Making it big as a musician is a tough gig to crack. But with the right guide, anything is possible!

We’ve partnered up with Boys & Girls Club Big Brothers Big Sisters to find some of the biggest mentors in alternative rock who have helped shape other famous bands.


1. Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters

Foo Fighters frontman, former Nirvana drummer, and overall awesome human Dave Grohl has taken part in multiple mentorship programs over the years to instill the love of music in the next generation of rockers. Most recently, he’s been going back-and-forth in a ‘drum battle‘ with 10-year-old Nandi Bushell. But back in 2015, he also served as a mentor through a program called Sonic Teens that helps kids cope with anxiety and depression through music.

2. Rivers Cuomo of Weezer

There’s a reason why AJR sounds a lot like Weezer. The three brothers from New York City are big Weezer fans, and as it turns out, Rivers Cuomo was a big fan of them. After listening to some of their music, Cuomo followed Ryan Met of AJR on Twitter. Met used that initial follow to ask Cuomo to collaborate with them on their break-out hit, Sober Up, which, as you know, he did.


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3. Beastie Boys

The Beastie Boys may fight for their right to party, but they also fought for their right to help new bands make it. Mike D, Ad-Rock, and MCA created the Grand Royal record label in 1992.  At The Drive-In, Sean Lennon (John Lennon & Yoko Ono’s son), and Jimmy Eat World all released albums through Grand Royal. Jimmy Eat World released the vinyl edition of their most successful album Bleed American in 2001, but unfortunately, the Beastie Boys ran into some debt issues shortly after, and the label went bankrupt. Mike D said at the time that their “intentions were always to create a home for exciting music and the people who were passionate about it”.


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4. Max Kerman of Arkells

While the Arkells have been teaching budding musicians everywhere how to play their songs on Instagram lately, that’s not what gets frontman Max Kerman a spot on this list. Kerman was selected by the Toronto Maple Leafs general manager, Kyle Dubas, to join the team for their mentors’ trip to New York City in early February of this year. The two have been friends since 2014, so we’ll try not to hold Kerman’s choice of hockey team to cheer for against him.


5. Pete Wentz and Patrick Stump of Fall Out Boy

Without Fall Out Boy, we possibly wouldn’t have Panic! At the Disco. Back in 2005, Fall Out Boy bassist Pete Wentz and lead singer Patrick Stump decided to start DCD2 Records (DecayDance Records at the time) to help bands with similar sounds and goals as Fall Out Boy succeed. Panic! At the Disco was the first band signed onto the new label but was soon joined by other emo-rock legends including Cobra Starship, Cute Is What We Aim For, and Hey Monday, fronted by Cassadee Pope who went on to win The Voice in 2012. Wentz has said that the artists on their label are all friends. “We tour together, work together, have fun together.”


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Interested in becoming a mentor yourself? Boys & Girls Club Big Brothers Big Sisters of Edmonton & Area has more volunteer options than ever right now, including virtual mentoring, tutoring, or becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister.

The pandemic has hit some of Edmonton’s most vulnerable families hard, and volunteer mentors are needed to change the course of young lives across our community.

Mentoring a kid is simple, fun, and rewarding for both you and them! Plus, don’t we all wish we had someone showing us the tips and tricks to get through junior high?

Sign up for a virtual coffee appointment to learn more about volunteering with the Boys & Girls Club Big Brothers Big Sisters here.

Filed under: arkells, Beastie Boys, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys & Girls Club, Dave Grohl, Fall Out Boy, Rivers Cuomo