Center, in hopes to see an all-ages venue built, with the towns support for security. I have remained on the board of directors as Music Director since. In 2008, our goal was achieved with the opening of The Oasis. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to build and install a stage and sound rig that rivals that of many Chicago venues.

My time spent playing in bands inspired me to learn how to protect my art, so I went to collage for Entertainment & Media Management. This put me in direct contact with countless bands, labels, agents, and venues. I’ve taken this skill-set to work where I manage and guide student’s bands to make smart choices. It’s those efforts that have inspired me to co-host The School of Hard Rocks.

  • BFA from Columbia College in Entertainment / Media Management
  • Victory Records: (April 2004 – Aug 2004) Worked on the following releases:
  •      • Atreyu – The Curse
         • Taking Back Sunday – Where You Want to Be
         • Hawthorn Heights – The Silence in Black and White

  • Owner: Greg’s Guitar Lessons, Greg’s Studio
  • Board of Directors: Grayslake Youth Center (Music Director for The Oasis)
  • Outdoor Event Producer: Rock in the Park (2005, 2006), The BENefit (2001)
  • Overtone: Lead Guitar / Backup Vocals (2000 – 2009)
  •      • Performed Nationally
         • 2 CD releases (Self-Recorded/Produced/Released)

  • Extra Credit Assignment: Guitar (2003 – 2004)
  • Producer: Bleeding Martyr – Burial Suits Don’t Come With Pockets
  • Producer / Engineer: Weye – Friends, Family, Others
  • Producer / Engineer: Live at Greg’s (Two Star, Weye, Mirrek)


About Justin

I have no problem admitting to you that the first concert I ever attended was Poison on their “Open Up and Say Ahh…” Tour. While professing that little nugget of shame essentially deems me “old and lame,” it should also reveal to you that I’ve come a pretty long way in the world of music.

I picked up a guitar around age 11, but put it down quickly after being forced to try and learn “Stewball was a Racehorse” by my guitar teacher. I wanted to ROCK, and it took me a few years before giving the guitar a second chance. A few self-taught power chords and “Drop-D” tunings later, and I started a band with some of my closest friends. While our early material was laughably bad, we finally grew into something that was moderately entertaining, if not only to ourselves.

Through years of ups and downs (coupled with a lot of hard work), we were finally able to step into the realm of “yeah I think I might’ve heard of those guys” in the Chicagoland area. And despite never “making it,” we are still (technically) active 16+ years later.

How, you ask?

Well… once we finally realized that our expectations had exceeded our aspirations, we shifted gears and decided to make music for the real reason it should be made… because we loved doing it. And though our practice sessions have gotten fewer and further between, there’s still a certain glow in the air when we fire up the amps.

And while my childhood dreams of being a rockstar just like C.C. DeVille didn’t exactly come true (Thank God), I’d like to think I’ve had a pretty good ride along the way.

  • BFA from Northern Illinois University in Theatrical Design
  • Founder / Co-Author / Editor: Reviews/Resist (Heavy Metal Blog)
  • Owner: Half Empty-Half Full (Graphic/Web Design)
  •      • Developed artwork/websites/merch for area bands

  • Co-Founder: Lake County Record Collective (1999 – 2003)
  •      • Released local compilation cd The Sounds of Urban Sprawl
         • Helped in procuring multiple Lake County showcases at The Metro
         • Spearheaded collective promotion and showcasing of area bands

  • The ELVi: Guitar / Vocals (1993 – Present)
  •      • Toured coast to coast (including a one-off gig at the legendary CBGB)
         • 2 CD releases, 3 cassette releases, 1 vinyl release
         • Played countless shows throughout Chicagoland including Metro, Double Door, etc.
         • Opened for Local H & Hum
         • In-Studio performance on Q101’s Local 101
         • Favorably reviewed in CMJ
         • Reached #118 in the Top 200 College Radio Charts
         • Reached #5 in the Weekly Adds on the College Radio Charts (beating out NIN)

  • Twenty Four Frames: Guitar / Backup Vocals (2003 – 2007)
  •      • Played various shows throughout Chicagoland
         • 1 CD release

  • Manager: Northern Illinois University Stage Crew (1996 – 1999)
  •      • Managed crew and participated in setup for all University-sponsored concert events:
           (Smashing Pumpkins, Counting Crows, Alkaline Trio, Hum, Blues Traveler, etc.)