Playing two shows at Lollapalooza fueled Connor Teske’s desire to pursue a career in the music business.
The 15-year-old from Lake Forest earned a spot on one of the 2014 School of Rock AllStars bands and appeared on the Kidsapalooza stage during two 25-minute sets Sunday at the music festival in Grant Park.
The Lake Forest High School sophomore was awed by the crowd’s energy and the chance to mingle backstage with main stage headliners.
“It was really cool,” said Connor, who plays electric guitar. “We got to go to the area where all the other artists hang out. I got to meet Chance the Rapper, Cage the Elephant, some guys from Kings of Leon.”
Big moments for Connor during Sunday’s performances were his guitar solos on his team’s rendition of Frank Zappa’s “Willie the Pimp,” Iron Maiden’s “Aces High” and Black Sabbath’s “Supernaut.”
The Lolla performance wrapped up a heady week in which the Chicago-area 2014 AllStars played at JBTV Studios and Beat Kitchen in Chicago as well as two shows at the House of Blues.
Connor has been taking guitar lessons at the School of Rock in Highwood since he was 8 years old. In those seven years, he’s played on stage every season in School of Rock shows.
But the experiences of the past week took his on-stage resume to a whole new level.
“What made this different is the fact that I was playing at notable venues,” he said. “And kids I was playing with were insane at their instruments.”
Connor auditioned for a coveted spot on one of the elite 2014 AllStar bands in April. After submitting a video of himself performing “The Lemon Song” by Led Zeppelin, Connor learned a few weeks later he was in.
There were six 2014 AllStar “teams” with Teams 1-3 touring the Chicago area and teams 4-6 touring the East Coast. Connor was on Team 3 — the only student from the Chicago area in his band.
The bands rehearsed only a day and a half before performance week.
“They expected everyone in there to know their stuff,” he explained.
What’s next for the budding musician?
“I guess I’ll just keep playing guitar,” he said.
Unwilling to commit to a career as a lead guitarist — “I’d love to be, but the chances of that happening are pretty small,” he said, Connor is firm on one score.
“I definitely still want to have a career in the music business,” he said.
But it’s a risky field, he admits.
The excitement of playing on stage, especially at Lollapalooza in Grant Park, is something Connor likely will never forget.
“The sound at Lolla was probably a million times better than any place I’d ever played,” he said. “The energy was just so much more. We were just so pumped.”
Connor is eligible to try out for AllStar bands until he graduates from high school.
Will he try again?
“Definitely,” he said.