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April 01, 2013 10:00 PM

Rock Stars Raise $1.3 Million For Youth Groups

Sioux Falls, SD


Motley Crue is in the middle of a month long Australian tour, but front man Vince Neil took time out to come to Sioux Falls to raise money for the rock and roll academy and to encourage kids to get involved in music.

"The cool thing is the accomplishment of it. It could be 'Mary had a little lamb,' right? But if you play it on guitar or whatever, you go 'oh, my God, I did it," Neil said.

Kiss bassist Gene Simmons agrees. He says music is a constructive activity that empowers kids to be better people.

"Empty hearts and empty minds, that's the devil's work. You've got to grab those minds and hearts and get them busy and preoccupied. From school, come here. Be home or come here to the Boys and Girls Club and it's fun. Pick up a guitar, get up on stage, be a rock star," Simmons said.

Simmons says he hopes the idea of the Rock and Roll Academy catches on and that it spreads to other cities.

"Rock and roll and being in a band is self-empowering. You don't have to be in the audience, you can get up on stage. It's a pathway to climb Mt. Olympus and become one of the gods of Rock and Roll, if only for a while, if only in your mind," Simmons said.

But Neil says teaching kids to play music isn't necessarily about creating the next great rock band.

"Even if they don't stick to it, say music's not for them, I think you can use that in your life and say don't be afraid to try something that's out of your comfort zone. So, I think it's more like life lessons rather than building musicians," Neil said.

"Pick up that microphone, dream big, live big and imagine, inspire, self empower. Boys and Girls clubs, Rock and Roll and Chuck Brennan, it makes all the sense in the world. I wish I was a kid so I could come here," Simmons said.

The rock stars that came to Sioux Falls helped raise $1.3 million for the Boys and Girls Club with a weeklong series of concerts.

Click on the video player below to watch the full interviews from both Vince Neil and Gene Simmons:

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