Nick Rich started playing drums almost before he could walk. The only grandchild of music icon, Buddy Rich, he was given his first set drum set from Remo Belli (REMO), at the age of eighteen months old, and played his first gig at 2 years old on his grandfather's lap at Disneyland. From that moment on, Nick has been an unstoppable force in the drumming world.
Nick is sponsored by the greatest drum companies in the world. Sabian cymbals, Vic Firth drumsticks, Humes and Berg cases, Remo drum heads and Dream Earz in-ear monitors. At age 14, Nick began his studies with the alternative drumming icon, Travis Barker (Blink 182, The Transplants, Plus 44) who developed Nick's rudimental and marching chops. At 17, Nick studied with the fusion great, Dave Weckl (Chick Corea, The Dave Weckl Band), who completely changed his approach to the drums.Dave showed Nick a new approach to the drums, from the grip to the comfortable setup of the drum set.
Nick played the opening night gala at the Wynn hotel in Las Vegas, NV, performing with actor/singer Hugh Jackman and percussionist Daniel De Los Reyes' (Drum Jungle, The Zac Brown Band) to a crowd of guests featuring former President Bill Clinton, George Bush Sr. and Quincy Jones, to name a few. Toured and performed with Ray J, Otherwise, Falling In Reverse, Escape The Fate, Jared Rodgers, The Buddy Rich Big Band All Stars. Nick performed on the Buddy Rich 2008 Memorial Scholarship Concert, alongside drumming icons Neil Peart, Terry Bozzio, Tommy Igoe, John Blackwell, Peter Erskine, and Chad Smith.
Nick hosted his own live drum show on Drumchannel.com. Nick was a featured artist at The Cape Breton International Drum Festival, was a featured artist at The 12th Annual Hollywood Drum Show, alongside drumming icons, Todd Sucherman, Bryan Hitt, Cindy Blackman, Joe LaBarbera, and Bernie Dresel.Recorded drums for underground sensation Opium Alibi's studio album in The Studio @ The Palms Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV. Produced and Engineered by Mark Gray, the man behind The Killer's “Sam’s Town” album, Guns N' Roses “Chinese Democracy” album, and Britney Spears “Black Out” album.
Nick co-wrote, co-produced, and played drums for the pop group NEFU's debut album, alongside Grammy award-winning producer/songwriter, Jim Peterik (Survivor, Ides of March, .38 Special, Styx)
He was a featured artist on the 2013 Tokyo, Japan, Buddy Rich All Stars Big Band tour, alongside drumming legend Peter Erskine (Weather Report, Steely Dan), and Progressive bass icon Tony Levin (Peter Gabriel).Nick recorded drums on the entire album for the rock band, The Beginning. The album was recorded at Drac Studios, Matt Sorum’s (Guns and Roses, Velvet Revolver, The Hollywood Vampires) private studio. The album was mixed by Ryan Williams (30 Seconds To Mars, Velvet Revolver, Rage Against the Machine, to mention a few.)
Today, Nick is a teacher, studio musician, and touring drummer, who has developed his own style and sound in a way that is unmistakable when hearing him.
Al Wooldridge is the owner of Rock Academy. He has been teaching rock band classes since 2014. He has more than 30 years' experience in the music industry. At the age of 10, Al discovered his talent for drums and love of music while performing for his school concert band. He pursued drumming and playing with bands throughout his formal education. After graduating from the University of Iowa, Al formed Flytrap and Swinger, both Chicago bands that performed regularly at The Metro, Schubas, Double Door, The Vic, Elbo Room, Lounge AX, & Beat Kitchen. He has recorded and published music with both bands. He has played the IPO festival for 24 straight years performing in Chicago, LA, and The Cavern Club in Liverpool (famous for a little band called The Beatles). Al has been the drummer with Dad's Magazine and This Magazine is Haunted. After moving to the suburbs, Al took the lead in putting together Hinsdale's favorite suburban band Paparockzi, playing popular festivals, charities, and parties.
Johnny has taught private, rock band, and classroom music for more than a decade. He graduated Suma Cum Laude from Elmhurst College with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Education. He enjoys tailoring lessons for each student’s unique abilities, interests, and learning styles. By making lessons fun and creative, he inspires his students to practice and progress.
His performance experience with Chicago groups, including venerable indie-rock band "The Slugs," has influenced his approach to musical pedagogy. His teaching imparts a love of musical expression to his students and prepares them to perform with confidence and joy.
In addition to performing live on radio, television, and music venues throughout the USA and Canada, Johnny has recorded multiple albums. He also enjoys songwriting, and has released two independent solo albums.
At Rock Academy, we are dedicated to every student. Our proven method means we get to know your musical aspirations and current skill while developing customized lessons. What sets RA apart is the invaluable experience you get performing in a band setting. Rock Academy bands are formed of beginner, intermediate and advanced musicians. We will place you in a Rock Academy band that fits your skill level, age, and style. We are fully committed to you, whether you seek to play for pure enjoyment or would like to pursue a career in music.
We create a pleasurable environment where you will experience the joy of music and expand your talent. You will be encouraged each step of the way to grow as a musician, including playing every 6 to 8 weeks in live performance showcases in real venues. At RA, we find the continuity of musicians staying in the same band increases skill and develops commitment to bandmates. As your musical skill grows, RA will continue to inspire and provide you with multiple outlets to showcase your talent.
Our teachers have music degrees from esteemed universities and at least 10 years experience in the music industry. RA teachers provide professional guidance while focusing on teamwork, communication, rehearsal structure, performance, and musical expression.
We offer a free consultation for new students and never charge a registration fee. We provide a discount for students who participate in both private lessons and RA band classes. We offer a $25 gift card for student referrals to Rock Academy band classes. Our live showcase performances are free for all attendees.