Secret Lives of Teachers: Teacher by day, rocker by night

by baers | October 17, 2014 7:21 am

For someone who does not know teacher John Fields, one may think of him as a mild mannered man—that is, until you hear him teach.

“He’s really funny and entertaining. He’s too energetic and way over the top, but in a good way,” senior Becca Alejandre said ,” Definitely one of my favorite teachers.”

Fields’ energy however, goes way beyond the classroom.

“My dad was a drummer, so he had a drum set. I asked him to teach me how to play, but he wanted me to play the guitar. He didn’t teach me how to play the drums. He set them up and said, ‘If you want to play you’re going to have to teach yourself.’ So I taught myself in seventh grade,” Fields said.

From then on Fields was hooked on drumming. He listened to bands such as Led Zeppelin and Slayer, giving him some of his musical influence. His freshman year of high school, Fields started performing in a punk band with two other friends.

“We would practice in my garage every Sunday. That was the first band I played in,” he said.

From the humble beginnings of a high school garage band, Fields’ talent progressively improved. In 2002 Fields joined The Sleepers, a band that mixed southern rock with the blues. The band had good success in their seven year stint, touring throughout the United States and even overseas. Their music had been used on shows such as MTV’s Rob and Big, CW’s Reaper, and others.

After the fall out of The Sleepers due to the lead singer leaving the band, Fields joined another band, The Black Oil Brothers.

The Black Oil Brothers have had good success thus far. We’ve toured in New York, New Jersey, and all throughout Illinois. We’ve also gone to Europe, touring in the United Kingdom,” Fields said.

Aside from their great sound, a big part of the Black Oil Brothers’ success has been due to their great energy and stage presence. A large part of that is thanks to Fields.

“As a teacher and a musician I guess I’m pretty much the same. Really energetic and crazy. The only difference is when I’m playing I’m not allowed to talk,” Fields said.

While music is and always will be a passion of Fields’, he makes sure to put teaching near the top of his priorities.

“I don’t play as much as I used to. [The Black Oil Brothers] practice twice a week, so it’s a little more than a hobby I’d say. But all the musicians in the band have day jobs, so we work around that,” he said.

Although Fields often states that he’s just teaching until he becomes a famous rock star, it’s clear to everyone that he is just as comfortable standing on top of desks re-enacting the Battle of Bunker Hill as he is with drumsticks in his hand.

“Both being a musician and being a teacher shape who I am,” Fields said,” Teaching is the career I’ve chosen, and being a drummer is the passion I’ve had since I was little.”



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