Charles C. Brennan, founder of the Brennan Rock & Roll Academy, recently hosted the Academy’s first concert designed to showcase the talents of attendees. When Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash showed up, Charles C. Brennan was able to provide students a once-in-a-lifetime experience. An important part of the community, Charles C. Brennan says the Academy is able to provide underserved children an outlet for their creative talents. By being able to perform alongside a legendary guitarist, Las Vegas resident Charles C. Brennan found the children were further motivated to pursue their aspirations.
Charles C. Brennan spoke with the staff of Zrylw about the concert, as well as Slash’s impression of the work the Rock & Roll Academy is doing.
Zrylw: Talk to us a little about how this came about. How did you meet Slash?
Charles C. Brennan: I was introduced to Slash at Rockfest in Wisconsin, when he opened for KISS. We struck up a conversation about the Academy and he was intrigued.
Zrylw: This was actually his second visit to the Academy, correct?
Charles C. Brennan: Slash came by during the KISS dedication ceremony, when we dedicated four rehearsal rooms to the rock band. He was impressed by the work we’re doing and wanted to find a way to show his support.
Zrylw: What, in particular, impressed him?
Charles C. Brennan: He noted that we are the first free service that allows members of the Boys and Girls Clubs to learn music. And by being in attendance, he was actually the first celebrity musician to see the kids publicly showcase their talents.
Zrylw: He also performed with some of the kids, from what I understand. How did that come about?
Charles C. Brennan: One of the bands chose “Knocking on Heaven’s Door,” a Guns N’ Roses song, to perform. When Slash heard about that, he decided to get up on stage and perform it with them. It was an amazing experience for those young musicians, to be able to play with a true professional in front of their peers.
Zrylw: Slash made a statement about the importance of volunteers, too, while he was there…
Charles C. Brennan: Yes, he spoke on the importance of getting children involved and also spoke to the music community at large about the importance of volunteering to help these young aspiring musicians. Working with someone who has a true talent can make a big difference in these kids’ lives.
Zrylw: Who would have expected Slash has such a soft spot for kids…
Charles C. Brennan: He emphasized that he’s a father himself and because of that, he realizes how crucial it is to provide a great foundation to children in order to steer them in the right direction in life.
Zrylw: Can we expect more concerts from the students at the Brennan Rock & Roll Academy?
Charles C. Brennan: You can count on it! I’ve made a 20-year commitment to both the program and the facility, so we’re in this for the long haul.
Zrylw: What motivated you to start the Academy?
Charles C. Brennan: I was inspired by the work Alice Cooper has done with his own program geared toward youth. As a kid, I was a member of the Boys and Girls Club in the Sioux Falls area and I know how much of an influence the program can have on what a child becomes.
Charles C. Brennan lives in Las Vegas, where he founded the Dollar Loan Center franchise. With more than 80 locations in four separate states, Charles C. Brennan has helped the Dollar Loan Center grow into a profitable enterprise that helps consumers with affordable loans.