Teagan Stedman Talks "Shred Kids' Cancer", Slash Playing Event
Thu, 25 Nov 2010 12:50:35
We could all learn a lot from Teagan Stedman. In 2009, when he was only nine-years-old, he founded Shred Kids' Cancer after finding out that his friend Alex was diagnosed with cancer. The first event that Teagan organized was Shredfest 2009 at The Roxy. It was a massively successful "Battle of the Bands" that raised money for the cause and featured guest judges Shavo Odadjian (System of a Down), Jesse Johnson (The Time) and Dhani Harrison (thenewno2). However, Teagan didn't stop there. Shred Kids' Cancer has grown immensely since that first event. Next on the horizon for Shred Kids' Cancer is Rock Nation's "Monster Showcase" at The Highlands in Hollywood on December, 11, 2010 12pm-5pm. Teagan sent a very heartfelt letter to legendary Guns N' Roses and Velvet Revolver guitarist Slash, and he agreed to play the show for Shred Kids' Cancer. Teagan's story is one of true compassion and care, and it's incredibly inspiring.
In this exclusive interview, Teagan Stedman spoke to ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino about Shred Kids' Cancer, the evolution of his events and what's most meaningful about this whole journey.
For Teagan's letter to Slash click here!
Has Shredfest changed since your first event back in June 2009?
Yes, definitely! Shred Kids' Cancer has undergone many improvements and grown a lot since our first event at The Roxy. We have gotten bigger venues, done a few different types of fundraisers throughout the year like Shredfeast –where you eat at a restaurant and a portion of the sales go to Shred Kids' Cancer and Shredcamp –a boot camp workout that personal trainers guide you through and the money they collect for the fee of the boot camp goes to Shred Kids' Cancer. We've raised more money by adding a silent auction at Shredfest, gotten a lot more support from corporate sponsors and have gotten a lot more professional. We wrote a business plan, budget, bylaws, got incorporated in California, became an official non-profit charitable organization, filed with the IRS for 501c3 status, have board meetings and stuff like that.
What's your favorite part of the show?
At Shredfest, I love seeing the winner of the battle of the bands with the celebrity judges on stage congratulating them. As a band member, you get this incredible, anxious feeling combined with excitement in your body before the "moment of truth" is revealed about who the winner will be.
I also love seeing how many people come and support the cause we are working for. There is a special, touching feeling. It's kind of like an invisible force that makes you feel as if all your hard work has paid off. It's a nice feeling earning peoples support and knowing that the money and time they are giving will help a lot of kids who have cancer.
What are the biggest challenges in organizing it?
The hardest aspect on my part has been filing the forms to become incorporated as a non-profit charitable organization and drafting the business plan and budget. I had to Google and research a lot and try and understand the professional world before it was all done. It took up a lot of time but now I have what I need to make this organization really happen.
Is getting Slash to play a real dream come true for you?
I've always admired Slash as a musician—I remember being him for Halloween a few years ago). Sometimes you know you go through phases (like I went through a heavy metal phase: only Metallica, Iron Maiden stuff and then a grunge phase: Pearl Jam, Nirvana phase) but I never really have gone through a "phase" with Slash. And I really, really love his new stuff. He is a great guitarist who didn't disappear or give up because his band broke up. He actually got singers to be on his albums, not the other way around. "Ghost" has got a great riff! "By the Sword, " "Back from Cali" and "Beautiful Dangerous" are all good. I loved hearing them live, too with Myles Kennedy [Alter Bridge] and Fergie at The Sunset Strip Music Festival. I am really glad and psyched to see him play right in front of me and possibly even meet him!
Where's Shredfest going next? What's the next evolution?
Shred Kids' Cancer is maybe even going to put on more events in other cities with more kids involved in helping other kids.
Who are your favorite shredders?
I would say guitar-wise: Slash, Jimmy Page, Jimi Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Tom Morello, and Alex Lifeson.
What's the most meaningful aspect of Shred Kids' Cancer for you?
In my opinion, the most meaningful aspect of Shred Kids' Cancer is kids uniting for a cause and doing what they can creatively to help other kids in need. We are not some huge non-profit making tons of money. But sometimes it means a lot more to kids that their friends are there for them. Believe it or not, it is just as therapeutic for the friends of the kids who have cancer than it is for the kids who have cancer. This is just a small gesture, and it gives them a little piece of mind that they are doing something for their friends. That is what makes Shred Kids' Cancer what it is, and lets kids have a chance to really do something for the world. It's important to let the kids who are suffering know we are here for them and we are doing more than just saying, "I'm so sorry, are you going to be ok?"
Will you be attending the event on December 11?
For more on Teagan read our first interview with him here and visit the official Shred Kids' Cancer site here!