The noted heavy metal icon Whitney Houston once crooned, "I believe that children are the future. Teach them well and let them lead the way." The group of kids in the above video appear to have been taught well, and it looks like metal's future is, indeed, quite bright.

The kids are vocalist Kaden Karns (age 14), lead guitarist Eli Dykstra (age 15), rhythm guitarist John Fowler (age 14), bassist Bailey Couch (age 15) and drummer Curtis Moss (age 18). They were brought together by the O'Keefe Music Foundation, who set them up on a recent afternoon at Refraze Recording Studio in Dayton, Ohio, to record Slayer's epic "Raining Blood," with a little help from five year old Annika Miller (on the thunder tube) and seven year old Logan Miller (on the rainstick).

Their version is shockingly tight, but that's because the guys have spend a good amount of their young lives practicing.

"My parents say that I asked for a guitar from the age of two," Dykstra says. "My mom bought me a ukulele because she thought it was a 'small guitar.' I was certain I was destained to be a guitar player, so I kept asking for one. I was given every toy version of a guitar you can imagine! When Guitar Hero became an insanely popular video game, it just fueled my desire for an actual, real-life electric guitar even more. Finally for my ninth birthday, I was given a Fender Squire starter pack."

Singer Karns has also been honing his skills for a long time: "I have been singing on stage for most of my life. I started singing with my dad's band doing some '80s hair band music. Then when I was nine, I got involved with my own band, Minitallica, and we did some heavier stuff, like Metallica, Pantera and Avenged Sevenfold. Now I'm in a band called Youth Gone Wild."

Bassist Couch isn't quite as experienced, not that you could tell from watching him perform: "I've been studying and playing for probably three or four years, so it's basically my whole high school career. I picked up a bass because I like the idea of being in the back, and being a foundation to the band. I connect with Flea, Geddy Lee and Justin Chancellor more than I connect with guitarists."

The band was intent on recording a legit-sounding cover that did the Slayer original justice, but they wanted to put their own stamp on it as well. Dykstra says, "I wanted to try something different: I wanted to write melodic solos in a Slayer song! I thought it would be impossible, being the extremely hard hitting song that it is. Plus, I was a little worried what die-hard fans would think. I believe that you need to respect the core of a song when you cover it, but the purpose of covering a song is to add a little piece of yourself to it as well. I love the challenge of creating that balance."

"'Raining blood' was a little bit different then some of the other songs I sing," Karns notes. "The vocals took me a little bit to get down. It was fun so much fun working on it. When you cover a song. I think you always kind of change it in your own way. It's fun to put your own spin on it, so that you're not playing the exact same thing as the original and you make it more interesting to listen to."

"This was a cover where we had a lot of space creatively," Couch adds. "And since I had no solos, I tried to match the drums more, like picking in sync with the pedal drums and really hitting in time with the snare. I tried to make the tightest performance I could."

The recording session was organized by the O'Keefe Music Foundation, an organization that provides children with the opportunity to professionally record their music for free. Founder Aaron O'Keefe says, "This recording represents exactly what OMF hopes to do in the future. If OMF has the funds we can bring together talented young musicians from around the world and record one of a kind performances like this one."

“I look forward to watching every video Aaron and his students release," Loudwire Gear Editor Squiggy says (one highlight from their archives includes a cover of Tool's "46 and 2", which has been viewed over sixteen million times). "When The Music Experience invited Aaron and his students out to Rock On The Range a few years ago, I got to meet the students and developed relationships that continue today."

You can contribute to the O'Keefe Music Foundation here.


O'Keefe Music Foundation
O'Keefe Music Foundation

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